Will he or won’t he?
That was the question on everyone’s minds at Thursday night’s Omega dinner at The Beekman Hotel. The private event for only 35 guests — a combination of watch journalists, VIP clients and execs from the watchmaker’s Swiss headquarters — was designed as an intimate conversation with Daniel Craig, who has worn Omega timepieces since his first stint as James Bond in 2006’s Casino Royale.
Craig famously indicated in an interview prior to Spectre’s 2015 release that he had no interest in a fifth Bond film, but might he be changing his mind? No answers were forthcoming about whether Craig will take on 007 for what thus far is known only as “Bond 25,” but if his relationship with Omega is any indication, we just might hear, “Bond, James Bond,” from his lips once more.
Omega has been providing timepieces for Bond films since 1995’s GoldenEye with Pierce Brosnan, and Craig admitted his experience with the watchmaker turned him into a fan.
As proof, on display in the room was the prize of his own watch collection, an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial chronometer, which Craig wears in the opening sequence of Casino Royale. “This one has a very special place for me, because I didn’t think I’d ever own it,” said Craig. “Who knew Casino Royale was going to be as successful as it was? I thought maybe, but if it’s swing and a miss, I’ll walk away. But I kind of wanted the watch; I thought it would be nice to have as a memento of this adventure.” Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson ultimately gifted Craig with the watch upon the film’s completion; he noted that it’s engraved, “With thanks and love” on the case back.
By then Craig had already purchased an Omega, a vintage Seamaster 300 – though it’s notable that this wasn’t his first major watch purchase. “That was a Breitling,” he said; mindful that Omega CEO Raynald Aeschlimann was sitting next to him, Craig quickly joked, “I was young and naïve at the time.”
For 2012’s Skyfall, Craig wore a Seamaster Aqua Terra, a model he soon added to his personal collection. “I think it’s important to have a thinner piece that you can wear under suits,” he said. By the time Spectre began production, Craig was directly involved in the look of Bond’s watch, more than any previous actor who had assumed the role, said Aeschlimann.
“When I came to [the Bond franchise], I was introduced to these guys, and we talked about the watch Pierce wore [in the previous films]. It’s a beautiful watch, but it wasn’t my watch, and I wanted to claim this a bit,” explained Craig. “Last time, for Spectre, was completely collaborative. I told them, ‘I’d like the watch to do this,’ and they just said, ‘OK.'” The result of that conversation: the Seamaster 300 “Spectre” Limited Edition, featuring a bidirectional rotating diving bezel in black ceramic on a 41mm stainless-steel case, set on a NATO strap in gray and black stripes. Limited to 7,007 numbered pieces, the $7,500 watch has since sold out.
That success story is surely among the reasons Omega would love for Craig to continue as Ian Fleming’s iconic secret agent. At the dinner that followed the Q&A session, Aeschlimann hinted at the idea when he raised his wineglass to toast his special guest. “You’ve been a wonderful ambassador,” he told Craig. “I know I’m not alone in saying that we are hoping it’s you.”