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Thunderball Watch

23rd June 2013

The first watch ever modified by Q-Branch, as used by 007 in 'Thunderball', is to go up for auction this month

MI6 logo By MI6 Staff
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The first ever specially modified watch issued by 'Q' branch to James Bond, the timepiece was equipped with a 'Geiger-counter' to detect radiation. Equipping Bond 'in the field' in Nassau for his mission to find two NATO atomic bombs stolen by SPECTRE, Q explains here we have a Geiger counter, useful and unobstructive, the sweep hand takes the radioactive count, it's waterproof of course, to which Bond sarcastically responds, but of course. Besides the Rolex Submariner, the Breitling Top Time is the only other model of watch that Sean Connery wears as James Bond.

Bond is seen wearing the watch during various scenes in 'Thunderball', using it to search for the location of the atomic bombs stolen by SPECTRE under the direction of their 'No. 2' Emilio Largo. He first uses it during a nightime underwater dive beneath Largo's boat, the Disco Volante, to check if the bombs are hidden on board. He later checks the watch for a radioactive count at Palmyra, Largo's Nassau estate, and again when he sneaks on to the Disco Volante disguised as one of Largo's henchmen.

The Bond art department commissioned Valley Tool Company to create a bespoke underwater 'Geiger counter' case with glazed bezel for the Breitling timepiece. There was only one of these watches made for the film, making this particular Bond gadget totally unique. Lost since filming, this watch has only recently been rediscovered.

One of the exceedingly rare timepieces modified to be used in a film, and the first ever modified by 'Q' branch in any Bond film, the present lot must be considered a rare and unique trophy for the Bond collector and the watch aficionado alike.

After it was bought for just £25 at a car boot sale in England a couple of years ago, the watch will be auctioned by Christies as Lot 49 in the 'Pop Culture' event on June 26th 2013 in London. It's estimated sale price is £40,000 – £60,000.

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