Monday, November 03, 2008

Part 1: Daniel Craig's Vintage Sean Connery Rolex Submariner 6538

Quantum James Bond Rolex Theory

"He could not just wear a watch. It had to be a Rolex.
–Ian Fleming (Casino Royale)

This is a story about James Bond's watch. James Bond's Rolex watch to be specific. Some people call it the James Bond watch, other's call it the James Bond wristwatch.

The latest James Bond movie named Quantum of Solace is going to be released internationally over the course of the next few weeks and it stars Daniel Craig who is pictured below. Quantum of Solace is Craig's second portrayal of James Bond–his first being Casino Royale released in 2006.

There is something a little strange about Daniel Craig and his Rolex Submariner 6538. You see, Rolex was always pretty much the watch James Bond wore up until Peirce Brosnan started playing Bond. (Roger Moore wore a Rolex Submariner and he also wore a digital watch in the 1970s. I think it was a Seiko.)

In the photo above you see the large Brevet Crown on Daniel Craig's Rolex Submariner 6538
(with NO Crown guards)

Note: Brevet means patent in French.

Pierce Brosnan started wearing an Omega Seamaster that looked very similar to a Rolex Submariner which was strange because when Ian Fleming wrote Casino Royale he said James Bond could not just wear any watch, but that it HAD to be a Rolex. Ian Fleming also wore a Rolex.

In the second making of Casino Royale, (2006) there is a strange scene where James Bond's character, played by Daniel Craig is riding with a beautiful woman on a train and she looks at his watch and asks, "Nice watch. Is that a Rolex?" Bond replies "Omega." In strategic marketing this if referred to as a Repositioning tactic.

In other words, Craig is repositioning Omega to be the same as, equal to, or better than Rolex–Brilliant.

Daniel Craig Suffering From Risitus?

Here is the really strange part. It appears to me that in this new movie they are continuing to execute their repositioning strategy by using a different tactic. In a recent interview Daniel Craig randomly started telling a story about how his Rolex he likes to wear is a Rolex Submariner Reference "6358" which he says is an exact replica of the one he remembers Sean Connery wearing in Goldfinger. One of the challenges is there is no such watch as a Rolex Reference Number 6358. I think somebody had a dyslexic moment (or a typo) and interposed 6358 with 6538.

Sean Connery wore a Rolex Submariner [Reference number 6538]. For the record, the photo below is of Sean Connery starring as James Bond in Goldfinger.

The photo below is a wrist shot of James Bond's rolex Submariner [Reference 6538] from Goldfinger and notice the following:

1. The strap is a Regimental 3 color strap. It is Dark Navy, Dark Olive and four very fine burgundy stripes.
2. It is not a NATO strap. It has no 316L Stainless returns.
3. The NAVY stripes are not uniform in width. Notice the outer Navy stipes are half the width of the center stripe.
4. Notice the strap does not fit the watch. The space between the lugs in 20mm and Sean Connery's stap appears to be 16mm. (Which I think looks ugly).

Just to be clear: A Regimental stripe band (pictured below) is made from one single strip of nylon–think of it as being exactly like a belt you would wear with trousers but much smaller . A NATO strap (pictured two photos down) is made from two nylon straps joined together so it doubles up behind the watch unlike Sean Connery's Goldfinger watch which just has one strip that slides through the cross-bars.

Click image above to see three colors with Non-uniform stripes

The watch strap below is a NATO spec strap. It is sold as a "James Bond" model, but unless I am seriously missing something, it has nothing to do with James Bond. James Bond's Regimental strap pictured above has Dark Navy, Dark Olive and Burgundy stripes. The band pictured below in black and grey.

Notice the stripes on Daniel Craig's two color NATO are uniform like on the NATO pictured above. As a matter of fact, I think he is wearing the NATO strap pictured above.

You can see the dual 316L Stainless returns on backside of Craig's NATO strap above

Daniel Craig can be seen wearing the Rolex Submariner 6538 in all the photos in this story on a NATO strap. As I pointed out, ironically, he is the first James Bond to ever wear a Submariner on a true NATO spec strap. I think in many ways the Submariner 6538 looks cooler on a NATO.

