Fans of the most iconic fictional British spy come together in what has become known as James Bond Day, to honor the anniversary of the premiere of Dr. No in 1962. This year, we thought we’d mark the occasion by taking a trip through Q Branch’s veritable stockpile of horological treasures to select our favorite James Bond gadget replica watches.
With everything from buzzsaws to Geiger counters, and detonators to magnets, James Bond’s top quality copy watches are rare in pop culture folklore in that they combine style and panache with showy but ultimately useful tools of the spy trade. Sure, some are a bit ridiculous, but so is James Bond – that’s more than half the fun. Here are just some of our favorites.
Jon Bues: ‘Thunderball,’ Breitling Top Time (Geiger Counter)
The Breitling Top Time replica watch with Swiss movement modified by Q to be a Geiger counter and worn by James Bond in Thunderball is among the more prominent gadget watches in the movie franchise’s history. It figured in the film’s plot, and then had a remarkable second life when it was purchased much later for 25 Pound sterling and auctioned off at Christie’s in 2013 for £103,875. In the film, Q gives the watch to Bond so that he can use it to detect the emission of nuclear radiation.
It was not the only Geiger counter to appear in the Bond series. In 1962’s Dr. No, Bond tests another Geiger counter by running it over the dial of his Rolex Submariner. But the Breitling was the first Q-modified watch to be given to Bond. The one seen here is a cheap fake Breitling Top Time ref. 2002, and we wrote about it back when it came up for sale in 2013.