Their latest line of timepieces, Collection DB5, is a limited run of 600 units with a unique bit of automotive caché: The watch dial is cut from the hood (or “bonnet”) of a vintage Aston Martin DB5, the vehicle of choice for Ian Fleming’s cinematic and charismatic superspy, James Bond.
At least it was in the early movies, before Bond hopped into the driver’s seat of numerous other marques, including a submersible Lotus. But in the most recent (and apparently last) Bond movie with Daniel Craig, No Time to Die, the iconic DB5 of old has returned, freshened up with some new but still classic Q-approved features including (vastly) upgraded guns behind the headlights, bulletproof glass, smokescreen, mini mines and more. The ejection seat button remains under the gearshift cap. The DB5 takes a beating but gets the job done protecting Bond and his lady love. Take a peek:
It looks like most of that will buff out. Anyway, it’s great to see the beautiful DB5 – now a rare and valuable classic six-digit collector car – or seven digits, if you have the actual movie car from when it made its appearance in Goldfinger – in action once again on the big screen, being driven full-tilt and surprising the bad guys (those gatling guns!). I first saw the DB5 in action as a kiddo when Goldfinger debuted on the family TV in the 1970s; my dad was (and is) a huge Bond movie fan, so whenever a Bond movie came on, it was a special treat. Like many DB5 fans, I was rapt and have loved the car ever since. At present, it’s still a few pounds out of my price range, but lately I’ve been wearing a bit of DB5 hardware on my wrist, and while I’m no super spy, I’ll admit I’ve been more punctual than usual lately.
As noted, Atelier Jalaper sent me a top-tier AJ002-S DB5 model, with day and date display. I suppose giving it the model number “007” may have been… problematic, at least for a rights standpoint. Anyway, the AJ002-S sells for 1,080 Euros, or $1,150 USD.
The watch, built in Switzerland, features an analog Automatic Miyota 8285 movement from Japan with 21 jewels and a pendulum self-winding mechanism visible through the back of the timepiece.
The DB5 dial resides under a thick saphir crystal and Atelier Jalaper says they did not over-finish the hood material, giving each watch face a unique patina, although the DB5 metal has clearly been cleaned and lovingly prepared. Still, no two watch faces will be identical upon close inspection. Each watch is 40.5mm across and are only available in that size.
Guilloche portions surrounding the 12 and 6 locations on the dial are styled to resemble the DB5’s iconic grille. And there is no 12 or 6 on the dial; number positions are instead marked in minutes in the style of the DB5’s speedometer digits. A red second hand smoothly sweeps the watchface, and the Sunday text is also red while other days are in black. The watch does not feature any luminescent marks on the dials or watchface. It has a noticeable heft and thickness that reminds you that it is there but is never annoying or intrusive.
To be clear, this is a completely analog watch with no smartwatch features. Your typical activities each day keep it wound and the mechanism will run for over 40 hours if the watch is taken off. The crown does not wind the mechanism, so you’ll need to wear it for a short while to get it ticking again if it sits for several days. The crown quickly adjusts time, date and day displays. The watch is water resistant to three atmospheres, which is enough to survive a pool filled with sharks but perhaps not quite enough if you find yourself in an underwater scuba knife fight.
As such, it is a handsome and accurate timepiece. My review version was the $1,150 day/date “S” model with silver finish, made from 316L stainless steel and it came with an optional black leather band that brought the price up to $1,310 USD; a model with a black casing is also available for about $80 additional. A second version, the AJ001, is 800 Euros and loses the day display but retains the date at the 3 o’clock position. A black version of the AJ001 is also an $80 premium. Personally, I liked the look of the bright casing contrasting with the black leather band, but it’s nice to have options. There are multiple band options that affect pricing.
The back of the watch is transparent, allowing a good view of the interior complication when it’s not occluded by the self-winding mechanism’s pendulum. A small plaque on the side shows the production number within the 600 unit run, and my review watch arrived in a handsome decorative box for safekeeping in case I wanted to leave it behind while indulging in some street racing with a modern Ferrari.
I got a lot of compliments on the watch and raised a few eyebrows when I revealed its automotive and movie-related lineage. The watches are available now and Atelier Jalaper says orders placed soon will arrive in time for the holidays.