You can see the single 316L Stainless Steel return on the frontside of Graig's watch above

So is it possible that Daniel Craig simply has great taste and his personal choice is to wear a vintage Rolex Submariner 6538 off-screen and an Omega Seamaster James Bond Special Edition on-screen? Sure. Do I think that is the case (pun intended) or do I think it is a Strategic Marking strategy? Hard to say, but my best guess is it is strategic marketing. I hope I am wrong.

I was just talking with Scott Carpenter's daughter, Kris about this story and she shared her perception which is fascinating. I will share it with you. Her interpretation is that Daniel Craig is a purist and is resisting the "Americanization" of James Bond. (Americanization meaning "Commercialization.") So he wears the Omega in the movie because he has to but in real life he wears his 6538 as an homage to Sean Connery.

There is also a myth that has circulated around for many years that says that Cubby Broccoli, the producer of (Eon Productions) many of the early James Bond movies noticed Sean Connery did not have a watch on his wrist in Dr. No and pulled his Rolex off his wrist and gave it to Sean Connery. The logic is that Dr. No was a relatively low budget movie with a budget of only $1Million. I don't believe this to be true.

First of all, a Rolex Submariner back then cost something like $150 and I think they could have afforded it in their million dollar budget. Secondly, I have an extremely solid source that tells me that Rolex provided the Submariner's to the James Bond movies for free because Ian Fleming specifically spelled out that James Bond ONLY wore a Rolex. It is so hard to say. I think Sean Connery is the only person who knows and I intend to ask him.

Did Rolex ever pay the James Bond franchise for James Bond to wear a Rolex in the form of Product Placement? I don't think so. Did Omega pay the James Bond franchise to have Pierce Brosnan wear an Omega and do they still pay for product placement today? I believe so, but I do not know it to be a fact.

So in the final analysis does any of this really matter anyway? Probably not. There is a tremendous amount of confusion and misinformation in the world of vintage and collectable Rolex and with the history surrounding it. My goal as a historian and scientist is to separate the fact from the fiction once and for all.

Do I love Rolex? Yes, absolutely!!! Do I love Omega? No. I like Omega and I think they make fine watches. I like the Moon watch and think it looks kind of cool. Would I ever buy and wear an Omega? Sure. Have I ever bought and worn an Omega? Not yet, but at some point I will probably buy an Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, but I am not in a hurry.

I imagine the point I am trying to share with you, the reader, is that despite being a very loyal Rolex fan, I consider myself first and foremost to be a historian. I would NEVER suppress historical data to make Rolex look better. I say this because I have seen many sights dedicated to the Omega Moonwatch and typically there is not one photo of a NASA astronaut wearing a Rolex despite the fact that the NASA archives are littered with photo of astronauts wearing Rolex.

I have much more fascinating James Bond Rolex history and NASA Astronaut Rolex history coming up in the future so stay tuned.

Also, I like Daniel Craig and think he is a great James Bond in many ways. He kind of looks like Steve McQueen to me. I think the Rolex Submariner 6538 on the NATO strap also looks really cool.

Part 2: Daniel Craig's Vintage Sean Connery Rolex Submariner 6538

Quantum Rolex James Bond Mystery

There really is a strange mystery that has built up around Daniel Craig wearing and talking in the media about his Sean Connery Rolex "6358." In part 1, I explored the different possibilities and I am just as confused as I write this as I was before, but I have many more fascinating and bizarre clues to share with you.

Let's start with Ian Fleming who is pictured below. In all the James Bond books he wrote he only ever mentioned that James Bond wore a Rolex. The article I show later in this story says the first mention of James Bond wearing a Rolex was in Casino Royal which Fleming wrote in 1953. The article quotes the following from Casino Royale:

"He could not just wear a watch. It had to be a Rolex. –Ian Fleming (Casino Royale) 1953

Sean Connery wore a Submariner in the first James Bond movie which was Dr. No that was released in 1962. Apparently Ian Fleming could not have been referring to a Submariner because the Submariner had not been released to the public in in 1953.

Pictured above is Ian Fleming wearing what appears to be a Rolex Datejust on an Oyster bracelet. It could be a Rolex-Day Date or a Rolex Explorer 1 as well. Pictured below is a close up.

There is a book named James Bond: The Legacy that was written by John Cork and Bruce Scivally that suggests the late Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli who co-founded EON Productions was on the set of Dr. No and noticed that Sean Connery did not have a watch on his wrist so he took off his Rolex and gave it to Sean to wear.

