The Bond Commander's watch is an unusual piece, released between two films and free of constraints. Embracing the bright colors of the Royal Navy, this unmissable piece flies in stark contrast to the usual Bond watch, marking a unique time in the franchise.
A Tribute To The Lore Of James Bond - Royal Navy Commander
The Bond Commander's Watch is a tribute to the story behind the character, and to the author, Ian Fleming, who's life experiences in the Royal Navy during World War II helped craft the eponymous spy's own.
The back-story of James Bond as a character has been a richly thought out and presented part of the franchise from the very beginning, although subtle changes have been made over time to update the character for modern audiences. While Daniel Craig's James Bond is decades too young to have served in World War II, he remains a Royal Navy Commander, with the character having served in the Special Boat Service prior to joining MI6. Incidentally, as of 2021 Daniel Craig himself has been made an honorary Commander in the Royal Navy in recognition of the role he played on screen.
The presentation of the Commander's Watch gives some insight to the special nature of the piece, with a box crafted to replicate a presentation case for a medal rather than a traditional Omega wood box. On the left inside sits the watch on NATO strap, while on the right is a pin echoing the colors of that strap, the red, white and blue of the Royal Navy. The gold bands on the outside of the box, forming a loop ar0und the push-button match the Commander's rank insignia, which is also repeated on the custom rotor which gives the Calibre 2507 movement its unique designation.
It makes for a very fitting tribute to the spy's roots, and while it stands out among the other Bond watches for how flamboyant and colorful it is, in a sense that fits as Bond's time as a Royal Navy Commander predates the need for subtlety. While different, it does make for a very striking timepiece.
A Non-Movie Watch With Creativity & Flair
The Bond Commander's Watch was released in 2017, during the 6-year gap between 2015's Spectre and 2021's No Time To Die. The Limited Edition Spectre Seamaster 300 had been an extremely strong seller, and sold out quicker than anyone had expected, leaving a large gap in the market for a new model.
The key difference with the Commander's watch is that being a watch that was not going to be worn in a movie afforded a great deal more creative license to the designers. Normally a Bond watch tends to be relatively austere, subtle and reserved, something a spy would conceivably wear in the field. The Bond Commander's Watch is the polar opposite of this, eye-catching, colorful and flamboyant, allowing Omega to push the boundaries of what's possible with ceramics.
The underlying model this watch is based on is the third generation ceramic Seamaster Pro 300M diver, powered by Co-Axial Calibre 2500D. This watch was one of Omega's best ever products, combining superb technology and finishing with the very thin packaging afforded by the slim movement and makes for an excellent starting point.
Omega begins by taking the standard blue bezel and adding a splash of brilliant red, highlighting the first 15 minutes of the dive scale. It's worth mentioning that this is a very vibrant and bright red, which is exceptionally hard to achieve in ceramic, most watch brands struggle with this and produce a much flatter, darker hue.
Case & Bracelet
The Bond Commander's watch is based on the standard blue bezel Seamaster Pro 300M Diver Ref 126.96.36.199.03.001, with quite significant aesthetic changes. This underlying watch is a superb timepiece and a favorite among collectors due to its combination of the latest in technology with ceramic & liquidmetal bezel and a ceramic dial, in a slim package at only 12.8 mm from front to back.
These watches are extremely durable by virtue of the domed crystal, which blends into the hard ceramic bezel, deflecting impacts quite deftly by design. The 41.5 mm diameter case size works well for a wide range of people and features a manually operated helium escape valve at 10 o'clock, and a somewhat small, knurled crown, shielded by significant crown-guards.
While the standard Seamaster Pro features a solid steel case-back, the Bond LE models have a sapphire display-back which exposes the Calibre 2507 movement inside with custom rotor. The new case-back also features Omega's new "Naiad" keying style rather than the 5-hole system of the regular model, and somehow manages to save 0.3 mm in thickness over the regular model in the process.
The watch comes in a package with the Omega red, white and blue stripe NATO strap, as well as a full "Bond style" bracelet in steel, yellow or white gold, with a strap change tool included in the box. The bracelet clasp is engraved with the 007 Logo and TM Danjaq beneath it, with Danjaq LLC being the holding company which owns the 007 intellectual property. Despite the inclusion of the tool, it would be best to get a watchmaker to handle strap changes as they will handle them rapidly, cheaply and without damage compared to the average owner.
The movement powering the Bond Commander's watch is the Calibre 2507, which is a special aesthetically modified version of the very highly regarded Co-Axial Calibre 2500D.
The Calibre 2500 family of movements was produced for a very long time, since first appearing in the late 1990's and were used in the majority of Omega's models over the following decade. The particular advantage offered by the Cal 2500 is that while it is an accurate chronometer rated movement, it also fits into a very small footprint being just over 25.6 mm in diameter and an impressive 4.1 mm thick. The compact dimensions of this movement allowed for the packaging of a 300M water resistant heavy duty dive watch into a watch only 12.8 mm thick, 0.8 mm thinner than the Calibre 8800 Seamaster Pros that would follow.
