I read an article recently that a former MI5 agent had placed a special edition watch on ebay for which the bidding had reached £3500 before the item was removed. Apparently the watches had been commissioned by the agency to celebrate their centenary in 2009 and each ‘staff member’ was given the opportunity to acquire one for £1000 each. The watch, made by Breitling, was a version of its SuperOcean Steelfish and was marked with the motto of the service ‘defend the realm’.
I’m reminded of the famous scene from the James Bond film ‘Goldfinger’ where our hero takes on and beats the villain in a game of golf. Bond was the creation of Ian Fleming, a member of Royal St. Georges and the scene was filmed at Stoke Park. Sean Connery, who played Bond at the time, was so inspired by having to learn to play golf to film the scene that he took it up and it became an important part of his life. I played in the group behind him at Los Naranjos near Marbella once – he seemed to be able to strike a good ball whilst playing at a good pace. ‘Bond’ wore a Rolex Submariner in Goldfinger and has since had Seiko Digital watches and now sports an Omega Seamaster. Despite his golfing prowess displayed in ‘Goldfinger’ we have yet to see 007 wearing a watch themed on golf.
Now I know that there are many different functions of watches which associate the wearer with some sport, club or hobby. The function often takes the form of a rotatable bezel on a circular watch case. Those with Tachometric scales can give an indication of speed and are often associated with Formula 1 or Aviation and are promoted under evocative names to closet petrol heads and adrenalin junkies. Watches with time elapsed bezels’ often associated with ‘diving’ and indicate how much dive time has elapsed since you went below and are promoted with names like ‘Submariner’ or ‘Diver’. You can be or pretend to be a ‘Yachtmaster’, a ‘Seamaster’ and if Hornby is your thing a ‘Trainmaster ‘ too. You can be a ‘Sky Dweller’, an ‘Astronomer’ or even a ‘Spacemaster’. It would seem there are no bounds to what the watch can say about you, unless of course you want to be recognised as a ‘golfer’ where there seems to be no credible and affordable option for those who want a ‘proper’ golf timepiece. Sure you can buy a whole host of GPS models that are worn on the wrist as ‘golf watches’ but they’re don’t stay there for long - they’re soon plugged in recharging for the next round – and what does the golfer do? They put their proper watch on!
When we launched the ETIQUS range of Distinctive Golf Timepieces for Golfers I knew there were many golfers who were relishing the opportunity to wear an affordable quality ‘proper’ watch designed exclusively for ‘a proper golfer’ – because it's a defining element of their identity.
So returning to our boys in MI5 it seems a little incongruous that someone who works for a ‘secret service’ would wear a watch to reveal they’re a ‘secret agent’. But for all you golfers out there you’re able to let everyone know it’s no secret that you’re proud to be recognised as a golfer.