Cubby Broccoli is pictured above with Roger Moore and Cubby is holding the script for Live and Let Die in his hands. Also he appears to be wearing a Rolex Submariner on his wrist on what appears to be a Jubilee Bracelet. I included a close-up shot below so you can see for yourself.

In my investigations, I have come across a different explanation for what really happened but that is part of a different story I will share with you in the future. The photo below is from Thunderball staring Sean Connery as James Bond. Sean is wearing what appears to be the exact same watch he wore in Goldfinger.

If you examine the photo below you notice that it appears that Sean Connery is wearing the exact same watch and 16mm Regimental Striped band he wore in Dr. No.

Here is where is starts getting weird. I was checking out the latest issue of Men's Vouge and noticed this photo of Daniel Craig wearing a suit and of course I looked to see which watch Omega brand watch he was wearing and I noticed he was wearing what appears to be a two-tone Rolex Datejust on a Jubilee bracelet. I was almost shocked to say the least. You can see for yourself by clicking on the image below.

I recently came across a great blog dedicated to James Bond Watches published by Dell Deaton. You can visit James Bond Watches by clicking here. I first noticed this article on the James Bond Watches Blog that talks about how the UK magazine named Empire published an article about the upcoming James Bond movie named Quantum of Solace. The following 6 images are from Dell Deaton's James Bond Watches Blog:

Dell Deaton pointed out that it is really weird that in the story that Daniel Craig suddenly goes off on this tangent about how he wears the same Rolex Sean Connery wore in Goldfinger and Craig mistakingly refers to it as a Submariner 6358. The only challenge is that there has never been a Rolex model 6358. Either Craig or the magazine got it wrong. I think they meant he wears a Rolex 6538 which is a real Rolex Submariner typically referred to by Rolex collecting aficionados as The James Bond.

Dell Deaton goes on to point out is his article titled "What's behind Daniel Craig's choice?" he thinks it is really weird that Daniel Craig starts talking about his Rolex. You can read Dell Deaton's great blog post by clicking here.

On October 30, Dell Deaton wrote another fascinating article where he found evidence that suggests that Daniel Craig received his Rolex 6538 Submariner for Cubby Broccoli's daughter and he shows the advertisement that reads at the bottom of it "Did you know that Daniel Craig was recently given a 6538 by Barbara Broccoli (producer of recent bond films) as a gift." You can read Dell Deaton's article on this subject by clicking here.

On October 12, 2008 Dell Deaton ran another story named "Curious reference to Daniel Craig in GQ Magazine." You can read Dell's article by clicking here.

Dell points out that the GQ article says that Daniel Craig is wearing a Rolex but upon close inspection you see that he appears to be wearing an Omega Planet Ocean on a rubber strap. I think there is something funny going on here. This is the second unrelated magazine article that blunders the detail. The first article makes a mistake on the Rolex reference number and this one refers to an Omega as a Rolex!?!

I went to the Omega website where it has James Bond listed as an Omega Ambassador. This is curious because some people suggest that Daniel Craig is not an Omega Ambassador and that is why he wears Rolex watches personally. Again, more mystery and confusion if you ask me.

The reason there is a huge black gap on Daniel Craig's forehead is because the Omega website uses a split graphic for Daniel Craig. On all Macs running Safari and Firefox this huge error appears this way which I find to be weird!?! Doesn't Omega test their web page to make sure it is working properly?

Omega made a special limited edition Quantum of Solace watch which is pictured below. This watch is based on the Omega Planet Ocean.

Pictured below is a full shot os the Planet Ocean James Bond Quantum of Solace limited edition.

Here is another new James Bond Omega watch with a black bezel and dial. Historically in the past the James Bond watches had a blue bezel and dial.

I must say I wish I could conclude and give you all the facts, but as I mentioned before I am terribly confused. My best guess is it is all part of a lame attempt for Omega to try and play off the rich Rolex James Bond history and pedigree by suggesting that the Omega is on par with the Rolex. Don't get me wrong. I like Omega and think it is a fine watch. If I was Omega I would not make special edition James Bond watches. Could you imagine a Rolex Special Edition, Quantum of Solace model!? I rest my case.

