“They wanted $50K, I gave them $2M” – Jean-Claude Biver on how he got Bond for Omega “They wanted $50K, I gave them $2M” – Jean-Claude Biver on how he got Bond for Omega

“They wanted $50K, I gave them $2M” – Jean-Claude Biver on how he got Bond for Omega

Zach Blass

If you haven’t been watching or listening to the About Efffing Time (AET) podcast, co-hosted by Adrian Barker of Bark & Jack, George Bamford of Bamford Watch Department, and our very own Andrew McUtchen, well… it is about effing time you did. Each bi-weekly episode revolves around a dedicated topic, and is followed by a live “therapy session” with the trio in which they reflect on the past week’s episode, announce winners of AET merch giveaways, and engage with you all, the listeners, in real time in the chat section. The latest third installment tackled the best watches within the Bond franchise, and, during the discussion, Andrew dropped the mic with a revealing quote from watch industry G.O.A.T. Jean-Claude Biver.



Biver is perhaps more widely known today for his work with LVMH brands, but, prior to his time with Hublot and LVMH, the legendary watch boss actually served as the head of the Omega brand. In the middle of the episode, Andrew played an excerpt of an interview he did with JCB – in which Biver explains why he partnered Omega with the Bond franchise in a far larger capacity than originally proposed to him.

Andrew: Is it true you paid more than the asking price for Omega to be the official watch of the James Bond franchise?

JCB: Yes. I paid more because I wanted more things. I didn’t want to have just the watch on the wrist, I wanted also to have the picture of the actor with the watch on the wrist. I wanted to do some ads. I wanted to do promotions. I wanted all these additional elements. In the beginning it was just the price to have the watch on the wrist of James Bond, and I said I don’t want the watch on the wrist only. I want a full 360 degree agreement and I will give you much more money. I will give you one or two million instead of your $50,000 or $60,000.

Biver on getting Bond

Andrew noted that the higher investment also included script integration, something the initially proposed lower investment would not have not included.

It has become de rigueur for brands to copy the JCB playbook when it comes to brand integration in film. For example, TAG Heuer recently employed suave heartthrob actor Ryan Gosling to be an ambassador of the brand utilising a similar 360 degree strategy for the watches to be represented on and off-screen. And, as we all know too well, the watch world is rife with collaborations – positioning luxury timepiece brands with pop culture staples to broaden the audiences for their products.

Biver on getting Bond

The positive impact of the Bond connection for Omega is irrefutable. In fact, upon hearing the quote in the studio, Adrian Barker exclaimed: “Wow, so it turns out that Jean-Claude Biver saved Omega. Would Omega exist [as it does today] without that connection?”

Regardless of the answer, I think we can all agree that the intertwining of Omega watches and the Bond franchise, even at $2 million, was well worth the investment with incredible sales generated for the Seamaster, Aqua Terra, and Planet Ocean lines, which also all have 007 limited edition and standard-production references of some kind that were worn in the films.

Food for thought: some of the most successful moves in the watch industry were the least expected. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak revolutionising the way in which the market perceived steel sports as luxury, and Omega and Swatch teaming up for an unprecedented collaborative release. Clearly calculated risk can really pay off.