Following several postponements due to the global pandemic, the new James Bond film, “No Time To Die,” has finally opened in theaters worldwide. This is the 25th film in the Bond franchise, which has spanned 58 years. Over almost six decades, we’ve seen six different actors playing the famed 007 agent on-screen, driving around in incredible cars and wearing some truly awesome luxury watches, all while trying to save the world.
Ask a crowd of Bond fans who their favorite 007 actor is and you’ll hear different answers. Suave Sean Connery? Slick Pierce Brosnan? Broody Daniel Craig? Humorous Roger Moore? They all have their legions of devotees. And how about the ultimate Bond cars and watches – there are so many great ones, it’s hard to choose! While everyone has their favorites, here are our top picks for the best James Bond watches, cars, and actors of all time.
Table of Contents:
Best James Bond Actors
In the 25 films that have been made thus far, there have been a total of six actors that have played James Bond: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig. Though each actor brought his unique flair to the charismatic character, the following three gents are our favorites.
The original on-screen Bond, Sean Connery was the first to bring Ian Fleming’s character from the page to the silver screen. Though he wasn’t Fleming’s top choice, the Scotsman is certainly one of ours. Connery played the secret agent in six “official” Bond films from 1962 to 1971 (plus the non-Eon produced “Never Say Never Again” in 1983) – and made James Bond the household name that he is today.
– Dr. No (1962)
– From Russia with Love (1963)
– Goldfinger (1964)
– Thunderball (1965)
– You Only Live Twice (1967)
– Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Before stepping into Bond’s shoes, Roger Moore was already a familiar face, playing the debonair Robin Hood-like figure, Simon Templar, on the hit television show, “The Saint.” Moore was the longest-serving James Bond, starring in seven James Bond films from 1973 to 1985. His portrayal of the super spy is often cited as more laid-back and humorous, which audiences in the 1970s and 1980s loved – and we do too.
– Live and Let Die (1973)
– The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
– The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
– Moonraker (1979)
– For Your Eyes Only (1981)
– Octopussy (1983)
– A View to a Kill (1985)
Spoiler alert: “No Time To Die” is Daniel Craig’s final appearance as James Bond as he bids farewell to the franchise after starring in five films. When Craig was announced as the sixth actor that would portray Agent 007, he was met with plenty of negative press including quips about his blonde hair breaking from the tradition of dark-haired leading men. Yet, frivolous remarks didn’t stop the actor from nailing the Bond character, and most critics and fans (including us) agree that his portrayal is arguably the most faithful to Fleming’s original character.
– Casino Royale (2006)
– Quantum of Solace (2008)
– Skyfall (2012)
– Spectre (2015)
– No Time to Die (2021)
Best James Bond Cars
No Bond flick is complete without a fast-paced car chase, and more often than not, 007 is behind the wheel of a fantastic vehicle armed with spy-ready gadgetry. Among the dozens of memorable wheels featured in the films, the following trio of James Bond cars leads the pack.
Lotus Esprit S1
Leave it to Bond to transform a sleek sports car into a submersible, which is what took place during a high-speed pursuit in “The Spy Who Loved Me” starring Roger Moore. The aquatic Lotus Esprit dubbed “Wet Nellie” that provided 007 and his passenger underwater refuge not only gave us one of the most iconic Bond cars ever to grace the screen but also one of the most unforgettable scenes of the long-running franchise.
Aston Martin DBS V12
The it-car of Daniel Craig’s James Bond, the spectacular DBS V12 was first seen in the 2006 “Casino Royale” film and later appeared in “Quantum of Solace” in 2008. Rather than relying on a bevy of far-fetched gadgetry, the DBS V12 stands out as one of the best Bond cars due to its superb design and performance. The car even had its own fleet of stunt cars, including a modified DB9 that rolled a record-breaking seven times during a pursuit.
Aston Martin DB5
The Aston Martin DB5 is, without a doubt, the quintessential James Bond car. It made its first appearance in Sean Connery’s “Goldfinger” in 1964, complete with modifications like a revolving license plate, machine guns, tire slashers, hydraulic rams, and an ejector seat. The iconic Bond car returned in “Thunderball” (1965), “GoldenEye” (1995), “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997), “Casino Royale” (2006), “Skyfall” (2012), “Spectre” (2015), and “No Time To Die” (2021), each time upgraded with new gadgets but always retaining its stunning timeless design.
