How James Bond Made Me Buy an Apple Watch
Let’s be honest, James Bond is an Apple fan.
“Classy,” “cool,” “svelte,” “sophisticated” — and maybe even “dangerous” — all words that can describe either. Sony even offered Daniel Craig $5 million to use one of its phones in Spectre — he refused the deal; he said that a Sony smartphone just wasn’t cool enough for Bond. The same would totally be true of a Sony smartwatch .
Bond has always had a thing for watches. Indeed, some of the best gadgets Bond has ever used have been timepieces. He also tends to be at the cutting edge of watch technology. All of which means he would love the Apple Watch.
Man With the Digital Watch
Back in 1973, Roger Moore’s Bond wore the Pulsar P2 (no longer available), the first mass-produced digital watch, in Live and Let Die. This was 10 years before a digital watch was even considered nerdy .
While the P2 is a classic watch, it’s not without its flaws. For a digital watch it’s almost featureless: it just tells the time. No date, no stopwatch, and no other complications. The display wasn’t even on all the time; pushing a button on the side displayed it in bold red numerals. It also cost $395 dollars, $10 more than a Rolex Submariner. This all sounds slightly familiar doesn’t it?
From then on until 1985’s A View to a Kill, Bond almost exclusively wore digital Seiko watches. These came with various abilities courtesy of Q Branch. Bond was able to receive secure text messages from MI6 — laughably using ticker-tape in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me — and even TV footage on his various Seikos.
When digital watches stopped being quite so futuristic, Bond went back to analog watches. Timothy Dalton wore a TAG Heuer and a Rolex, while Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig have both worn Omegas. Even these weren’t without some cool extra features. Brosnan’s laser-equipped Omega from Goldeneye is unquestionably one of the most iconic watches ever — in part because of its role in the awesome Nintendo 64 game based on the film.
In the decade that followed Bond’s foray into digital watches, their popularity boomed. Even as late as the mid–1990s when I was growing up, a digital Casio was the hottest thing you could strap to your wrist.
As John Gruber discusses in an article about James Bond and the Apple Watch, the best thing about a Casio was their potential. You almost never needed any of the extra features, and even when you did, using them was next to impossible.
I couldn’t agree more with what Gruber writes:
The interfaces were complex, inscrutable at first. I always knew the interfaces were bad, but I accepted them because I wanted the features. I liked having a stopwatch and countdown timer. And of course the interface was complicated: all these features were packed into a tiny little watch.
But you know what? You didn’t care. Your Casio was the successor to the digital watches that Bond had been wearing since the 1970s. While it couldn’t receive text messages, the stopwatch was accurate to hundredths of a second. Sure, there was no way you could ever use it that accurately, but all that mattered was that the potential was there.
After having worn an Apple Watch for the last month, Gruber finds it reminiscent of these early digital watches.
I’m surprised how much I’ve been reminded of those Casios. In the way it felt cool in 1987 to have all those features on my wrist, it feels cool today to have these features on my wrist. This is the watch my teenage 1987 self would have expected my 2015 self to own.
Bond Would Wear an Apple Watch
When I was growing up, one of the Irish TV channels would, for a few months every year, run a Bond movie on Saturday nights, working their way through the complete collection. This weekly ritual was one of the most formative experiences of my childhood.
For me, childhood nostalgia isn’t Disney films, it’s watching Bond dispatch another henchman, kiss another girl, or throw out another sexual innuendo (which, thankfully, passed right over my head at the time). It’s safe to say that Bond is pretty ingrained in my psyche.
Now, 40 years after Bond first received text messages on his wrist, the real world is finally catching up. I know for sure that Roger Moore’s Bond would wear an Apple Watch. While Daniel Craig’s won’t be wearing one in Spectre, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had one in the film after.
Even as a fan of Apple and its products, I accept that no one needs an Apple Watch, but it’s not about need. As Gruber says, “[The Apple Watch] needs to justify its existence no more than any other watch — mechanical or electronic — ever made. Of course you don’t need it. No one, not one person on the face of the earth, needs any $400 watch, Apple Watch or otherwise.”
It’s not about whether or not getting notifications on my wrist will in any way improve my life, it’s about having a device on my wrist that’s capable of so much. Something that’s been promised for decades is truly available for the first time: a watch that can make phone calls, search the Internet, receive messages, and look good while it does it.
If you don’t see the joy in that having come to fruition — both sides of it, the function and the style, the engineering and the design — then of course you’re not going to see the point of all the hoopla surrounding Apple Watch. And if you do see the joy in it, if you do think it’s cool that it even exists, then don’t overthink it. It’s a cool watch that does cool things.
And So Will I
James Bond would definitely wear an Apple Watch, and so will I.
There is only one real reason to buy an Apple Watch: because you want to. As with many first-generation Apple gadgets, the promise outpaces the implementation. The iPhone 3GS was the first great iPhone. The second generation Macbook Air was the laptop that changed the PC industry. The first generation Apple Watch has its issues, but I want it nonetheless.
If an Apple Watch is cool enough for Bond, it’s cool enough for me. That’s as good a reason for buying one as any other I’ve heard.
The Apple Watch has so far proved divisive among the MakeUseOf staff. So, will you be buying one? If so, is your decision based even remotely on seeing James Bond use futuristic wristwatches over the years? Please let us know your thoughts on the Apple Watch and/or James Bond in the comments section below.