James Bond Creator Ian Fleming’s Only Rolex Goes On Public Display

James Bond gives way to only one person. No prizes for guessing because it is none other than his creator Ian Fleming. The author is in news as his personal 1954 black dial Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer I goes on display at the National Watch & Clock Museum in Lancaster, PA. It is believed that this very watch was the real inspiration behind all the stylish Rolexes worn by the world famous secret agent.

The exhibit in reference will also be showcasing several other watches worn by 007 in both Fleming’s novels as well as Bond movies. For example, the several Submariners like he one sported by Sean Connery in 1962’s ‘Dr.No’ to the most tricked out magnetized version with a built-in rotating saw blade-equipped number from ‘Live And Let Die’ from 1973.

Coming back to Explorer I, this on is the first and the only Rolex owned by the author and was locked away in a bank vault for nearly 20 years after his death. The world got to hear of this watch for the first time in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ in 1963. Fleming wrote: “[Bond] could not just wear a watch. It had to be a Rolex.”

Via luxist

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1 Comment

  • It’s great to see the upcoming (NAWCC) National Watch & Clock Museum exhibit, “Bond Watches, James Bond Watches” continue to merit the spotlight among so many online information sources.

    The following factual corrections should be made to this as well.

    First and most important, the only Rolex owned by Ian Fleming was a model 1016 Explorer, which, of course, did not exist in 1954. In fact, Mr. Fleming’s Rolex, which will, indeed, be displayed throughout the June 2010 – May 2011 exhibition, was produced during the fourth quarter of 1960 and acquired by Ian Fleming sometime during or just prior to the period in which he wrote his novel, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” starting in early 1962 (and published the following year).

    As we’ve announced, Mr. Fleming’s stepdaughter has generously made arrangements with the National Watch & Clock Museum for the display of this watch here.

    Second, no information on any other watch to be display has been released (and I’d know if it had!). So your second paragraph is pure speculation. And, I’d add, be shown quite inaccurate with our next round of announcements. This display of James Bond watches is going to include what I believe will prove the broadest range ever displayed in one place; Rolex Submariners have a place in that history, but so do Breitling, Omega, and Seiko models.

    (You have my eMail address with my Luxist registration, so if you’ll send me your contact information, I’ll be sure you’re included directly on future press information distributions.)

    And some surprises.

    Finally, I’m aware of no 007 story where Ian Fleming wrote, “[Bond] could not just wear a watch. It had to be a Rolex.”

    On the contrary, in a letter which has survived him, dated June 5, 1958, Mr. Fleming wrote: “I have discussed this with [James Bond] and … [his] practice, in fact, is to use fairly cheap, expendable wrist watches on expanding metal bracelets which can be slipped forward over the thumb and used in the form of a knuckle-duster, either on the outside or the inside of the hand.”

    That gives a whole lot of room for a “James Bond choice” in time keepers for the first half of the canon!

    Again, thanks for your support in getting the word out!

    Dell Deaton
    Guest Curator, “Bond Watches, James Bond Watches”
    National Watch & Clock Museum, June 2010 – May 2011

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