Best James Bond Watches
Ian Fleming famously wore a Rolex Explorer 1016 and in his 1963 novel On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the author wrote: “Bond surveyed his weapons. They were only his hands and his feet, his Gillette razor and his wristwatch, a heavy Rolex Oyster Perpetual on an expanding bracelet. Used properly, these could be turned into most effective knuckledusters.”
Although Rolex is the only watch brand ever named by Fleming on paper, on-screen Bond has sported a slew of watches and brands throughout the film franchise, which like the cars, are often packed with eyebrow-raising contraptions, thanks to Q.
Rolex Submariner 6538 “Big Crown”
Although 007 has worn multiple Rolex watches over the decades, including several Submariner dive watches, when the words James Bond Submariner is uttered in watch enthusiast circles, there is only one true timepiece that fits the bill – the highly collectible vintage Rolex Submariner ref. 6538 “Big Crown.”
Produced from approximately 1955 to 1959 and nicknamed after the oversized winding crown, this was the watch that Sean Connery wore in “Dr. No,” which was strapped around his wrist via an undersized NATO-style strap. Legend has it that producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli loaned Connery his Rolex Submariner 6538 to wear in that first film, and the watch reappeared in both “From Russia With Love” and “Goldfinger.”
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Rolex Chronograph Ref. 6238
George Lazenby only played James Bond once, in the 1969 movie, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” During the film, Lazenby wore two Rolex watches: a Submariner Ref. 5513 and a gorgeous Rolex Ref. 6238 chronograph.
The Rolex 6238 was the last chronograph model with an unmarked bezel, right before the tachymeter-bezel Daytona chronographs hit the market. As such, the Rolex 6238 is often nicknamed the “Pre-Daytona” and it’s estimated that only around 2,000 examples were ever made. And Bond’s Rolex Pre-Daytona ref. 6238, which was purchased by EON Productions in 1968 from Bucherer Interlaken, Switzerland, is one-of-kind as it has a customized red chronograph seconds hand.
Omega Seamaster Professional 300M Chronometer Ref. 2531.80
In 1995, Omega made its debut as James Bond’s official watch in the movie “Goldeneye,” starring Pierce Brosnan. In that movie, 007 was sporting the then-new Omega Seamaster Professional 300M steel watch with a blue bezel and dial. That appearance helped that Omega diving model, which is now known as the Seamaster Diver 300M, to become a flagship collection in the brand’s lineup.
However, it’s not that quartz Seamaster Professional 300M (ref. 2541.80) that’s one of our top picks for the best Bond watches. Instead, we nominate the Omega Seamaster Professional Chronometer 300M Ref. 2531.80 that showed up in the following “Tomorrow Never Dies” (and every Brosnan-led Bond film after that), which features the same signature style but is powered by an automatic movement.
Omega Seamaster 300 “SPECTRE” Limited Edition
The first purposely-built Bond movie watch, the Seamaster 300 ref. 184.108.40.206.01.001 made its way from 007’s wrist in the 2015 movie “SPECTRE,” to the market as a limited edition release. The set is beautifully packaged in a wooden box that opens with a three-digit code (which is 0-0-7, if you happen to forget).
Omega made (naturally) 7,007 examples of the Seamaster 300 “Spectre” watch, each sporting a steel 41mm case topped with a black bidirectional rotating bezel. Plus, in honor of 007’s profession, the SPECTRE Omega is kitted out with none other than a NATO-style fabric strap. Yet, for those who prefer a steel bracelet, the special James Bond watch also comes with a matching stainless steel bracelet, along with all the necessary tools to swap out the bands.
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Who Will Be The Next James Bond?
Now that Daniel Craig’s era in the 007 movies is over, everyone is left wondering who will be next to take on the legendary James Bond character in future films. There’s no shortage of lists speculating which actor would be best suited to throw on a tux and order a shaken martini.
Whoever the next James Bond will be, we know that Agent 007 will forever be equipped with the finest cars and watches as he tackles his next mission.