Interestingly, you’d think that the first ever Bond replica watch to do something cool and gadgety—as befitting a fictional secret service agent—would be a Rolex. Everyone remembers the copy Rolex Submariner Reference 5513 with buzzsaw bezel used by Roger Moore’s Bond in Live and Let Die, for example. Or the replica Omega Seamaster Professional with a built-in bomb detonator and laser used by Pierce Brosnan’s Bond.
Yet that claim to fame goes to none other than Swiss made replica Breitling, whose ‘Top Time’ model was adapted by Q and his laboratory of boffins to feature a Geiger counter—a handy little device for detecting radiation. The props department also had it heavily modified so that it came within a large cushion case, rather than the standard circular one available to the public.
In the film, two atomic bombs are hijacked and held to ransom by long-time Bond adversary SPECTRE. The Geiger counter on the cheap fake Breitling Top Time helps Bond locate the bombs, while the other super clone Breitling in the movie—a Navitimer Reference 806—is worn by Francois Derval, a French NATO pilot, who is then killed and has his identity stolen by a SPECTRE assassin.
Bond later produces the luxury fake watch as evidence of Derval’s death. No fleeting half-glimpses here—these perfect replica watches were integral to the plot and got a respectable amount of screen time.
Interestingly, the Swiss movement copy Breitling ‘Top Time’ was also the only replica watch ever issued to Connery’s Bond by Q Branch, with Roger Moore’s incarnation of the character getting all the best stuff—especially during the digital Seiko era of the 1970s.
Boot Sale Bargain
So it might seem borderline negligent to us that the 1:1 replica Breitling Top Time went M.I.A for decades. We can only speculate on its wilderness years. One story online claims it was procured by a person working at Pinewood Studios, where much of the filming took place, before being sold years later to someone who didn’t know exactly what they had on their hands.
That is, until discovering a thread about the whereabouts of the best replica watch on an online forum.
And the other AAA quality replica Breitling used in Thunderball? Who knows, but keep a look out for an old Breitling Navitimer Reference 806 replica for men the next time you’re rootling through the dusty trinkets at your local flea market.
Swiss made copy Breitling, finally capitalising on this bit of promotional serendipity, re-issued the luxury fake Breitling Top Time model in 2020. Limited to 2,000 pieces, it features a distinctive dial design that has earned the nickname ‘the Zorro’ due to the black ‘mask’ over the sub-dials.
It also features a ‘B’ logo under 12 o’clock, which obviously stands for ‘best quality fake Breitling’, but, if you really want to max out your 007 fantasy, you can always pretend it stands for ‘Bond’. We won’t judge you.
It’s unlikely a top Swiss replica Breitling will ever feature in a Bond film again, but nobody will ever be able to take away the fact that the brand provided this iconic movie spy with his first Q-issued gadget copy watch online—a remarkable footnote in the brand’s long history, and one about which they seem to be admirably modest.