From the first theatric release — Dr. No. in 1962 — novelist Ian Fleming’s legendary character has captivated audiences around the world. Live and Let Die, the 25th installment of the Bond franchise, continues the interest, as well as marking the fifth and final appearance of Daniel Craig in the lead role. While Craig’s James Bond may have brought new facets of the character to light, each of its leading men have left their mark, influencing generations of men. It’s logical, therefore, that men would try to emulate the menswear styles the uber-rich sported across exotic destinations around the world, and this explains the hallowed nature of a Bond product placement.
James Bond Partnerships for Menswear
N. Peal 007 Ribbed Army Sweater
I’m smoking in a cigar bar outside of Huntsville, Ala. Between my teeth, a Montecristo, the same brand Roger Moore’s James Bond puffed in Live and Let Die, circa 1973, and later Die Another Day, with Pierce Brosnan, in 2002. Over my legs are a pair of the new N.Peal cotton No Time to Die. Up top, N.Peal’s wool-and-cashmere , appearing in the same. Granted, I’m dressed as a poor stand-in for an MI6 spy — there’s no hidden pistol on my person, and there’s not a woman in sight. But there’s a reason for all this Bond branding: The latest flick, more than a year delayed, will be released October 8, and in advance, a slew of James Bond tie-in merchandising. It’s everywhere, and for the right price, you can own a piece of it., a military-inspired bottom that Daniel Craig’s Bond will wear in the upcoming
N. Peal 007 Combat Trousers
N.Peal, an English cashmere company founded in 1936, is, relatively speaking, one of the younger brands that have, in the latest film, secured a Bond partnership. Its Combat Trousers and Army Sweater were designed with Die costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb, channeling the military influence of the character and the rugged demands of a mission. What mission that is, or where the pieces will find themselves, is hard to say — few have seen No Time to Die, and that includes myself. But N.Peal’s inclusion illustrates a point: With a Bond tie-in, you purchase not only the name, but a place in the film, and with a two-hour, 43-minute runtime, one can understand how so many companies are able to secure a piece of a single movie.
Billy Read Bond Peacoat
Even Americans are getting a piece of the classic British franchise. Menswear designer Billy Reid, as American as apple pie, released its Bond Peacoat on September 30. The company says the product’s name comes from the Bond Street brick-and-mortar store — yeah, sure. Craig’s Bond can be seen wearing the outerwear piece in various stills from the film. It has merits of its own: Melton wool, trimmed with calfskin, and finished with horn buttons. “This piece will last long after we’ve bid Daniel Craig adieu,” the company writes, and we don’t doubt it. But the Bond angle is what the company leads with, and it’s the angle most men will use as justification for their purchase over the next month.
Seamaster Diver 300m 007 Edition
Even companies with established brands and significant histories still find Bond associations lucrative. Omega, a Swiss watch company that graces the wrists of Olympians and yacht racers while holding the distinction of the first timepiece worn on the Moon, isn’t above securing a bit of the Bond mystique — it’s been the British spy’s timepiece of choice since 1995. For 2021, Omega’s new Seamaster Diver 300m 007 Edition is the model of choice, but each film during its contractual era has elicited a unique timepiece in commemoration.
Leica’s ‘007 Edition’ camera
German luxury camera company Leica is the latest heritage maker to join the Bond ranks. While the company holds the distinction of popularizing the 35mm film format (essentially the bedrock upon which modern photography is built), at least one of a 250-piece “007 Edition” of its Q2 digital camera, which features a gun-barrel lens cap, is seen in the background of a shot during the film. It was also the camera of choice for on-set production stills, and images shot by producer Michael G. Wilson, Daniel Craig, and photographers Greg Williams and Nicola Dove have been on exhibit in Los Angeles since Sept. 8.
Even consumables are scrambling for a piece of the action. Champagne Bollinger, established in 1829, is feeling the Bond Fever with its Limited Edition Special Cuvée, which features a special-edition bottle with design elements that suggest Bond’s famous Aston Martin DB5. Heineken also has locked down a relationship, becoming the unofficial beer sponsor of English political intrigue, and it’s appeared in the series’ films since 1997. If you’ve watched a sporting event or YouTube video over the last month, you’ve likely seen Craig appearing in commercials with the company’s Heineken 0.0, a non-alcoholic version of its beer developed for spies and the everymen who must keep their wits about them.
And on the subject of cars: While British carmaker Aston Martin hasn’t released a limited-edition tie-in, it did emphasize its importance to the franchise with the DB5 on display in Central London replete in action figure-like packaging. Land Rover has announced its special-edition Defender Bond Edition, which features a rocket-ship V8 engine and gloss-black 22-inch wheels, along with a special “Defender 007” rear badge. Like all special editions, its production run is throttled to 300.
Granted, with many of these products, be it an Aston Martin or Land Rover, a special-edition Leica Q2 or an Omega watch, these prices place them all but out of reach. But Champagne? A peacoat? Hell, even a few alcohol-free Heinekens? Many others are accessible, even affordable. And, if 60 years has proven anything, we’ll probably buy them, whether two weeks or two years from now, just because of the association. Because James Bond is more than Craig or Brosnan or Sean Connery or the rest. James Bond is an idea, an environment, and, yes, a few well-placed pieces that elicit a feeling when you include them. And that feeling is available for a small fee.