Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Chapter 3: Sean Connery–The Original James Bond

Sir Sean Connery


Nobody Did It Better

Note: I just completed a major update on this story that includes all kinds of fascinating new photos and information.

Sir Sean Connery passed away at age 90 on October 31, 2020. Sean Connery in his role as the original James Bond actor served to make him not only a high-priest of Rolex that will forever by associated with the Rolex Submariner model "Big Crown" [Reference 6358], but also as a King of Cool. I would argue Sean Connery is the Submariner what Paul Newman was to the Daytona.

My goal with this chapter of James Bond Rolex history is to accurately contextualizes Sean Connery's career wearing his super-iconic "Big Crown" Rolex Submariner.

...The James Bond Rolex Story...

The Complete History Of James Bond Watches
Including ALL Watches Worn In All James Bond Movies
The Definitive Guide

Chapter 3: Sean Connery–The Original James Bond

The Watches Of James Bond

My goal with this series of articles on James Bond and Rolex is to put together a definitive article that shows every watch James Bond wears in every movie–including all non-Rolex watches, which include Omega, Breitling, and Seiko.

Let's begin with the following short list below that shows how many times each actor played James Bond. Some people would argue that the Original Casino Royale does not belong in this story because it is a spoof. They might also argue that since Never Say Never starring Sean Connery is not an EON Production it is not a real James Bond movie. I decided to cover every movie that revolves around a character named James Bond for the sake of leaving no stone unturned.

I have written a lot about James Bond in the past, but I intend to make this the definitive article that contains all the watch specific information. One of the reasons I am taking this approach is because I often forget the order in which each James Bond movie appears and what watch he wore.

Roger Moore: 7 Movies Appointed Knight Commander of the British Empire.
Sean Connery: 7 Movies Appointed Knight Commander of the British Empire.
Pierce Brosnan: 4 Movies
Timothy Dalton: 2 Movies
Daniel Craig: 2 Movies
George Lazenby: 1 Movie
Peter Sellers: 1 Movie
David Niven: 1 Movie

List of All Watches Worn In James Bond Films

Movie #1. Dr. No [Sean Connery,1st] 1962
• Rolex Submariner [Reference 6358]

Dr. No was the first James Bond movie made for the big screen. It was released the same day as the Beatles first single and stared Sean Connery as James Bond. 

The year was 1962 and JFK was in the white house. The Space Race was moving full speed ahead. The first James Bond movie starred Sean Connery and Ursula Andress was made with a budget of $1 Million.

Sean Connery is pictured below on the set of Goldfinger wearing his trademark Rolex Submariner [Reference 6538] on a regimental strap.

James Bond Wears Rolex
The Man With The Top-Secret Job Wears A Rolex
New Scientist: September 12, 1963

This ad is another fascinating piece in the James Bond puzzle. The very first James Bond movie named Dr. No was released in 1962 and Sean Connery wore a Rolex Submariner. This is the first Rolex ad I know of that appears to play on the appeal of a James Bond persona. It was published in England in 1963

If you scroll back up this page 6 images, you see a screen capture from the 1962 James Bond movie, Dr. NO and we see Sean Connery testing his Rolex Submariner with a geiger counter. If you look closely the geiger counter looks similar the machine in the British Rolex Top-Secret ad above.

Movie #2. From Russia With Love [Sean Connery, 2nd] 1963
• Rolex Submariner [Reference 6538]

From Russia With Love was the first James Bond movie to feature Sean Connery posing with the Walther LP53 BB-gun. This pose would become a trademark for the James Bond series.

According to

"Although the Walther LP53 never appeared in a Bond movie, it is one of the most iconic guns in the franchise. Connery posed with the pistol for a publicity photo taken for From Russia with Love, which was used to promote the three subsequent movies as well. Thing is, if Bond took the LP53 into combat, he’d look like an idiot. That’s because it’s a .177” BB gun. Yep, TIL one of the most famous James Bond guns is an air pistol.

The story goes that when Connery showed up to the photoshoot, no one had thought to bring along the appropriate Walther PPK. The photographer had to improvise, but fortunately, he practiced air pistol as a hobby. His pistol was even made by Walther. He handed Connery his LP53 to hold as a prop, which Connery accepted because he probably just wanted to go home, and that was that: James Bond posing with a pea shooter."

Sean Connery is pictured below in From Russia With Love, sporting his trademark Rolex Submariner on a leather strap.

Movie #3. Goldfinger [Sean Connery, 3rd] 1964
• Rolex Submariner [Reference 6538]

"Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

In Goldfinger, Sean Connery as James Bond wears a Rolex Submariner [Reference 6538] as pictured below, on a Regimental belt strap. Many people say Sean Connery wore his 6538 Submariner on a NATO strap. This is not true. There has NEVER been a James Bond movie in which James wears a NATO. 

