Here is a controversial title. Or maybe I should be focusing on the real issue surrounding the James Bond next instalment, should 007 be a black actor? Rumor has it that the possible winner could be the Bridgerton breakthrough actor René Jean who if you ask me or science is not black but mixed race. I would go as far as to write that I will be OK with an actor who has 25% black genes but somehow visually looks more like James Bond, the fictional character written by Ian Fleming.
I am one of those people who believes maybe naively that when possible we should stick to the script. I would not want Phoebe Buffay being Black and I would not want Nina Simone being mixed race or very very light skinned à la Stephen Curry. Oops! Hollywood!
But I am digressing - am I ?
I am writing my opinions on a piece of metal that “should” be worn by a fictional character.
I grew up in Burundi where we did not have a proper theatre at the time of my upbringing and in lieu of one and I believe to be the case in most African countries, we managed to find a solution by bringing entertainment at home via Multichoice / DSTV; a South African satellite company that brought joy aka news, music, movies, documentaries overall proper general knowledge in the homes of those who could afford it. M-Net, Canal + brought the crème de la crème in terms of movies in both English and French and it is through those two channels that not only I learned to speak English but also enjoyed movies. Unbestokwn to me that I was learning a thing or two about culture and discovering the world.
Enter the James Bond era in 1995 — Pierce Brosnan to be precise.
Can I say that I remember the movie because of the theme song ‘Golden Eye’ with Tina Turner or is it because it was my first encounter with a world of spies? For those wondering about Tina Turner, it is because at the time (I would not know now) she was controversial for wearing short skirts and really high heels ; it used to be shocking! Emphasis on ‘used’?
Anyway, Golden Eye then came Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and the one and only Die Another Day in 2002; a movie I believe I could still highlight the brands worn by Halle Berry’s character Jinx Johnson or the Sony Ericsson and so on and so forth.
Although at seven, I had not yet read Ian Fleming’s book; later on I learnt something about characters ; when turned into movies, they tend to lose their soul. Marketing at its best!
James Bond used to drive a BMW even though he is a MI6 agent.
It is in this regard that I would like to bring my choice for the next James Bond instalment — whoever will be cast should wear a Rolex — let me push it further a Rolex Daytona and an Explorer.
Why a Daytona : For those in the watch world associate the series with speed and power. The design of the watches speaks for itself.
Worn by a plethora of celebrities and watch enthusiasts before, a Daytona brings relevance to the movie. Daytona brings a sense of masculinity that is associated with 007 ; the watch looks indestructible just like the character.
Daytona reminds me of the Formula 1 I used to watch early in the morning on Canal + Horizon and I genuinely thought that watches and cars were the coolest things in the world. I kind of still think that way but with measure.
Why an Explorer : more precisely an Explorer II — my first encounter with the watch like many great watches I was introduced to was via a magazine The Economist. While at the time I had no understanding of what was written in there (sometimes still lost), I do remember two things — lots of cartoons of John Major and beautiful ads inside and on the fourth cover (on this one, I mostly remember the Pateks).
With the Explorer II came this idea like many of us that it will be cool to climb the Everest (I know I was young and impressionable) and now that I have been living in Lyon in the French Alps region, I have been hiking and the idea of climbing the Mont Blanc does not seem so far fetched. I am not there yet though.
Let me try this — if this is a watch was worn by Prince Harry, a grandson of HM The Queen of the United Kingdom (Commonwealth, I am including you too); I believe it is a great fit for the job of a spy.
I know Prince William is wearing an Omega Seamaster Diver 300m. Stay with me, I am making the case for Rolex.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trashing the work done by Omega with James Bond.
Surprisingly, I loved a collaboration with Swatch that’s owned by the Omega Group; a watch worn by Q (played by Ben Whishaw).
If all goes well, in 2021; finally we will able to watch the upcoming No Time To Die directed by the fashion savvy Cary Joji Fukunaga and co-written with Phoebe Waller-Bridge ; this is a long anticipated movie and the last time (?) we will see Daniel Craig portraying the MI6 agent. However, the pandemic did not alter Amazon’s ambition to acquire MGM for 8.6 B (worth every (Money)penny if you ask me (I should be a comedian) and from now on, only speculations until we see the next one maybe in two to three years.
Here is an excerpt from my favorite James Bond, Casino Royale (2006) that still gives me hope that a change is coming.
Vesper Lynd : (…) Since the MI6 looks for maladjusted young men that give little thought about sacrificing others in order to protect Queen and country. You know, former SAS type with easy smiles and expensive watches … Rolex?
James Bond : Omega
Vesper Lynd: Beautiful
Although, I am one of those who take some time adjusting to change; I really hope that owners and writers will have the space to write great stories without fear of hurting people’s feelings. Ian Fleming published his work in 1953; time have changed for sure but the soul of the character did not.
May I add, his skin color too.
P.S. This article is not sponsored by Rolex or Amazon (at least not yet)