Although it may Feel like it has Omega Not has been inseparable from James Bond since October 5, 1962, when one of cinema’s most iconic figures made his screen debut. That first “Bond watch” was, whispered, a Rolex – the Submariner Ref. 6538. Others have also done intelligence work, including Breitling (thunderball) and Hamilton (live and Let Die). It wasn’t until Gold eye In 1995, Omega stepped in and took on the ongoing duty of outfitting Britain’s fictional super-spy with gadget-loaded timepieces.
Two new Omegas have now been released to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Bond series. While these new pieces aren’t tied to any specific movie, this time around the company has avoided any obvious attempts to add “007” or a rifling effect on the dial to the designs, instead giving each a subtle touch of movie magic on the casebacks . Flip the pieces and a mechanical animation of the legendary gun barrel opening sequence will play on the crystal back.
The new 42mm Seamaster Diver 300m 60 Years of James Bond Stainless Steel (£7,100, approx. $8,500) is inspired by the first Omega worn by Pierce Brosnan Gold eye, but now with a mesh strap. The Seamaster Diver 300m 60 Years of James Bond Canopus Gold is by far the more exclusive affair (£137,300 or $165,200), made from Omega’s white gold alloy with a natural gray silicon dial and bezel set with green and yellow diamonds. All together are said to be reminiscent of Ian Fleming’s Jamaican homeland.
The back moving image of the 007 opening sequence is achieved on this mechanical watch with no screens or digital displays through the use of moiré animation, where interference patterns are created when an opaque line pattern with transparent gaps is superimposed over another similar pattern. In order for the pattern to appear, the two designs don’t have to be identical, they have to be shifted or, in this case, rotated.
Omega’s patent-pending design sees the animation’s spinning aluminum disc driven by the barrel of the central lollipop seconds hand. This allows the sequence of four images to repeat itself continuously at 15-second intervals while the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 8806 powers the watch.
Gregory Kissling, Omega’s VP of Product, says the difficulty was getting the precision of the animation on point. “We initially started with seven digits in the sequence. But the problem with seven was since there is a tiny difference between the discs you have a ghost effect. So we decided to split the sequence into just four images.” This need for precision is also the reason why these Seamasters have screw-down casebacks and not “screwed-in” ones. This allows the different layers of the illusion mechanism to be perfectly matched, which was not possible with the previous Seamaster case back. “We also had to get the distance between the pane and the sapphire crystal under control,” says Kissling. “It requires very, very small tolerances – plus or minus 0.05 millimeters.”