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In the early Bond movies, the most famous British MI6 secret agent in the world, James Bond, was known in watch circles for his affinity towards Rolex Submariners.  However, most recent Bond iterations have favored Omega.  But there were many (many) Bond movies in between these two signposts – and of course, many (many) different Bond watches – to include Seiko (of course) and the serviced Tissot PR-516 automatic, with Bakelite bezel, on a vintage Tissot bracelet here. 


The PR-516 first appeared in Tissot catalogs in 1968, and could have debuted in 1965, and there were to be many (many) eventual variants before it ceased production.  Needless to say, the Tissot PR 516 as a Bond watch is decidedly not a well-known thing, or even really written about.


In 1973, “Live and Let Die” was the eighth James Bond film and the first to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent – in this film, a horological mystery presents itself.  Moore begins the film – it being the 1970s and the Quartz Revolution in full effect – wearing a Hamilton Pulsar P2, subsequently replaced by Q with a Rolex 5513 Submariner with the legendary razor-edge bezel that worked as a chainsaw, among other gadgets. 


But then, in the middle of Live and Let Die, Moore appears – sans explanation – during an extraordinary speedboat chase wearing…a Tissot Visodate Automatic PR-516, the MK1 version of the series with a Bakelite bezel.


Why?  Some theories hold the Tissot was Moore's personal watch, with others the Rolex Submariner had not been ready in time for the shoot.  Regardless, why did the Tissot go unnoticed for so long by the diligent watch community and its penchant for dogged research?


Per Fratello, “most people only connect the Live and Let Die movie to the Submariner, due to the way the watches are presented.  The Submariner gets a lot of attention and some dedicated screen time.  And by a lot I mean, a lot.  Today’s product placement agencies would be green with envy if they saw the detailed shots of the Submariner.” 


Meanwhile, the Tissot “never got a clear detailed still shot.  But if you compare their screen time, my wild estimate is the Tissot PR-516 had comparable exposure to the Rolex Submariner.  The airport, boarding the train at the end, and obviously, the epic boat chase.  These are all scenes in which you can see the Tissot PR-516 quite clearly.”


To us, this would suggest the Tissot was Moore’s personal watch, with some sources hinting (but fail to provide) pictures of him wearing the watch in 1975, well after the movie debuted.  Does this matter?  Not really – it’s still a Bond watch.

This Tissot comes on a Tissot bracelet, and with nylon strap, rugged travel case, and springbar tool.

Early 1970s Tissot PR-516 "James Bond" Automatic Watch, w/Tissot Bracelet

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  • DIAL: Colorful Tissot-signed dial, which reflects as a dark teal, green, or  deep, glossy bluish-green depending on angle, with matching baton hands and an atypical bright orange seconds hand.  Dial has a subtle patina, and the lume has aged with a uniform patina. 


    CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 39mm x 43mm, with drilled lugs and a matching hexagon caseback.  Bakalite bezel insert evinces little  wear, uncommon with these, and it rotates (and shines) as designed.  Thankfully, Tissot designed the bezel insert in this particular model to nest quite deep in the case, rendering it well-protected.


    CRYSTAL: Intact crystal, with several small scratches (no cracks).


    BAND: Vintage stainless-steel Tissot bracelet, which will fit up to an approx. eight inch wrist; this Tissot also comes with a dark blue, orange, and white nylon strap.


    MOVEMENT: Tissot & Fils Calibre 786-4  automatic mechanical movement.  We have performed a full service on this Tissot Bond.


    CROWN: Tissot "T"-signed stainless-steel crown.

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