Dell Deaton has another great article on his James Bond Watches Blog titled "Marketing Week questions product placement ROI (Return On Investment) for Omega watches in James Bond films" which you can view by clicking here.

I hate to say it, but I think Omega is actually paying to advertise for Rolex. If you look at the photo above, the Omega looks so similar to a Submariner it is weird. If I were Omega, I would have Bond wear a uniquely shaped watch like that Tag Hauer Steve McQueen used to wear that they brought back as a retro piece.

I seriously question the logic & wisdom of Omega marketing a watch that looks so similar to Rolex' most iconic watch.

Part 3: Daniel Craig's Vintage Sean Connery Rolex Submariner 6538

The New James Bond Rolex Mystery

When I started writing this article, I had no idea it would grow as much as it has. People keep sending me really interesting links and information so I thought I would create a part 3.

Gerard from Switzerland who is a regular commenter and contributer on Jake's Rolex Watch Blog sent in a link for a fascinating discussion taking place on forum which you can view by clicking here.


Let's start with Ian Flemming. In the James Bond thread I just mentioned above M4tt posted these two photos of a painting of Ian Fleming from the National Portrait Gallery in London:

M4tt was involved in the discussion about what kind of watch James Bond should wear and he siad "Then it struck me: Fleming modelled much of Bond's taste and wardrobe upon his own. He even had basically the same rank and back story as his character. I just wondered, what watch did Ian Fleming himself wear?

"That's a real question with a real answer... and I found it!"

"Sitting in the National Portrait Gallery in London there is a rather nice portrait of the man himself:

M4tt goes on to say:

"Now, this isn't going to be just any old watch. When you are being painted for the National Portrait Gallery that is a signal honour and a Big Deal. We already know Fleming cared about watches. Well, when being painted for posterity he would be wearing his best. Wouldn't you? Likewise, what would he give his 'alter ego but the best watch he could think of? As he wasn't exactly poor and had exacting tastes, this would have been the best watch he owned..."

This is consistent with the photos below of Ian Fleming from the beginning of part 1 of this series. Ian Fleming also brilliantly said:

Pictured above is Ian Fleming wearing what is clearly a Rolex Oyster. From the discussion on and Dell Deaton's comment on part 2, it is looking more and more as if Ian Fleming wore a Rolex Explorer with a black dial or a simple Rolex Oyster.

It turns out Ian Fleming did wear a Rolex Explorer. I learned this from Mark020 in the Dutch Rolex Forum who shared the two following images from the Ian Fleming exhibition currently going on in England at the Imperial War Museum.

The photo below is of Ian Fleming's Rolex Explorer.

You can see Ian Flemming wearing his Rolex Explorer in these photos...

Was James Bond's Switch to Omega paid Product Placement?

I found out the answer to this question and it comes from a poster on Jake's Rolex Watch Blog who goes by CDA who said:

Hi Jake,

The fact that Omega actually paid to be in James Bond movies from 1994 is actually the brainchild of James Bond production and of the notorious Jean-Claude Biver, then in charge of Omega marketing.

The story behind this partnership, one of the first product placements + conjoint marketing campaingn, has been documented by Jean-Claude Biver himself, in a testimony he made on Forumamaontres.


Click here to read the story posted on the great French Rolex Forum named Forum A Montres which I translated using Google translator from French to English.

Click here to read the story as it was originally written in French.

I found this list of Partners on the website:

Where Did Daniel Craigs Rolex 6538 Sean Connery Come From?

I think I may have found another clue that explains why Daniel Craig started wearing the his Rolex 6538 Submariner. Tom Ford is an ultra successful clothing designer who brought Gucci back to like and made it ultra-successful. EON Productions hired Tom Ford to replace Brioni as the official tailor of James Bond for the movie Quantum of Solace.

Clothing Designer Tom Ford is pictured above wearing his yellow gold Rolex GMT Master II Ceramic

Tom Ford wanted to bring back the ultra-masculine look of Sean Connery with Daniel Craig. since Tom is obviously into Rolex and he probably did his homework, he realized that the original Submariner goes better with the look but could not be used in the movie.

In the photo below Daniel Craig's shirt and tie are much more reminiscent of Sean Connery as James Bond's ultra-clean-cut, mod look. My best guess is that as Daniel Craig's style consultant it may have been Tom Ford's idea to get him wearing the Rolex 6538: