Interview: Daniel Craig Talks Omega, His First Seamaster, And Being Bond
Last week's Omega Seamaster 007 launch was honored by the presence of the most famous British Secret Service spy: Daniel Craig. We participated in a round table discussion with Raynald Aeschlimann, Daniel Craig, and Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. Reader’s Note: This article is to be read in your best British accent.
Since 2005, Daniel Craig has been the face of James Bond, starring in five James Bond films. However, the 51-year-old British born actor always lets doubt linger in the air as to whether he will star in the next one. Since Casino Royale, his performances have been acclaimed by critics and earned Craig a BAFTA nomination, with the movie Skyfall becoming the highest-grossing film in the series.
On the day of Omega’s launch and the debut of the first No Time to Die trailer, we participated in a Daniel Craig and Bond focused roundtable discussion. While talking about how this perfectly matched collaboration came to be, it was extremely refreshing to realize that Daniel Craig, despite being the most famous fictional British spy, was just like you or me. He’s very down to earth, yet dapper, with a touch of humor. He was, however, dressed for the part in his Bond-style tuxedo.
"What a silly idea"
Before becoming the face of James Bond for the past 14 years, Craig believed it was a "silly idea" to think he would land the iconic role. When asked about it, the actor responded in a very humble manner:
When Barbara Broccoli first called me up and said, "Come and have a cup of tea and let's have a conversation about James Bond," I thought, "Come on, this is silly," and couldn't really believe it. But I went and did a job in Hungary, and really put the 007 idea out of my mind. I thought, "That's not going to happen; it's a very silly idea, how could they possibly think of casting me in this movie?"
The actor is, however, the perfect fit for the role, with his impeccable British accent, his aptitude for sports, and his charisma. He has taken over the part with elegance. Convinced he wouldn't get the role, he preemptively bought an Omega from a shady dealer. As he puts it:
I thought, what I'll do is buy myself an OMEGA, because at least I'll have that as a memory. So I went to a very dodgy second-hand watch dealer in Budapest and bought this Seamaster, which was a little bit worse-for-wear, but it worked. I paid way too much money for it; I know that. But OMEGA very kindly took it and made it better and repaired it. I wear that watch often and love it very much.
A partnership meant to be
For the upcoming Bond movie, No Time to Die, not only did Omega create a particular watch for the movie but partnered with Daniel Craig to create this Seamaster 300M 007 edition. When asked about the partnership, Omega CEO Raynald Aeschlimann has a very romantic way of describing how this union came to be:
If we talk about a "partnership," I will refer to my French-English, because the word "partner" in French means a lot. Everybody talks today about collaboration, but not so much about partnership. A partnership is when you want to get the best out of each other, and I think that is quite unique in the watch industry.
This partnership started a long time ago, and that's also very important. It's not about the short term. This whole story began 25 years ago. We love to work with them. We love their creativity, their dedication, and passion. Those are the things that also make OMEGA so different. We are passionate people. We love what we do, and of course, it's a fundamental pillar of our DNA because it represents sophistication, adventure, elegance, and incredible style. And it's also about positive emotion. And we need that. For OMEGA, it's an incredible partnership.
Daniel couldn't agree more about this unique partnership, adding:
They're married to each other. The watch is elegant. I'm not sure if I would call myself elegant. But I would like to think that some of OMEGA's elegance has rubbed off on me.
Omega has a rich history when it comes to watches delivered and used in the army — making this partnership even more organic. Omega's Museum Director, Petros Protopapas, reminds us that if Bond ever existed, he would be wearing an Omega as part of his military gear, saying:
It's a connection that goes all the way back to the Second World War, when OMEGA received the order for, and delivered, to the British forces and Navy forces more than 110,000 timepieces to be used for the war effort. So we can safely assume when we talk about Commander Bond, that if he were a real person, he would almost certainly have been issued an OMEGA watch at the time.
As well as this connection to the military, this Seamaster 300M 007 has a vintage feel that is sure to entice collectors of military timepieces. The aged patina on the aluminum dial is a subtle nod to the vintage timepieces. At six o'clock, you will find the famous broad arrow, a symbol of the British Ministry of Defence. You can read more about the watch here.
A 007 x Omega Top Secret Mission
For this iteration of the Seamaster, Daniel Craig made a point contributing to the creation of the Diver 300M 007 edition. In fact, before it was public knowledge that Craig was going to stay on as Bond for the next series, Aeschlimann and Craig met multiples times to talk about design and specifications. As before, Craig humbly played down his role in the design process, saying:
What was great was that I started talking to OMEGA, and we started having a dialogue, and I thought, "They're not really going to listen to me, they're a watch manufacturer." I love watches, but I know very little about them, but the relationship has built and built and built. I feel like they've listened to me, which amazed me, and I'm very happy they did. This watch is the culmination of all of that.
It feels like a military watch, but it's elegant. I had one important thing, which was that my sleeve must be able to fall over the top of it. And it can. So, you can wear it as a dress watch, but it feels like a military watch and a substantial watch.
And then with the titanium, it's as light as a feather, it's sort of [like] magic. I'm so proud and so happy and incredibly impressed with it. It was brought to me right at the beginning of the filming process and presented to me, and I looked at it and said, "There's nothing I need to say, you've done it, this is it, it's the James Bond watch."
A watch fit for the wrist of James Bond needs to be sophisticated and elegant, yet useful and not be a burden in the field. All those requirements are met with the 007 edition, though we can't help dreaming of a James Bond watch with spy gadgets and out of this world functions. Craig is no different. For example, in Skyfall, when Bond is given a watch, he asks what it does, Q deadpans, “It tells the time.” So, when asked what kind of function he would add to his 007 watch, he humorously replied:
I think a laser that can cut a hole in a wall. How useful is that, just for making a quick exit? You know, "I'm just off to the bathroom," and then you can zip off through the wall.
Off Duty watch
Despite asserting that his watch knowledge is very limited, Craig loves timepieces, and Omega timepieces hold a special place in his heart. He wears a Seamaster onscreen but also appreciates the Speedmaster Moonwatch. He has a good point: If it’s good enough for an astronaut, it must be good enough for James Bond!
I would say the recommendation would be the Moonwatch if it's your first OMEGA. You have to take care of it because you have to wind it. You have to look at it every day and hold it and feel it. So that's a nice way to get a relationship with a watch.
Watches are special and are often dear to the wearer, imbued with stories and beautiful memories. Daniel Craig wholeheartedly agrees, and believes, at the end of a big project, they are the perfect souvenir.
Watches make fantastic gifts. At the end of a Bond movie, I have a team that works for me, and it's a tradition now that I buy them a watch. To see someone, get that red bag, and then watch them open the box and take the watch out, that's one of the nicest things.
By the end of the round table, everyone had the same feeling: We could not wait to see the latest Bond flick, No Time to Die, and see the new Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 007 edition in action. If it’s as grand as last week’s launch in New York, we are sure to be stunned. Find out more about the watch here.
(Images provided by OMEGA)