In most of the recent Daniel Craig Bond films, and practically all of the Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan ones, 007's watch has been a key part of his arsenal. And by that I mean both his style arsenal and his literal, actual arsenal, since his timepieces have incorporated everything from a bomb to an EMP device to a powerful magnet to, erm, grappling hooks to – let me check my notes here – ah yes… a fax machine.
I was a big Bond fan as a boy, and then got back into it when Craig arrived and the films became not crap again, after years of elderly, blouson-jacket clad Roger Moore, inconsequential Timothy Dalton and smug, overblown Pierce Brosnan. I also love nice watches. I don't love them as much as T3's resident chronograph nuts Spencer Hart and Alistair Chorlton, who both love watches with a burning, carnal intensity… but I like a nice watch.
So anyway, around 2019, I made one of those impulse shopping decisions that we all used to make when we had money, and decided to buy James Bond's watch. Or at least as near as I could get to it without buying his actual watch – that's the one in the image above – which would have been rather more costly. At the time, the most recent Bond flick was SPECTRE and frankly, 007's exploding Seamaster 300 co-axial was pretty much the best thing about that film, apart from M's joke about what his rival C's initial 'stands for' – no, not that; it stood for 'careless'.
Little did I know that whereas 007's Omega could stand up to anything short of being literally exploded, mine was to prove rather less enduring.
Like any good secret agent, I use a powerful laptop – a MacBook pro from about 2020 – issued to me by the top-secret organisation I work for, code-named, 'the IT department of Future Publishing PLC'.
Now the Pro is an excellent machine; powerful enough for me to type top, educational content such as this on it, and publish it to the entire internet. One of its most distinctive features is that it is entirely cased in aluminium – or 'aluminum' if you are American. This malleable and elegant metal makes a rather nice compliment to the hard, glittering steel of my posh James Bond watch, in fact.
However there is a terrible secret that nobody tells you about MacBooks and watches with steel bracelets. The first few times I typed on my bouji laptop while wearing my spendy Omega watch, I found that the two metals made a rather unpleasant noise when they came into contact, and that the sensation was not as luxe and premo as I really would have hoped. After that, I quite often – but not always – took my watch off to work, and tried to keep my wrist arched away from the touchpad and casing of the Pro.
To be fair, that is how you are meant to type anyway; otherwise you get carpal tunnel syndrome and RSI, so I am told. Well, I have never suffered from either of those things but one thing sure as hell was suffering.
Unless you are a fetishist, you probably stop noticing your watch after a while, even if it's a really nice one, like mine is. But you can't ignore it forever. One day, I took a proper look at the clasp of mine and I was absolutely horrified at what I saw.
Okay, this is not the greatest watch photography of all time but you get the gist.
So basically, the MacBook Pro has ground a huge number of scratches into the formerly pristine surface of the clasp of my watch's bracelet. As a professional metallurgist, I know that aluminium is much softer than steel, but apparently that doesn't prevent it from scratching and marking steel with merry abandon.
Apple is sometimes criticised for the rather uncompromising nature of some of its design choices. While I don't think they should use a different surface for their laptops, I do think they should issue a warning to watch users to take off any watch with a bracelet when using one. Similarly, while Omega provides a number of care instructions with its watches, nowhere does it say, 'Not recommended for use with a MacBook Pro, as it will absolutely f**k it up.'
This seems like a shortcoming to me.
Now, my choice is to either pay Omega or a third party a very large sum of money to polish out all that scratching and besmirchment, or to live with it. Given the current financial situation, I am going with the second option, although I may give it a bit of a buff with Brasso. My advice to you? If you have a steel watch on a bracelet, take it off if you use a metal bodied laptop. There are some things even James Bond can't save you from.
- Buy Omega Seamaster 300 41mm co-axial with black dial at Goldsmiths (opens in new tab)