The most impressive part of Omega’s new Bond watch is the strap

Omega made quite an impression with 2015’s limited edition “Spectre” watch. It was the first time its iconic Seamaster dive watch had ever been available with a NATO strap. Now, with its latest timepiece to be worn by 007 in No Time To Die – the £7,390 Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition – Omega is hoping to repeat this buzz with yet another innovative strap on the Bond watch.

The 42mm timepiece, powered by Omega’s magnetically resistant co-axial master chronometer calibre 8806, has been crafted from Grade 2 titanium. This material is not only used for the case, but also the mesh bracelet with a clever adjustable buckle. And this is where the new look comes from. It is the first Seamaster to sport a titanium mesh bracelet.

Jean-Claude Monachon, Omega VP and head of product development, explained the design approach. “We have used a mesh bracelet in the past, on the Speedmaster for example, so as this watch has quite a vintage look, we decided to go for a mesh bracelet in titanium,” Monachon says in an interview.

Omega released a Milanese, or mesh, bracelet Seamaster back in the 1960s, so perhaps fittingly, for this 007 Edition, the brand has also introduced an aluminium dial with a colour that replicates the aged brown hue some vintage dials turn over time, and the aluminium bezel also mirrors the same shade.

“The last time we did a titanium mesh bracelet was on the Ploprof a few years ago, but this is not the same look,” Monachon says. In 2016, Omega launched the Seamaster Ploprof 1200m where titanium was also employed for both the case and the mesh bracelet. This was apparently a world-first use of titanium for a Milanese bracelet.

Considering the sheer size of the Ploprof, the use of lightweight titanium made sense. Another clear advantage of the metal is its strong resistance to scratches and corrosion, another boon for professional divers. Apparently the material’s lightweight properties also convinced both Omega and Daniel Craig that it should be used for the entirety of the new Bond watch. “We decided that a lightweight watch would be key for a military man like 007,” Craig is quoted saying in an Omega press statement.

Although the Ploprof used a titanium mesh bracelet previously, none of this old design was used in the new Bond watch. “It’s not the same bracelet,” says Monachon. “Here the wire is in titanium Grade 2, and has a section of 0.9 millimetre. As for how we make the bracelet, we have a huge 0.9 titanium wire on a spool, it can be kilometres long, and then it goes into another machine which coils the wire and we make a mesh carpet. So you have carpets of 30 centimetres by 50 centimetres.”

“Then we press the bracelet in a machine so it’s tighter. The stamping tool determines the size – as the bracelet for this watch is 20 millimetres and at the case and 18 millimetres at the end, so you need a different stamping to do that. And after this you have the soldiering for the end of the bracelet. Then it’s a polished and pressed again. The cleaning to avoid oxidation. Then we sandblast.”

Monachon’s revelation that the mesh bracelet, unusual for a Milanese design, is two millimetres thicker at the watch head than at the clasp shows some design swagger from Omega. This is not easy.

“Usually, when you do mesh bracelets, they are always parallel – 20mm at the beginning of the bracelet and 20mm at the end. Here the elements are less close at the watch head than at the end. So it’s an improvement. It’s closer to the bracelet on the current collection with the end element where the clasp is always thinner than the watch head.”

Monachon says the bracelet design has been in development since September 2018. An initial untapered prototype was produced back in March this year. After this, it was decided that Omega would attempt the new 20-18 shape on the bracelet. “This took us until the beginning of July. Then we started the production in September,” he says.

How is the watch’s thinner end created? The stamping tool placed on each side of the bracelet already has the desired shape, being wider at one end. Omega then press it from left to right and from right to left. This operation is then repeated three times to get the finished uneven width mesh result.

For the eagle-eyed, those scrutinising the trailer (see below) for No Time To Die, which dropped yesterday, it was possible to see flashes of the new watch on Bond’s wrist at 54 seconds when Craig gets out of an Aston Martin, and again at 1:51, before the Seamaster was officially revealed at an event in New York last night.

However, if you are a fan of the NATO strap limited Spectre from 2015, but were not able to secure one, you will be pleased to find out that the Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition will not be limited in production and will also be available on a NATO strap in dark brown, grey and beige with 007 engraved on the loop, costing less that the mesh bracelet version, at £6,520. Both will be available from February.

Not stopping with the mesh bracelet, one last innovation has been squeezed into the new Bond watch. Although the height of the case is 12.99mm, Daniel Craig wanted the watch to appear thinner in profile. In order to achieve this, a new doming of the sapphire-crystal glass had to be created, producing an optical effect that makes the glass look lower.

Omega has held the lucrative contract for supplying Bond-film watches since 1995, where Pierce Brosnan sported a Omega Seamaster Diver 300M in GoldenEye, and this new Seamaster 007 Edition follows the release back in September of the Seamaster Diver 300M James Bond Limited Edition, a watch intended to celebrate the 50th anniversary of 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

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