Thursday, November 8, 2012

Top Gear 50 Years of Bond Cars Wrist Watching

Top Gear.. well, Richard Hammond recently did a Bond car special to celebrate the 50 years anniversary of James Bond. This episode is absolutely compulsory viewing if you're the least bit of a Bond fan, or a car fan. Of course, as we all know very well that all 3 hosts of the program are also somewhat watch enthusiasts, as our previous posts have shown. And this time around, Richard did not let us down, wearing no less than 4 different watches during the course of this special episode.

2 of the watches we've seen him wear before so I won't go into details. They are the Rolex Sub and the Breitling. The third watch he wore during the interview with Daniel Craig, is a Tissot T-Touch of some sort. There aren't really any clear shots of the watch during the episode so I couldn't tell exactly which T-Touch it is...

However, what was most interesting to me, and I had to do a double take (well, in this case, pause, rewind, zoom) to make sure I wasn't mistaking what was on his wrist for most of the episode...

Aston Martin DB5 - the most famous Bond car of all...

As Richard is driving the DB5, I couldn't help notice what was on his wrist. It can't be....

But it looks like any other Speedy, you say. What's so special about this one?

Well, I'm going out on a limb here since I can only determine from the screen caps, but it's most likely a 105.012 or a 145.012. These 2 references were produced in the late 60s/early 70s and powered by the cal.321, which had the column wheel arrangement rather than the cam and lever that's found the cal.861 and subsequent Speedmasters.

But it is!!! Not just any ol' Omega Speedmaster...

The 105.012 is the first Speedmaster to have the text "Professional" added after omega discovered that its watches were sent to the moon on the wrists of the Apollo 11 astronauts and there are only very minute differences between the 105.012 and 145.012. And if you can tell the diff, you're even more of a watch nerd than you're letting on. I won't go into details here. There are plenty of info out there on the interwebs.

Of course, there are no hard and fast rules back in those days and exceptions do apply. Finding one these days that had everything correct and original is becoming increasingly difficult.

Plus the fact that the Speedy were pretty much unchanged over the past 50 plus years, and that it's been around for so long, there are always going to be franken-watches (put together using original parts, but may not be original to the actual watch) or watches that were serviced and had parts replaced with later original items... and a whole host of other reasons.

That's quite a long limb I've gone out on. Let's bring this back to the episode. In my opinion, I've never seen Hammond as one for vintage watches. James May we all know has quite a few vintage pieces and they do go... well with his style. But that's the thing about the Omega Speedmaster. It's such a classic and iconic piece of great design and engineering that something made in the 50s (the very first iteration of the Speedmaster) still looks modern today. Just like BOND! 50 years old and still as relevent today as he was 50 years ago (totally biased opinion here), and the Aston Martin DB5. Granted car tech has moved on since then, but the design is still as gorgeous today as it was 50 years ago.

Sorry... but the same can't be said for Roger Moore...

During Hammond's interview with Daniel Craig we see briefly what appears to be an Omega Aqua Terra.

You can't really see it but Daniel Craig is wearing an Omega Aqua Terra... as per contractual agreement...
More Bond car porn...
Classic Toyota 2000GT
Lotus Submarine!
The Breitling Hammond's worn before on Top Gear
Aston Martin Vanquish
A close up of the Omega Speedmaster
Aston Martin DBS

We also catch a glimpse of ex-Stig, Ben Collin's wrist, and he is sporting a TAG Heuer Carrera chronograph day-date, which is powered by the venerable Valjoux 7750. 

Ben Collins wearing a TAG Heuer Carrera chrono
Hammond and Tissot T-Touch of some description...
So it would seem that Hammond's taste in watches is almost as diverse as James May.
Now, can someone convince Clarkson to wear something else????

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