When Daniel Craig stopped by the Beekman Hotel in New York, the talk was less of Bond and more of his watches, which are supplied not by Q but Omega.
One of Craig's prized possessions: an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial chronometer, which he wore in the opening sequence of Casino Royale, his first stint as James Bond.
“It never leaves the safe in my closet,” he said, “which is maybe a bit sad, but I’m so desperately scared of losing it.”
While there, the British actor also sheepishly admitted that his first watch was a Breitling – “I was young and naive at the time,” he joked, as he sat next to Raynald Aeschlimann, chief executive officer of Omega.
Craig also professed his love for the Seamaster Aqua Terra, a model he added to his personal collection after he wore it in the 2012 hit Skyfall.
“I like the blue dial,” he said. “Sometimes it’s as simple as that.”
We caught up with Craig to discuss a few other of his watch-collecting habits.
What is so special about the watch from Casino Royale? Emotional significance?
The one that I brought this evening is actually the watch that I wore during the opening sequence of Casino Royale.
I don’t know, it’s something I don’t want to wear. I don’t want to lose it. 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 from Michael and Barbara, the producers of the movie. There isn’t much room on the back for a long one, it just says “With love, and thanks.”
What attracted you to collecting watches?
When I earned my first bit of money, one of the things you think is, 'I’m going to buy myself something.'
Years later, I was doing a job in Budapest, and I bought myself a vintage Omega, which was in a terrible state, and they completely fixed it up for me.
That was the beginning, really, when my collection of watches and my interest in watches started by being involved with Omega through Bond. I have these crazy ideas, and they produce them.
We certainly went for it in the last one for Spectre. 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.
Leather strap, bracelet, or Nato strap? What is your preference and why?
It depends on what kind of mood I’m in. I play around with them. 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.
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 is 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 are all watches that I bought when I see them occasionally at antique stores, and I’ll buy them for myself because it’s nice to wear a light watch with a suit.
Something I got into is 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.
James Bond always chooses a Seamaster. Do you find yourself 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 Bond. I don’t know if it’s just the diving watch, or a boy’s thing about a diving watch, they just look great.
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 you know, if I was to drop one, I hope 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.