If you survey 100 dudes, Family Feud-style, about the man they most want to be like, chances are the top answer on the board is James Bond. That’s what happens after half a century of films about the suavest, slickest secret agent on the planet. And because most guys don’t have their own garage full of Aston Martins and assorted futuristic spy gear, they focus on what they can replicate: 007’s wardrobe. And brands are more than happy to oblige men’s desire to dress like Bond. Soon, they’ll have another weapon in their Bond arsenal thanks to the watchmakers at Omega.
On the 50th anniversary of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the George Lazenby-starring sixth film in the Bond series, Omega is releasing a special-edition Seamaster to commemorate the occasion. (Surely, it doesn’t hurt that we are about to hit the peak of Bond mania as the next movie in the franchise rolls out over the next handful of months.) The watch comes with a black dial, black bezel, and black rubber bracelet with gold hour markers. “A fitting tribute to a classic Bond film and one of cinema’s most iconic characters,” Omega’s president and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann said of the piece via a press release. “This extraordinary watch is elegant, full of surprises and sure to be extremely popular with collectors and fans of the character, due to its many Bond-related features.” It’s available for $6,500 today.
Aeschlimann puts it pretty plainly: all the fun Omega seems to have had incorporating Bond signifiers is what will drive customers to pick one up. Every feature on the list reads like it should end with, “Get it??” For starters, Omega is releasing 7,007 of these watches. The dial window is designed to look like the spiraling barrel of a gun, the signature of every Bond movie’s opening credits. There’s a date window at the six o’clock hour, and the seventh date of every month will be represented by a “7” in the James Bond font. In the dark, the hour markers glow, and the 10 o’clock index will show the number “50” only under the cover of night—like a secret spy message! Lastly, the shape of the 12 o’clock marker is inspired by the Bond family crest. Unfortunately, that list of features does not extend to shooting lasers or spinning like a buzzsaw.
Capitalizing on men’s love of all things Bond is a savvy move by Omega. Brands like Billy Reid and Barbour are still profiting off the brand’s placement in the 2012 movie Skyfall thanks to an ongoing obsession over a particular outfit on places like Reddit. Getting into the movie is such a bonanza that brands are already promoting products that will appear in the next movie, which won’t come out until next spring.
Omega’s connection runs a little deeper: the company has paid for the honor of producing Bond’s watch of choice since 1995, when Pierce Brosnan wore a Seamaster in GoldenEye. For watch brands, tapping into occasions and events that stir up strong emotional responses remains incredibly important. In 2019, our phones have rendered watches mostly useless from a utility standpoint. So encouraging customers to acquire more of these high-priced items requires a little extra juice—and if you’re not the kind of guy who will geek out on a vintage watch’s provenance, you might be the kind interested in a watch that spits out a “7” in 007 font on the seventh day of every month.
Collectors may not need another watch, but Omega is betting the allure of buying a special-edition watch, limited to an extremely specific number, will encourage guys to do like their favorite spy and pull the trigger.