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In Search of the ‘Reel’ James Bond Watch Strap

In Search of the ‘Reel’ James Bond Watch Strap

It’s well known among watch connoisseurs that in the early James Bond movies starring Sean Connery, the intrepid and oh-so-cool celluloid action hero wore a Rolex Submariner. It is also fairly well known among those same cognoscenti that Connery never wore the watch on the normal metal Oyster bracelet. Instead, he always sported the iconic dive watch on either a leather band or a regimental stripe cloth strap. This unusual method of wearing the watch was just one more subtle way of making the character of James Bond unique and unforgettable. It must have worked because nearly fifty years later—Dr. No. premiered in 1962—they are still making Bond movies and we’re still talking about his watch!

For quite a few years, gray and black-striped so-called NATO straps have been popular with watch collectors wanting a “Bond” strap. This G10 strap in more somber gray nylon has been issued to Her Majesty’s forces in the UK since the late 60s or early 70s, and is usually referred to as a NATO because it has a NATO stock number. It is simply called a G10 in the UK because of the requisition form used to obtain goods through military supply channels.

In Search of the ‘Reel’ James Bond Watch Strap In the days of yore when you were watching Goldfinger or Thunderball, Connery’s strap did indeed appear to be gray and black striped. With the advent of Blu-Ray and High Def televisions, we can now discern a little more detail. What appeared to be gray and black now looks more like black and olive green with two small red pinstripes. Different eyes and monitors might quibble about the shades of olive green or black, but the strap is obviously not just gray and black.
With this discovery and the ensuing discussions about it on the various watch forums, unprecedented scrutiny has been paid to the original Bond strap. So-called “Real Bond” straps, marketed to satisfy collectors, have entered the marketplace to ape the look of the “Reel Bond” strap. These more accurate reproductions are much more faithful to the original strap Connery wore, and I’m big fan of them. Besides being more accurate replicas of the original 007 watch strap, I find the color combinations to be more visually interesting as well.

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