New Museum Display - "What Makes a Wristwatch Collectible"

Gene Klodzen

NAWCC Member
Aug 24, 2000
Springfield, Virginia
COLUMBIA, PA: Just in time for the holiday season, the National Watch & Clock Museum has added an ongoing display in its Wristwatch Gallery that features four timepieces with special historic significance to stimulate discussion among visitors.

What makes one watch more valuable than another?
How important is provenance?
Who gets to say whether a wristwatch is “collectible”? Why?

Titled James Bond Originals, this exhibit includes the actual Breitling for Bentley Chronograph that author Jeffery Deaver wore during his launch tour for his novel Carte Blanche in 2011. In that book Deaver describes his fictional Agent 007 wearing this same real-world wristwatch while working undercover.

Along with his watch James Bond Originals shows a first edition, first printing of Carte Blanche hand-signed by the author. Additional autographs were obtained from the first and current Bond movie actors. Daniel Craig hand-signed an Omega marketing piece promoting the Seamaster Planet Ocean in Quantum of Solace. Sir Sean Connery personally signed a photograph taken during the filming of Dr. No where he is shown holding the Rolex Submariner on a leather strap.

James Bond Originals is curated by Ian Fleming and James Bond watch expert Dell Deaton, of, the foremost independent authority on these subjects. He is perhaps best known internationally for his discovery of the original literary James Bond watch, an actual Rolex 1016 Explorer that was owned and worn by 007 creator Ian Fleming. That original timepiece was exhibited for five years at the National Watch & Clock Museum.

The James Bond Originals Rolex has an intact radium dial and was first shown alongside Fleming’s watch in 2010 and 2011. In fact, its serial number dates production of this wristwatch to the very same lot as the Fleming-Bond watch; the two were likely produced within hours of one another.

James Bond Originals joins our ongoing quartz-Bond watches gallery at the Museum,” Dell Deaton begins. The two exhibits now bookend the separate, dedicated Wristwatch Gallery on the main floor of the Museum.

Deaton continues, “A key distinction between the two Bond exhibits is that James Bond Wore the Quartz Revolution answers a broad range of detailed questions and explains a very important piece of horological history that doesn’t get the attention it deserves and is often grossly mischaracterized. James Bond Originals has been designed to ask—rather than answer—questions.”

Museum Director Noel Poirier describes the new placement as a strategic decision. “This space is literally positioned as one of the last areas through which visitors pass as they go through the 18,000 square foot National Watch & Clock Museum. By this point they’ve been presented with literally thousands of examples from history.”

Poirier added, “This display allows us to use James Bond as a backdrop in service to our broader Museum mission—to educate. We think that James Bond engages people to answer the serious question implied by this display: Which of these watches do you think are most collectible and why? That question may even stick with them as a takeaway from their visit."

The Casino Royale Limited Edition by Omega in this display can help highlight questions about collectors’ series pieces in general. It further invites comparison to mainstream counterparts in long-term value.

The Gruen Precision next to it was an easily forgettable model until first identified by Dell Deaton in 2013 as the earliest James Bond movie watch. It is visible when Agent 007 meets Sylvia Trench in Dr. No and appears in three subsequent films as James Bond’s choice. Since initially being displayed at the National Watch & Clock Museum from 2013 to 2015, on screen-correct one-piece woven strap, it sells for up to 50 times what it commanded before its Bond connection was known.

“We think Dell’s involvement here sends a powerful message in terms of the continuing relevance of the museum experience for visitors,” Poirier says. “As Jeffery Deaver wrote here, Dell is ‘the James Bond watch guy.’ Having established that through, his exhibits say ‘the Internet isn’t enough. If you want to truly understand watches, you need to see them in person, in a real place, in the sort of larger context we have assembled here.’ We agree.”

James Bond Originals also bookends an important milestone for the Museum itself. This is the last new display to open before the National Watch & Clock Museum celebrated its 40th anniversary on November 29, 2017.

The National Watch and Clock Museum is operated by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) association with over 13,000 members, representing 52 countries. April through November the Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. December through March hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. From Memorial Day through Labor Day the Museum is also open on Mondays. Discounts are available to seniors, students, AAA members, and groups of 10 or more. Groups of 10 or more are encouraged to call ahead. For more program information, directions, or general Museum information, call 717.684.8261 or visit our website at

Kim Craven
NAWCC Marketing and Events Coordinator

p: 717.684.8261 Ext.231

Forum statistics

Latest member
Encyclopedia Pages
Total wiki contributions
Last edit
Illinois Watch Company by Kent