Daniel Craig explores his bond with the horological world
Interview by Raynald Aeschlimann
There is something to be said about the connection between a person and their watch. What does it say about you? How do you wear it? Form or function?
On a warm spring evening at New York’s newly-restored The Beekman hotel, Bay Street Bull joined Raynald Aeschlimann, president of luxury brand OMEGA watches, and Daniel Craig to discuss the thespian’s affinity for beautiful timepieces and its storied relationship with one particular British secret agent.
What attracted you to collecting watches? What is it about them that you love so much?
When I earned my first bit of money, and I think this goes for a lot of people, one of the things I thought was: ‘I’m going to buy something for myself.’ So I did. Years later, I was doing a job in Budapest and I went and bought myself a vintage OMEGA, which was in a terrible state, and [OMEGA] completely fixed it up for me. I think that was the beginning, really, when my collection of watches and my interest in watches started—just by being involved with OMEGA through Bond.
I suppose that, for men, [watches] are a piece of jewelry that you can collect and, for me anyway, because of the precision and technology that goes into making them, I’m fascinated by it. And I have a few now.
Do you remember your first OMEGA and was there anything significant about it?
Yeah, it was an old Seamaster 300. It cost me, but it seemed like the thing to do. At the time, I thought it was incredibly expensive, but now I don’t think it was. I just don’t think I had very much money at the time, so it seemed like a lot.
One that you never wear is the OMEGA given to you by the producers of Casino Royale. Why is it so precious to you?
I don’t know, it’s something I don’t want to wear. I don’t want to lose it. It’s as simple as that. So it lives in the safe, which is maybe a bit sad, but I’m so desperately scared of losing it. There’s a dedication on the back of it from Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the producers of the movie.
What do you look for in a watch when you want to add one to your collection?
Well, I love the Seamaster 300. I love a blue face on a watch, and the other thing that is so magnificent about it is that it’s so light. Not that it’s a problem to wear a heavy watch, but having a light watch is really very nice. I have a couple of light, vintage watches, older ones that I like wearing. They’re all watches that I bought at antique stores, and I’ll buy them for myself because it’s nice to wear a light watch with a suit. When I have my shirts made for Bond, I have the left cuff made slightly larger so I can wear the watch, and the sleeve sits over the watch.
Are you attracted to diving watches?
I’m not really a diver, [though] I have done it. It’s something you see when you’re a kid; the history of these watches, the history with the navy and the marines. It seems so much bigger than OMEGA making watches for Bond. I don’t know if it’s just the diving watch, or a boys’ thing about a diving watch, [but] they just look great.
Leather strap, bracelet, or Nato strap? What is your preference and why? Do you change your strap based on what you’re wearing, or would you rather change your timepiece?
It depends on what kind of mood I’m in. I play around with them. I mean, that’s how the Nato strap came about for SPECTRE. I took my 300 and put a Nato strap on it and that’s how we got into the discussion about producing that watch.
I’ve got the ceramic Dark Side of the Moon watch that came with a black Kevlar strap. I’ve changed that one a couple times just ‘cause it looks quite good on a thick leather strap. So I play around with them.
You said that you wanted the watch in SPECTRE to do something special. If you could have a secret function in your own watch, what would it be?
I don’t need it to do anything except to tell the time properly. That’s all I really need it to do. And they do!
And you know, I try not to, but if I was to drop one, it doesn’t break. Occasionally they hit the ground and you go, ‘oh god,’ but you can put it back on because they’re so solid. It’s the strength of them and the fact that they’re so reliable, that’s all I care about and want in a watch. I don’t need it to do anything else.