Like watches, cars, and women, James Bond’s designs and gadgets remain a vital part of the franchise’s overall success. It’s a tradition that hops right out of Ian Fleming’s original novels and onto the big screen, one stall at a time. Even the first film—aka “Dr No”—Bond calls for a special Geiger counter from the British secret service.
With No Time To Die delayed, we wanted to spend the time-hopping back to classic James Bond movies by concentrating on his best devices.
It’s an integral part of the James Bond screen experience – the cold, a sometimes deadly tech that lets Her Majesty’s secret servant save the world. Here’s our list of the most remarkable things in the spy toy box.
Now, please pay attention, 007…
Defibrillator in Casino Royale (2006)
Poisoned and battling for his life, Bond, now played by Daniel Craig, runs to his trustworthy Aston to use the built-in defibrillator hidden in the glove box. It’s precisely what any car wants.
Daniel Craig rookie Bond was pretty much dispensing with back-to-back ideas to reboot Casino Royale. Bond stumbles across his car, lethally shaken, not stirred, and uses the device to jump-start his heart. For once, a part of the MI6 technology is a medical emergency solution, not a source of one.
X-ray Sunglasses in The World Is Not Enough (1999)
As James Bond drops a pair of these polarising sunglasses, he’s given the power of x-ray vision. Keeping it purely business, he uses them to search for secret weapons. It turns out like ladies carrying guns in their panties. A scene that will doubtless not fly in today’s setting, if just for Brosnan’s scarcely veiled schoolboy smirk.
In fact, these are the second set of x-ray glasses to feature in the franchise. However, Roger Moore used a similar invention to peek through a tinted glass in ‘A View to a Kill’ in 1985.
Exploding Pen in GoldenEye (1995)
Pierce Brosnan is equipped with this apparently harmless Parker for his debut mission. In fact, it contains a class four grenade – enough to rouse Pierce’s hairstyle. It’s armed by tapping on the pen three times in short succession. Three more short clicks disarm the pistol. By the rules of film irony, it falls into the paws of the compulsive pen-clicker Alan Cumming, bringing us one of the most exciting film scenes involving the writing of implements.
Wrist Gun in Moonraker (1979)
Q Branch is equipping Bond with this wrist-mounted dart rifle. It comes complete with five blue-tipped armour-piercing darts and five red-tipped cyanide darts capable of destroying in 30 seconds. The firing mechanism is triggered by nerve impulses from the wrist muscles, which would undoubtedly be a structural error if Bond had ever been introduced to us as a lonely figure. The pistol delivers a single-handed terminal to the villain Hugo Drax.
Hidden from sight, as long as you wear a shirt and tie, this wrist dart gun proves the hero of the day when Bond needs to avoid the centrifuge.
Golden Gun in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Once in a while, the villain has the smartest bit of gimmickry in the film. Master assassin Francisco Scaramanga constructs his custom-built, gold-plated 4.2 calibre gun from an innovative set of parts: the handle is concealed as a cigarette case, the bullets chamber a lighter, the muzzle a fountain pen, the trigger a cuff-link. His iconic golden shot – the only one he wants, including his professional marksmanship – is tucked into his belt buckle. You think Bond has a bad case of gadget envy.
The Rolex Watch in Live And Let Die (1973)
This Rolex Submariner 5513 is a gadget of affection on its own. Q’s innovative changes make it even more of an idealistic chronograph. The watch creates a magnetic field allowing to deflect a long-range bullet – and more intimately, unzipping a dress in a clinch (“Sheer magnetism, darling,” purrs the immortal lounge lizard Roger Moore. This was the ’70s). A small buzz-saw was built into the bezel, allowing 007 to break off its bonds and avoid impending shark-shaped death.
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Deadly Briefcase in Love from Russia (1963)
If you’re a 00 agent, you receive a genuinely iconic briefcase containing a.22 calibre protection rifle with an infrared telescope and retractable suppressor, ammo, 50 gold sovereigns, and a spring-loaded throwing knife. Yeah, and let’s not ignore the tear gas cartridge that unlocks immediately when the briefcase is opened by someone but its user. How are we going to sign up?
Explosive toothpaste in The License to Kill (1989)
What looks similar to a tube of regular Dentonite toothpaste is really a potent explosive. Because with how much alcohol Bond consumes, he’s fortunate he didn’t brush his teeth with this kind of thing by mistake. Speaking of stuff that could go horribly wrong when drinking, the detonator was disguised as a pack of cigarettes. That’s going to fix all dental problems with a bang.
Seiko TV Watch in Octopussy (1983)
With this innovation, James Bond ultimately gets access to the prototype of a smartwatch. Apps include a homing system tracker and live video stream, synchronizing to the Q Branch security cameras.
It might seem odd given the evolution of smartwatches and gadgets like Apple Watch and Wear OS. However, we still don’t use them to broadcast live media content as Bond did in Octopussy.