Roger Moore was my James Bond – he was Bond when I was old enough to start watching the movies and, The Spy Who Loved Me through to A View to a Kill, the debonair (and often safari-suit-wearing) Roger Moore cut a fine figure as the archetypal British spy.
While the watches worn by all the James Bonds have been studied and enthusiastically collected by Bond fans since the beginning, there is a smaller number of James Bond-themed watches that are equally sought-after.
And this is one of them! The 1981 Zeon For Your Eyes Only melody watch.
I don’t know if this was ever sold in shops, or if it was mail-order only :
for the not-insignificant price of £16.95. According to the 1981 Argos catalogue, you could by a Casio C-80 calculator watch for £15.95 or a CA-90 for £19.95, so 17 quid for a kid’s watch was still a decent wadge of cash.
And what did you get for your money?
Time (12-hour AM/PM only), day/date/month, chronograph, light, and a daily alarm – but what an alarm!
Pressing the two top buttons, or when the alarm sounded, you (and everyone around you for a considerable distance) were treated to no less than a minute and 45 seconds of the famous James Bond theme (not the wonderful Sheena Easton ‘For Your Eyes Only’ theme tune, but the famous and well-recognised original Bond theme).
That’s a long alarm. Most watches with a daily alarm would play for, maybe 30 seconds, and occasionally a melody alarm watch could stretch to a minute, but this was something else.
I imagine this going off in a school assembly would not have gone down well with cane-happy teachers of the 1980s! These are very uncommon today, so I rather suspect that most of them ended up confiscated or damaged beyond repair by their intended audience of early teens.
This one was in pretty rugged condition when I got it – here’s the photo from the auction:
Naturally it didn’t work at all, the insides were as rough as the outsides, and the plastic case holding all the electronics had cracked and become super-brittle.
It needed some circuitboard work, but eventually it sparked into life – yay!
I was in two minds about restoring the case (still am) – some watches I like to bring back to near-new condition if possible, but others that have been well-loved, are better to retain their original patina so I haven’t done much to this one. If I find a nice case once day I might move the module to it, but I kind of like the knocks and scrapes this watch has had. Most 40-year-olds have a few signs of wear, and this watch is no exception.
So for now at least I’ll enjoy its imperfect perfection. It’s fully-working now, and has its original caseback and bracelet.