Breitling’s Bond Watch from 'Thunderball' Is Back and Better Than Ever

Courtesy Breitling

The name’s Time. Top Time.

As any Breitling aficionado will recognize, Top Time is a title with historical significance. Not only has it made recurring cameos in the brand’s portfolio since its debut in 1964, it’s also accounted for within the esteemed roster of Bond watches. Sean Connery wore the watch in 1965s Thunderball, making it an instant icon. (In 2013, in fact, 007’s original was sold at a Christie’s auction for approximately $127,000, after being purchased at a car boot sale for about $30.) 

Released during the burgeoning youth movement of the 60s, Top Time was created with a spirit of freedom and vitality in mind. A stray from the more utilitarian, technical chronographs of the past, this style spoke to the post-war, approaching-Baby Boomer generation looking to make their first timepiece investment. “We are sweeping into the field of youth and we are going to speak their language,” said the brand’s leader, Willy Breitling, at the time. “Our special models are particularly suited to the needs of young professionals. We are designing a superb range of ultra-modern chronographs, led by a completely new model, the Top Time.” Surprisingly, men and women alike were drawn to this classic style.


Deborah Loth/Courtesy Breitling

Now, Breitling is releasing a modern Top Time as a limited edition (without the Geiger counter). Like the original, the latest Top Time maintains one of the most recognizable dials in all of watchmaking, often referred to as the “Zorro” dial (an affectionate name given by vintage watch collectors referencing the disguise worn by the famous novel character). The idea was to make the dial more legible, although the monochrome face with bright red accents is, in reality, more attractive than anything. The retro look is topped off with a brown nubuck leather strap. 

As for its specs, the updated Top Time showcases a 41 mm stainless-steel case that harbors a Breitling COSC-certified Caliber 23 chronograph movement. It’s important to note Breitling’s decision to use an outsourced power unit for the Top Time was to make it more accessible to the younger market, compared to higher tariff, in-house movement watches.


Courtesy Breitling

And even more, this watch will be Breitling’s first watch with a blockchain-based digital passport, which, according to the brand, “confirms the authenticity and ownership of the watch with a single click,” and can “transfer ownership with a simple blockchain transaction.”

The limited edition of only 2,000 pieces is now available at Breitling.com for $4,990.