"The Time When James Bond Did Not Wear a Wristwatch," Wrist Watch magazine (May 2014), by Dell Deaton

“The Time When James Bond Did Not Wear a Wristwatch,” Wrist Watch magazine (May 2014), by Dell Deaton

By 1964 ‘James Bond’ had sufficient cachet to get away with wearing a diver’s watch with a white dinner jacket, bowtie, and carnation. By the end of the 1960s, Bond had transformed style itself, defining this combination of tool watch and tuxedo as aspirational, himself as standard-bearer. As his next ten years on the big screen unfolded through the 1970s, Bond ceased to wear anything but the latest in wristwatch technology. Sometimes this commitment is brightly evident as in the case of his Pulsar digital choice from the Hamilton Watch Company. Other times you’ll have to look closely for dial markings to see just how far the watches of today are able to go in supporting Agent 007 as a field operative.Obviously, James Bond must wear a wristwatch.

Agreed. In fact, that’s what makes the movies so powerful when we stop to look at any moment in time when he does not.

To be clear — I’m not talking about continuity errors and nitpicking against the inherent differences in making a movie that can only ever pretend to be life. At best such scruitiny devolves into insider-baseball. At worst, it breaks the fourth wall in distracting ways that keep us from understanding how the absense of James Bond watch both further defines the James Bond character and the importance of wristwatches when he does wear them. A willing suspension of disbelief must be indulged in order to thoroughly enjoy all movies. Even more so with Bond.

Again: James Bond is a fictional character, but his wristwatches are real. The former structures organize the latter, which is substantive content.

— Dell Deaton