Time to save the world - again

John Stringer

Someone who has often used his watch to do more than tell the time is super spy James Bond. When filming started on Dr No in 1961, it was discovered that Sean Connery (below left) was not wearing Bond's trademark Rolex Oyster Perpetual (first given to the hero by his literary creator, Ian Fleming) so director Terence Young lent the young actor his. But it was Red Grant, the white-haired assassin in From Russia with Love, who first used an incredible wristwatch in a 007 movie; a fine-wire garotte was hidden in the springs and cogs that Grant uses to deadly effect.

A decade later, in Live and Let Die, Bond created a sensation by wearing the firstdigital watch on the market. Its numerals glowed red when a button was pressed. The Rolex that replaces it later in the same film has a "hypermagnetic field" that deflects bullets, attracts teaspoons and undoes dress zippers. More practically, the round metal bezel, which houses the watch's protective glass, turns into a buzz saw, cutting Bond from the ropes that bind him.

In Moonraker, Bond wears a Seiko packed with explosives, detonators and a built-in timer; in Octopussy his watch becomes a homer tracking device and a miniature TV monitor; in Never Say Never Again the watch-strap buckle becomes a laser; and in Tomorrow Never Dies, James uses his Omega wristwatch to time a grenade explosion. The World is Not Enough sees a high-tensile wire, attached to a rocket-fired piton housed in 007's wristwatch, that helps him fly out of danger.

Bond's latest adventure, Die Another Day, is released next week. Does he have any gadgets housed in his timepiece this time? You'll just have to watch and find out.

* For more information on James Bond's watches, cars and other gadgets,see www.hmss.comqbranch

* A Science Museum exhibition running until March 2003 explores the science and art of the Bond films. For details, see www.sciencemuseum.org.ukexhibitionbond

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John Stringer

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