Note that the strap that Sean Connery wears has 9 stripes total consisting of Dark Navy Blue, Dark Olive Olive and fine burgundy stripes. The most interesting part of this story is that Daniel Craig was recently seen wearing and talking about his Rolex 6538 that he wears on a NATO strap. You can read about Daniel Craig an the mystery surrounding his Rolex Submariner by clicking here.

The strap Sean Connery is wearing is a Royal Scots government strap, and its formal color names are: Peony Red, Gosling Green and Oxford Blue. The Royal Scots, also know as "The Royal Regiment" is the oldest British Army Regiment. It was founded in 1633 by Sir John Hepburn by a Royal Warrant from King Charles I, who recruited 1200 men in Scotland. On March 28, 2006, the Royal Scots merged with other Scottish Infantry Regiments to become The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The Pussy & The James Bond

The female character, Pussy Galore who played Goldfinger's Pilot that James Bond converted from a Lesbian wore a men's Rolex GMT. Today women wearing men's 40mm sport Rolex watches is common, but Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore was the first female to do so on screen. Many Rolex collecting enthusiasts refer to the models of Rolex worn in Goldfinger as The James [Rolex Submariner, Reference 6538] and The Pussy [Rolex GMT, Reference 6542].

The two watches below show what the 6538 and 6542 look like close up.

Pussy Galore is pictured above and in the shots below you see James finally converted her successfully. Of course in these three photos, Pussy Galore is wearing her Rolex GMT 6542 Coke.

Pepsi GMT-Master

It's Fashion On The Front Page

It's All The Rage

Vogue Magazine Cover 

October 1, 1963

The Vouge Magazine cover pictured below from October 1, 1963  features Vouge model and actress, Tania Mallet who played Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger wearing a Rolex Pepsi GMT-Master [Reference 6542] and it fascinatingly predates the Honor Blackman poster by less than three months as Goldfinger was released in theaters on January 9, 1965. Nick Gould was responsible for discovering the identity of Tania Mallet on this cover and he pointed out Tania was in Goldfinger. This raises the question of whether or not there was a correlation between the two, and knowing the brilliance of Rene-Paul Jeanneret,  I would argue there likely was.

This Vogue Magazine cover fascinatingly pre-dates Honor Blackman in her role as Pussy Galore in the James Bond film, Goldfinger wearing her GMT-Master, which ads a whole new Rolex History Puzzle piece...It’s fascinating if you think about it to consider JFK was President of the United States when this Rolex Vouge cover was published!?!! Below we see a publicity photo from Goldfinger of Tania Mallet playing Tilly Masterson.

Pussy Galore

Rolex "Goldfinger" Movie Poster


Jose from discovered the following Pussy Galore Rolex Submariner Movie poster back in February of 2022 that features Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore rocking here Pepsi GMT-Master.

Movie #4. Thunderball [Sean Connery, 4th] 1965
• Rolex Submariner [Reference 6538]
• Breitling [Top Time Model]

James Bond was an international phenomenon and remains so to this day. Here is a great Japanese movie poster for Thunderball. Great graphics!!!

Thunderball Rolex Submariner [Reference 6538]

In the photos below from Thunderball you see Sean Connery wearing his Rolex Submariner [Reference 6538]. It is apparently the exact same Submariner he wore in Dr. No because is has the exact Regimental 16mm belt strap which is way too narrow for the lug spacing on the 6538 which is 20mm.

Claudine Auger was Miss France 1958, and she co-starred with Sean Connery in Thunderball, and we see her below sitting on his lap. 

Sean Connery is pictured above with actress, Martine Beswick who played the role of Paula Caplan in Thunderball. Martine Beswick also played the role of Zora in the previous James Bond movie, From Russia Wish Love.

As far as I know Rolex did provide the Rolex watch in Thunderball to EON productions, but did not pay a fee for product placement. Rolex did seem to be aware of the James Bond Rolex appeal to men and the closest they ever came to doing an official Rolex James Bond advertisement would be this James-Bond-like ad from 1965.

The Rolex Submariner was featured in a Thunderball add as seen below.

The photo below shows Sean Connery and Rik Van Nutter on the set of Thunderball which was shot in the Bahamas, and we see Rik rocking a GMT-Master.

Another Rolex Model on Sean Connery

Jose from discovered and made a positive ID on the fascinating photo below and since Sir Sean Connery just passed away I realized now is probably the perfect time to showcase it. This photo shows Sean Connery in Thunderball at 1:10:54 wear a Rolex that appears to be a stainless steel Datejust with a white dial. This is a previously undocumented discovery, but I think it ads valuable context to Nicks historically significant comments.

Breitling Top Time

Sean Connery also wore a Breitling Top Time in Thunderball as pictured below.

Movie #5. You Only Live Twice [Sean Connery, 5th] 1967
• Unidentifiable Gold Dress Watch on a Black Strap

You Only Live Twice Premiere
London England, June 1967

Sean Connery is pictured below with Dick Van Dyke, Diane Cilentro meeting Queen Elizabeth in June of 1967.