The first James Bond watch to appear on the big screen was definitely not a Rolex Submariner of any kind. And it didn’t have a black dial or bezel.
Our first glimpse of this wristwatch comes approximately 7 minutes, 37 seconds into Dr. No. If you look closely here, you’ll see just the crown from under the left cuff of the shirt worn by Sean Connery as 007. According to the script, this is at scene 30, game room interior, “top stakes table,” Le Cercle Casino.
Now take a look approximately 7 minutes, 50 seconds into Dr. No. Clearly visible is a wristwatch with a light-colored dial, a smooth, somewhat domed crystal, and a thin, gold-colored case. This is perhaps the best on-screen image available of the watch, and, of course, before Mr. Connery’s face is revealed in the film.
The next comes when approximately 8 minutes, 30 seconds have elapsed. James Bond and a good view of his watch appear in the same frame. Dark (leather?) strap.
What appears to be this same thin, gold watch can be noticed under Bond’s shirt cuff at a number of points in scene 33, M’s office. Note in particular times 10 minutes, 52 seconds, and 13 minutes, 50 seconds into Dr. No. There isn’t enough information in these pictures to say whether or not this watch is a Rolex. At a minimum, however, it seems unlikely this time piece is an automatic.
Finally, look at 16 minutes, 9 seconds running time: Scene 37, the bedroom of James Bond — with the first Bond girl, Sylvia Trench (Eunice Gayson). The most pronounced images of James Bond Watch Number 1 feature Ms. Gayson over the course of the less-than-ten-minutes, start-to-finish, in which it is used for Dr. No. Hence our labeling it, “The Sylvia Trench watch.”
So there were at least two different Dr. No watch models.
Given the number of so-called authoritative writings that have failed to notice or mention this seminal wristwatch, new doubt might also be cast over assertions in James Bond: The Legacy, recalling that 007
could not just wear a watch, it needed to be a Rolex…. When Rolex declined to provide a timepiece for the filmmakers and the budget precluded the producers from purchasing one, Cubby Broccoli pulled the one off his wrist and tossed it to a member of the art department.
Mr. Broccoli himself makes no reference to this event in his own autobiography, When the Snow Melts.
Was the story actually about the Sylvia Trench watch, as opposed to the long-conjectured Submariner?