Last month we took a look at James Bond from the Pierce Brosnan era and his Omega Seamaster that the agent used during his tenure. After Brosnan was done with the role Daniel Craig took over the mantle of James Bond with “Casino Royale” released in 2006. Interestingly enough, this was the second film featuring James Bond with this title having been released 39 years before.
Casino Royale (1967 & 2006) Spoilers below!
Two movies, same name, same lead character, very different stories. In the first Casino Royale, James Bond has retired and left the spy world behind. MI6 calls him back to rejoin Her Majesty’s Secret Service and head up an operation to completely dismantle their long time enemy, the evil organization called SMERSH. Promoted to the head of the organization, Bond learns that many agents have been eliminated due to their inability to resist the opposite sex. To confuse enemy agents, Bond declares that all remaining agents will be called James Bond 007 and creates a training program for agents to resist the charms of women. Bond hires retired agent Vesper Lynd to recruit baccarat expert Evelyn Tremble to play against SMERSH agent Le Chiffre. Tremble is able to observe La Chiffre in play and realizes he is cheating by using infrared sunglasses, which he steals and uses to beat Le Chiffre in a game of baccarat.
Still following along? Because things really get strange from here. La Chiffre is killed by SMERSH for his failure to win, but not before he hallucinogenically tortured Evelyn Tremble in an effort to get the winning check. Bond learns that his nephew, Jimmy Bond, had left MI6 for SMERSH to take on the role of killing all spies. He also reveals his plan to use biological warfare to make all women beautiful and kill all men over 4-foot 6-inches. In the end a large battle ensues and an atomic bomb explodes, sending Sir James Bond and his agents towards Heaven, while Jimmy Bond is seen descending into hell.
If all that sounds like a convoluted mess it is because the film is a convoluted mess.
Almost 40 years later, we see a far more serious James Bond at the beginning of his career. He has just earned his “00”, his license to kill, and his first mission is to take on Le Chiffre, a banker to the world’s terrorists. Le Chiffre is playing in a high stakes poker tournament to raise money and it is Bond’s assignment to make sure he does not win. Bond is placed under the watchful eye of Vesper Lynd who is in place to protect the government’s interests – the $10 million buy-in for the tournament. After surviving being poisoned, Bond wins the tournament with the winning prize money being deposited into a Swiss bank account. La Chiffre, being a sore loser, captures and tortures Bond to obtain his bank account password. La Chiffre is killed by his associate, Mr. White, before he is successful. Bond recovers from his injuries and goes to Venice with Vesper, to whom Bond admits he loves. However, Bond learns that Vesper has stolen the winnings and delivers the money to Mr. White before she drowns. Vesper’s boyfriend had been captured by the organization behind Le Chiffre and Mr. White and was used as leverage to blackmail Vesper into cooperating. Bond learns she agreed to deliver the money in exchange for saving Bond’s life. The final scene of the movie finds Bond capturing Mr. White.
Two very different films, worlds apart. One meant to be campy, silly and a bit of a farce, while the other a deadly serious spy thriller. Never mind the plots now, what of the watches?
Rolex GMT Master & Omega Seamaster Professional
The 1960’s was the era of the Bond Rolex. Sean Connery wore the Submariner and Roger Moore carried it over when he took over the role. It is considered by many to be the quintessential James Bond watch (although the watch referenced in the books was a Rolex Explorer 1016). Given the time the film was made it seems that it would be fitting to see a Rolex in the first Casino Royal and in fact we do. Evelyn Tremble playing baccarat as James Bond receives a signal on his Rolex GMT Master from Vesper Lynd. The only shot of the watch is one wherein the dial shows her face so we don’t see the rest of the watch. From the bezel, however, it is clearly a GMT Master. While Bond wore the Submariner in the “real” films during this time a GMT Master would also be a fitting watch for a world traveling spy. A new timezone would just be a turn of the bezel away.
As mentioned in our Pierce Brosnan post, Daniel Craig does in fact wear an Omega (“Oh-mee-ga”) Seamaster in the movie, which Vesper comments on during their train ride to the casino. It is a continuation of the relationship between Omega and the Bond franchise begun under Brosnan’s tenure. Earlier on in the film Bond actually is sporting a different Omega: the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean can be seen on his wrist before he later makes the transition to the Bond Omega.
Which watch do you prefer for Bond? Do you think the GMT would be better suited for 007 or is the Seamaster still a suitable piece?