Both the C & D variant of the calibre oscillate at 25,200 vph as opposed to the 28,800 vph of earlier Cal 2500 variants and feature a 48 hour power reserve, up from 44 hours on the A & B variants.
The key difference between the Calibre 2500 C & D variants is the design of the escapement. The later Calibre 2500D movements utilize a 3-level co-axial escapement, which is actually the original design George Daniels intended for this escapement while all earlier versions including Calibre 2500C utilize a 2-level co-axial escapement. The two-level design was developed to keep thickness down as much as possible and unfortunately this compromise led to issues that required several attempts to address.
As the Calibre 2507 is based on the Calibre 2500D variant, none of these issues apply to the Bond Commander's watch, and high accuracy and reliability can be expected without any concern. Most of these watches are yet to be due for service, but when that does come due, any qualified watchmaker with access to an Omega parts account will have the ability to handle this watch at a reasonable price.
Dial & Variants
The three variants of the Bond Commander's watch are all simple metal variations on the same overall design, with almost no perceptible difference between the steel and white gold, and slightly unique style to the yellow gold.
The precious metal versions of the Commander's watch really never received much publicity, and as a result few people even know of their existence, especially the white gold piece unique.
All watches share the same dial, beautifully finished in glossy white ceramic with blue dial text and a contrasting red Seamaster under the painted Omega logo. The applied metal of the hour markers is blued to match the dial text, as are the hands, creating a very unique look compared to regular Seamasters. The second hand is in contrasting red, gold or silver, with the 007 gun logo featured as the counter-weight. As a final nod to Bond, the date wheel features black lettering for all numbers except the number 7, which appears in red.
Stainless Steel Limited Edition 1/7007 Units Ref 188.8.131.52.04.001
The standard steel version is the only model most people will be looking at given how incredibly rare the precious metal versions are. This model features the limited edition number out of 7,007 around the outer edge of the case-back, and is identified by the red second hand which is only found on the steel version.
18K Solid Yellow Gold Limited Edition 1/7 Units Ref 184.108.40.206.04.001
The gold version, ref 220.127.116.11.04.001 is extremely rare at only 7 units for the entire world, especially considering at least a few are likely in the hands of the Omega museum and Bond producers. This model is highly identifiable thanks to the all gold case, the gold hardware on the NATO strap, and also comes with a full 18K gold bracelet and pin.
The second hand on this version is 18K gold, with a red tip for contrast.
18K White Gold Limited Edition 1/1 Units - Piece Unique Ref 18.104.22.168.04.002
The 18K white gold Ref 22.214.171.124.04.002 1/1 limited edition was produced specifically to be sold at auction for charity, with the proceeds going to UNICEF, the United Nations Mine Action Service and other charities.
This watch looks remarkably similar to the steel version, yet has two key differences, the Unique Masterpiece 1/1 text on the case-back and a solid white gold second hand with a red tip.
To add to the package, a Royal Navy Ensign flag, signed by Daniel Craig which was used in the film Spectre was also included in the package, pre-framed, along with a still shot from the film where the flag was used.
Both the pin and the full bracelet for this watch are also made from solid 18K white gold, and it otherwise possesses the same packaging as regular models. If you zoom into the image of the service cards below, you'll see that the jeweler of record is Omega's headquarters in Bienne.
This watch was sold by Christie's for an impressive $87,500 in October 2017 and has not appeared on the market since, so hopefully the owner is thoroughly enjoying it and the contribution made to charity as a result of it.
The Commander's watch in steel was made in same number of 7,007 units as the Spectre, yet it took somewhat longer to sell. Part of this is likely due to it not having a direct movie association to drive interest, but the relatively polarising style was likely a factor also.
Prices on the secondary market have remained rather soft for a Bond limited edition, with eBay, Chrono24 and forums all having an ample supply of used examples ranging in price from $5,250 - $8,000 on average. Due to this being a Bond LE, there are some sellers trying to market brand new full sets above market value but there don't really appear to be any takers at these prices.
Before considering condition, it's important to think about whether you're buying this watch to wear or to collect, as incomplete sets can come at a very significant discount over complete ones if the watch is all you're interested in. For some people the pin, box and NATO strap means a lot but if you're not in that category, it's well worth saving some money on a nice used example.
These watches stand up to abuse remarkably well, being powered by very reliable and accurate movements, and having excellent water resistance coupled with durable domed sapphire crystals and ceramic bezels. The main concerns would be case condition, ensuring there are no significant dings or scratches and that it has not been excessively polished. The same goes for the bracelet which can attract scratches quite a lot, especially the clasp.
From an investment perspective, I don't see these as watches with a huge upside in the future beyond normal adjustment for inflation but I also doubt they will ever be cheaper than they are right now. 7,007 units is quite a lot for any watch so they will never be uncommon let alone rare, but that should not detract in any way from the enjoyment. These watches are a special and unique design based on one of the absolute best Omega has produced in the last decade and that alone makes these a watch well worth owning.
Discussion thread on Omegaforums can be found here: