The Spy & the Submariner


Words by: JPS for duncan quinn

As the latest Bond film Spectre is about to be released, 007 fans have a chance to snap up something pretty special:

the one-of-a-kind Rolex “Buzz Saw Bezel” Submariner Ref. 5513 worn by Roger Moore in 1973’s Live and Let Die. Modified by Q Branch, the watch, which is being auctioned by Phillips in Geneva on Nov. 7–8, in addition to the saw the watch also features a “hyper intense magnetic field.” This comes in especially handy when Bond uses it to undo the zipper on a Bond Girl’s dress. Phillips says it could bring in as much as $260,000. Certainly one of the coolest Bond gadgets ever to appear on screen as well as a truly iconic Rolex it might even go higher.

Bond’s passion for Rolex – he wears one in eight films in all – originated of course with Ian Fleming and the first Bond books. While the Submariner ended up being the model of choice in the movies, starting with Dr. No in ’62, on paper his preference was recorded simply as an Oyster Perpetual, whose steel band also came in handy for use as a knuckleduster. Fleming himself was a Rolex man, and wore an Explorer, sporty but still elegant enough for the gentlemanly style of dress the spy-turned-author favored. The one exception to Bond’s lavish devotion to the Submariner in the eight Rolex films is 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.


Fittingly this is the film that almost broke the mold, with George Lazenby making his single, and woefully underestimated, appearance as 007. The only time Bond takes a wife – which doesn’t end well – he also seems to have poked around a bit at the watch shop. In place of the trusty Sub he sports an extremely cool pre-Daytona Chronograph, sans gadgets of any kind but drop-dead gorgeous. When Connery returned to the role in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever he had inexplicably switched to a Gruen. It wasn’t until Moore stepped in ’73 and broke out the Buzz Saw beauty that Bond was reunited with his true love. Nowadays 007 wears an Omega on the big screen. But true to form Daniel Craig is Rolex man in civilian life.


Words by JPS for duncan quinn