Patek Philippe Watch

While we’re getting the description of Sir Hugo Drax in Moonraker, we get a very simple description of his watch:

a plain gold Patek Philippe watch with a black leather strap.

Pretty straightforward. You might even have just read right over it without giving it a thought. However, it is yet another example of Ian Fleming’s eye for detail and top-notch product placement within the series.

Patek Philippe & Co is a high-end Swiss watch manufacturer which has been in business since 1839. They are known for the fine movements and complicated mechanics of their timepieces. They are considered by many to be the most prestigious luxury watchmaker in the industry.

Nothing “plain” about that!

Drax may have been wearing something similar to this 1950 model:

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Like this watch? You can purchase it for a mere $14,432!

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4 Replies to “Patek Philippe Watch”

  1. You could be right about the wristwatch. Funny that Fleming was a little more detailed with his descriptions in his next book, “From Russia With Love” when describing Red Grant’s Girard-Perregaux timepiece. Nice site you have here too, by the way!

  2. (Shared via email)
    Just found this site and am pretty impressed as I have been a big fan of the original novels since the first time I read FRWL. I am also a watch nut and wanted to share my thoughts on Bond and the Rolex watches he may have owned as I feel people aren’t thinking it through. Do what you want with this info. Most is from memory of rereading the books so I could be off a bit. Think of this as food for a conversation. The first mention of a Rolex on Bond’s wrist was in Live and Let Die when he was checking his equipment prior to making the night SCUBA swim to the Isle of Surprise. No mention of the model although you could assume a luminous dial that could be read under water at night was a feature. In From Russia with Love Bond’s watch was destroyed when Red Grant, in a show of marksmanship shot it off his wrist. No mention of it being a Rolex. Later in the story when meeting Rosa Klebb at the Ritz in Paris it was revealed that Bond was wearing Capt. Nash’s watch (Red Grant). This was not the original gold Gerard Peregaux calendar watch that Red had in the opening of the story but a cheaper one to fit his cover as Nash. In Dr No Bond’s watch had been found to have stopped after being captured and drugged. He was able to wind and reset it so it seems to have simply ran down rather than stop due to water incursion, or he actually wore a manual wind. It was not mentioned to be a Rolex so perhaps he was still wearing Nash’s old watch? In Thunderball Leiter mentions that he was “still wearing that old watch with phosphorous numerals” when demonstrating the Geiger counter. No mention if it is a Rolex, and it could have had a Radium dial. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service the Rolex gets mentioned the most as being a “heavy” watch with an “Expanding” metal band (here I think twist o flex but an oyster bracelet in the early days had expansion springs, and even without, the fold over clasp could be described as expandable to get it on and off). This watch was smashed when used as a brass knuckle and replaced with a new Rolex from government stores. Recent speculation is that since Fleming wore a 1016 Explorer on a riveted oyster bracelet that this was the Bond watch. I’m thinking that Bond went through at least 3 Rolex watches, assuming he got one to replace the one shot off his wrist to replace the one taken off Red Grants body and described in Thunderball. 1016 Explorers were not being made in 1953 when the first novel was written and the Explorer model 6350 was barely out and I don’t think Bond would have had a brand new watch, but WW2 soldiers were wearing Rolex Oyster Perpetual and manual wind watches then that although considered small now (32-34mm) were more robust compared to the square Elgins, Hamiltons etc. being worn then. Also it can be telling that his watched stopped in Dr No which could indicate a simple manual wind or an older perpetual that did not wind as efficiently as newer 1030 or 1500 movements did. I am thinking that what Bond ended up with on his wrist in 1963 OHMSS was a 1016 and the earlier watches could have been earlier Explorer’s or even plain manual wind Oyster or a bubble back. Tracking Bonds Rolex ownership through the novels does not need to make sense, who could know how carefully Ian Fleming was keeping track. This reminds me of the Bullitt movie car chase scenes in San Francisco not making sense either as they are all over the city.

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