Star-Bulletin Features

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

SWATCH James Bond watches "1995 Goldeneye," "1965 Thunderball;" "1967 You Only Live Twice."

Time for Bond

By Tim Ryan

From Swatch watches symbolizing the 20 James Bond films made over the past 40 years to night-vision goggles and radio-controlled cars, merchandising surrounding the upcoming 007 flick looks like it's going to be bigger than ever.

"Die Another Day," slated for a November release and featuring Maui in its opening credits, looks like it's going to be bigger than ever. Directed by Lee Tamahori of "Once Were Warriors" fame, the dapper Pierce Brosnan will be joined by Halle Berry, Judi Dench, John Cleese and Rosamund Pike in the cast.

Of course, tie-in merchandising with the movie is de rigueur, and Bond producers have partnered with the Beanstalk Group to license a line of toys inspired by the movies. Soon to come are two die-cast, radio-controlled Aston Martin Vanquish and Jaguar XKR cars, night-vision explorer 3-Way binoculars, a metal detector, a long-range listening device called the Sonic Explorer, a multipurpose survival kit and the obligatory action figure collectibles.

And Swatch has produced the "James Bond Collection -- Mission 002" line which will be part of a release schedule throughout September: Mission 01 (covering the years 1962-67), Mission 02 (1969-77), Mission 03 (1979-87) and Mission 04 (1989-2002), with designer watches ranging from $40 to $120.

But as any Bond fan knows, 007's watch of choice originally was a Rolex chronometer -- worn by both Sean Connery and Roger Moore -- until the early 1970s. Pierce Brosnan since has sported the Omega Seamaster.

SWATCH James Bond watches "1989 License to Kill;" "1973 Live and Let Die" and "1974 The Man With the Golden Gun."

Though Bond never actually wears a Swatch in the film series, the range of watches are designed to appeal to fans of 007 merchandise and "destined to become highly collectible," says Susan Tavares, Swatch Group's Hawaii regional manager. (The Swatch store is at 3731 Kalakaua Ave. in the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach.)

Swatch hopes to sell between 800,000 to 1.2 million of the mostly unisex watches.

"The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977) is an aluminum diving watch with its face and band designed along the lines of a submarine. "From Russia with Love" has European cities' names on the bezel to capture the romance of Bond and Tatiana escaping Istanbul. "Thunderball" has an appropriate nautical theme with its blue plastic casing, and "Live and Let Die" has an early-1970s feel, in keeping with the George Martin-Paul McCartney score of that movie. "A View to a Kill" features a graphic of microchip circuitry, tying in to the Silicon Valley theme of the Wilson-Maibaum screenplay. "Tomorrow Never Dies," however, owes less to the story and more to the red-hued marketing machine that was prominent on the movie posters and the Sheryl Crow music video.

The chronograph watch for 1999's "The World Is Not Enough" will be the most-produced Bond piece, numbering at 100,000. Several watches have been made in batches of just 30,000, including the one for the first Bond film, "Dr. No" (1962).

The watch inspired by the classic 1964 "Goldfinger" movie is, of course, gold with a black leather strap. "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971) is a stainless steel fashion watch with faux diamond stones on the bezel and a pink and white band. The watch face for "License to Kill" (1989) is a roulette wheel. "Moonraker" (1979) has a high-tech futuristic look in aluminum, and "For Your Eyes Only" (1981) is a stainless-steel woman's watch.

One of the most intriguing designs is the "Octopussy" timepiece, a woman's "Jelly Watch" that wraps around the arm.

The watch design for "Die Another Day" has not been released.

Hawaii will be featured in the new film's opening scene when surfers Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama, Darrick Doerner, Rush Randle and Brett Lickle ride 20-foot-plus waves at Jaws off Maui's North Shore in full wet suit, night-vision goggles and guns. Brosnan wasn't present for filming. I guess 007 doesn't surf!

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