Watch-Spotting: The Rolex watches of Goldfinger

We’ve been dodging the heat and humidity of UAE summer this year by grabbing our favorite spot on the sofa, and watching all manner of TV shows and movies. Most recently we fed our trusty Blu-ray player a copy of 1964’s Goldfinger – one of our favorite James Bond films. The enhanced resolution and colors gave us full sight of two very cool Rolex watches – the Rolex Submariner 6538 and Rolex GMT Master 6542.

Note the position of the bezel, and the ill-fitted regimental strap.

Note the position of the bezel, and the ill-fitted regimental strap.

The Submariner hits the screen first on 007’s wrist, in fact within the first three minutes of the film (picture above). The Submariner ref. 6538 is sometimes referred to as the original ‘Bond Submariner’, and we reckon this is fair considering actor Sean Connery wears this Submariner reference in the first four James Bond films – Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger and Thunderball. In the following films other references of the Submariner appear on 007’s wrist, and collectors also refer to some of those references as Bond Submariners as well.

In each of the first four 007 films, the legendary spy wears his 6538 on a different strap (never a bracelet). In Goldfinger it’s easy to spot the Submariner – you get a solid three-second look at it on Bond’s wrist when he illuminates it with his lighter. The strap appears to be a regimental strap of sorts, sporting a mix of dark navy blue, dark olive and burgundy. It’s also plainly visible that the strap is much too narrow for the 38mm Submariner’s 20mm wide lugs – you can clearly see both the spring bars. In our minds this is further proof that the appearance of the watch isn’t product placement – we’re sure Rolex would have insisted the watch have a properly fitted strap if it was.

You can just about make out the bezel of the GMT Master 6542 in this shot.

You can just about make out the bezel of the GMT Master 6542 in this shot.

Later in the film, the Rolex GMT Master ref. 6542 appears on actress Honor Blackman’s wrist. Blackman plays Pussy Galore who is initially a foe to James Bond but the picture above (after Bond has worked his magic) is not the first time you can see the GMT Master 6542 on her wrist. It never gets its own three seconds of fame but if you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll be able to spot it on her wrist, while she’s still working for villain Auric Goldfinger (played by actor Gert Fröbe).

As you may know Rolex developed the GMT Master in the 1950s, after the now defunct Pan Am came to them with a request for a watch that could show their pilots different timezones simultaneously. Rolex’s answer to Pan Am was the GMT Master ref. 6542, a watch that measured 38mm in diameter and featured the now iconic red/blue bezel. Considering the watch’s masculine size (for the time) and the fact that it was developed for male Pan Am pilots (Pan Am’s first female pilot would take flight in 1987), the choice of a GMT Master for Blackman’s character is this 60’s film is super cool. It also fits perfectly with the character since Pussy Galore was, in her own words from the film, “a damn good pilot”.

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