Mark Mills, FBHI, Seiko UKMark Mills, Technical Support Manager for Seiko UK, turned out the light on his bench for the final time this past Friday.

And with that, the last personal connection between the Eon Productions James Bond films and Seiko wristwatches came to an end.

But I got to know Mr. Mills not in his current capacity nor most recent accomplishments — of which there are an impressive many.

Rather, it was in connection with one of his first assignments for the company then referred to as Seiko Time, which he joined almost a decade into his chosen profession. That year was 1977. Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli had negotiated a deal to put a Seiko LCD watch on Bond’s wrist through a unique product placement partnership for The Spy Who Loved Me.

In addition to repairing both mechanical and quartz watches, Mr. Mills was tasked with supporting the filmmakers’ fit and function needs, beginning with the Memory-Bank Calendar model featured in Moonraker. He continued to serve in this adjunct capacity through work on A View to a Kill, where actor Roger Moore wore three completely different Seiko wristwatch alternatives in his last role as 007 in 1985.

Thus, Mr. Mills can personally, authoritatively identify every timekeeper worn by the Bond character as provided by what is now called Seiko UK.
And, in fact, he has.

I started working with Mark Mills on this over a year ago. I had been interfacing with Seiko Corporate in Tokyo, Japan, under an admittedly audacious request for bulletproof identifications on lines they hadn’t run in almost a quarter-century. Such a list, if even possible to construct, would be used to acquire screen-correct examples for display with no less than the very first James Bond watch: Ian Fleming’s personal Rolex Explorer.

So it was no longer sufficient for to let stand the vague references to “a Seiko watch” among so-called definitive lists of James Bond watches, nor indulge the bravado that permeate virtually all of the too-many other Internet discussions related to a subject that deserves serious examination of historical fact.

Having held senior positions in multinational firms myself, I can surely empathize with what could have been “a request from corporate to deal with this guy’s inquiry,” passed along to the United Kingdom offices from executives in Japan. Not exactly a pedestrian addition for the in-box, though neither the hottest fire to be put out among those among the ever-leaning cadres of today’s employed.

Yet from our very first document review, Mr. Mills provided detail that more than answered my every query. And beyond. Always patient, always respectful. Even when I’d sometimes follow up with seeming repetitions of the same question with a journalist’s penchant for finding the highest level of accuracy by way of attack from a multiple of approaches.

The result was a data mine of specifications that will never again be available first-hand to researchers through Seiko UK. Incredibly, no one before me had ever invested in even the most basic original research to identify these important James Bond watches, either through this company or Mark Mills.

Once again, is first — and exclusive.