COLUMBIA, PA: For over 50 years, James Bond fans have had the need to know what watch Agent 007 wears. Fans fantasize: They are James Bond when wearing his watch.
Vintage Rolex watches — similar to the Sean Connery Submariner in Dr. No, the George Lazenby pre-Daytona chronograph in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and the Rolex Explorer worn by the literary Bond and author Ian Fleming — can be restored today to their original performance standards.
Bob Ridley of Watchmakers International gives a new lease on life to even the oldest (and most desirable) James Bond Rolex models, including those originally worn in the earliest Eon Productions films. Watchmakers International has also signed on as exclusive sponsor for display of Ian Fleming’s personal Rolex 1016 Explorer throughout the upcoming National Watch & Clock Museum exhibit, “Bond Watches, James Bond Watches,” June 18, 2010, through April 30, 2011.
“These watches were meant to be worn,” says Ridley. “My team makes that possible.”
This is particularly important to Bond watch owners. “When I approached Bob with my own 1016 Explorer, my hope was that he could take it to a point where I could wear it on special occasions without a lot of worry,” recalls Dell Deaton, guest curator of the James Bond Watches exhibit. “Bob said he could bring it back to a standard where I could wear it every day, the way it was designed to be worn.”
“If you think about the 6538 Submariner that fans associate with the movie Goldfinger,” Ridley adds, “these Rolex watches are increasingly hard to find in any condition. Proper functional restoration often begins by addressing neglect, water damage, and quite frequently the need to back-out previous misdirected repair issues. With that, we almost always have to source Rolex parts or fabricate corrections based on a watch that even the most experienced Rolex researchers haven’t seen more than a handful of times in an entire career.
“By focusing only on the Rolex brand, we’ve developed that necessary familiarity. We’ve also earned a respectable interface with Rolex technical support departments, with which we exchange information.”
At the same time, Watchmakers International brings a true collector’s eye to restorations — balancing desired performance against a commitment to retain investment value. “The dial on my 1016 Explorer is cracking,” Dell Deaton notes. “But replacement and even refinishing are out of the question: My Rolex is just like what Ian Fleming saw on his wrist when he wrote that ‘Bond glanced at his watch’ in the final pages of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. That’s what I will still want to see after any work on it is done.”
“I gave Dell a number of proprietary options we’ve come up with for arresting the deterioration without any visual change to aesthetics,” Bob Ridley explains. “These are things we have done for Watchmakers International clients that we’ve served for many, many years; the proof of longevity is reconfirmed upon intake inspection each time one of these watches comes back now for routine maintenance.”
“The addition of Bob Ridley, personally, and Watchmakers International, as a sponsor, raises an already high bar on what we expect this exhibit to deliver,” says Noel Poirier, director of the National Watch & Clock Museum. “As an international association and repository for horology, our Museum and this exhibit can both show a great range of Bond-affiliated wristwatches, and then go beyond that to provide a great depth of understanding about how many of them functioned then and now, their design evolution paths, and, in particular to the Ian Fleming Rolex 1016 Explorer and related pieces, what their present condition tells them about their service to wearers as timekeepers.
“Watchmakers International is the ideal sponsor for the Ian Fleming Rolex as part of our ‘Bond Watches, James Bond Watches’ exhibit. We’re truly honored to have them be a part of this.”
Watchmakers International is the exclusive sponsor for bringing the original Ian Fleming Rolex Explorerer 1016 to the entire run of this year-long exhibit. With over 30 years experience in fine wristwatch work, certified horologist Bob Ridley offers a unique balance of technical skill, resources, and an understanding of value-aesthetics to the sole of his business: Vintage Rolex restoration. See www.watchmakers.com for more information.
Dell Deaton is guest curator of this “Bond Watches, James Bond Watches” exhibition and author-creator of www.jamesbondwatches.com. He is a member of both the National Watch & Clock Association and American Marketing Association, and an internationally recognized expert on Ian Fleming and James Bond horology.
“Bond Watches, James Bond Watches” will be unveiled at the NAWCC Annual Convention on June 17, 2010, and runs June 18, 2010, through April 30, 2011, in Columbia, PA.
The National Watch and Clock Museum is operated by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) association close to 20,000 members, representing 52 countries. April through November the Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. December through March hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Discounts are available to seniors, students, AAA members, and groups of 10 or more. Groups of 10 or more are encouraged to call ahead. For more program information, directions, or general Museum information, call 717-684-8261 or visit our website at www.nawcc.org.