You couldn’t script the lead up to this James Bond film any better really. A watch that both purists and newcomers are excited about, the gloriously equipped new Seamaster 300. A press tour from Daniel Craig that gave everyone the sense that he was in-character the whole time (read: wanting to end the formalities and have a dirty martini instead), until the miraculous moment when an 8-year-old Bond fanatic melted his existential exterior and he smiled. And smiled. And smiled. While we, quite frankly, cried tears of pure emotion. Then, add to this teaser perfection the crazy scenes in the movie trailer of a Mexico City ‘Day of the Dead’ fiesta and buildings collapsing etc. An invitation to the movie ahead of its release was reason enough to count down the sleeps. But add to the movie itself, and the watch geekery of speculating which watch for when, the prospect of an Omega event to follow and it all added up to a fairly excited team outing for us.
The night began in fine style at the Shangri La, when we checked in to dress up. The view from the room managed to incorporate views of both the bridge and the Opera House in one glance. Sydney looked as beautiful ever, thank you also for the weather Omega. At the first venue, a cinema right on the water in the Rocks, the crowd milled in the late afternoon sun and drank the first of many glasses of Omega branded Bollinger.
Black-tie outfits were compared, previous Bonds were rated (sorry Pierce, you were the weakest link 🙁 ) theories about Daniel Craig and this being his last hit out were bandied about, while clouds of popcorn steam emanated from the door of the Dendy Cinema. We were soon ushered in to the Cinema, which was resplendent in vintage James Bond movie posters – the whole venue was in theme; for this night, the only movies ever were Bond movies. And that was alright. Apart from the Pierce Bond movies, which we all laughed at. Weakest. Link. On a personal note, I was told to shut up about Casino Royale. Yes, it was good. Stop talking about it. Stop comparing everything since to it. Etc.
As we walked into the theatre we were offered Omega branded caramel popcorn and raspberry bullets as well as a top up of Bolli. This was a brilliant touch. We had everything we needed for success. Except the popcorn was gone by the speeches. The General Manager of the Swatch Group Megan Parker took the lectern and spoke briefly to welcome people and talk about the positive impact that Bond has had on the brand. We weren’t to know at this point what a positive impact the brand would have on the movie (no spoilers, promise!) but wow, not to give anything away, but boy. Does this watch have an impact on Bond’s fate and fortune in the movie? Um. WOW. Not to give anything away. But did Omega President Stephen Urquhart have any involvement in the script? Stephen, you genius! NO SPOILERS. Watch the movie. Quote of the night (that does not ruin anything) from an unnamed Omega employee – “I bet I’m going to get asked for the new Seamaster 300 with red indices now….”
That honestly is not a spoiler.
After the movie we were whisked to Rockpool by sleek black Omega branded cars. Walking up the stairs to Rockpool our group experienced a collective shudder of anticipation. Why? Because we could hear the Bond soundtrack, as in the ambient, classical music soundtrack, blaring from inside the restaurant. This was not the usual black-tie dinner music fare. It was moody; filled with tension and it sounded like a very high quality recording. Which is because, IT WAS LIVE. There was a full stringed orchestra right in the space to the right of the staircase where diners usually sit. And they weren’t playing showtunes. They had a strict repertoire of music from the movie. Holy. Holy. The sound was enormous. The atmosphere was epic.
I didn’t just want a martini when I walked inside. I wanted a fistfitght. Kris Smith, his personal trainer Carlo and I all agreed that if the room had erupted in a melee we would have been ready.
Dramatic tension aside, this was a lavish, gorgeous spread, all looked over by a beaming Neil Perry who greeted guests as they walked in, slightly awestruck by the sensory feast.
Dinner? Well, it was one delectable treat after another, followed by a ‘walking dessert’ with mostly gin-based cocktails (Yes, there were martinis.) in the mezzanine afterwards, where we had a chance to see all the Omega Bond watches in display cases you opened yourself – giving the reveal a bit of nice interactivity.
It left no doubt in our minds whatsoever. Bonds really do have more fun.