On 27 June 1973 the eighth movie was released in a franchise that was becoming increasingly popular with a total of 24 movies in the series now. This movie was the first to feature the actor that played the lead role for seven movies – more than any other individual actor. With the passing of Roger Moore this week, the most British of all the Bonds, I thought I would reflect on the technology used in Moore’s seven movies.

I have always had an interest in Bond movies for the technology they create for the leading man to gain an advantage over the villains. The gadgets are usually based on zero scientific ability to produce them but sometimes have been ahead of their time.

In Moore’s first film, Live and Let Die, his simple wristwatch was the Rolex Submariner. A watch that included an electromagnet and a miniature saw was, not surprisingly, just what Bond needed to cut himself free from his bondage. By 1977, the product placement had changed to Seiko and, in The Spy Who Loved Me, the Seiko Quartz had a built-in telex teleprinter for Bond to receive urgent messages from M. The contract with Seiko continued in Moonraker where 007 had a dart-gun on his wrist to help him deal with the villainous Hugo Drax.

As ridiculous as these devices would have seemed when the movies were released, I am sure that it would also have seemed ridiculous if Bond had a watch that allowed phone calls to be made and received that could also send and receive text messages and e-mails (both of which were unknown at the time) and for good measure it could test the heart rate of the wearer. All of these things are available on a modern smartwatch so maybe the producers were onto something with a gadget-laden watch.

When you think of Bond you also think of cars. Fantastic, classic, gadget-filled cars. Aston Martin is the brand that springs to mind but my favourite car was the Lotus Esprit (used in two Bond movies) but specifically the one Roger drove in The Spy Who Loved Me. Apart from the magnificent chase scene in this movie, just when the viewer thinks the chase is over as the car plunges off the end of a pier, the car turns into a submarine for an underwater boat chase! If nothing else, Bond films deliver creativity. A car that turned into a submarine could just as easily have been a car that turned into an aeroplane – and there are prototypes of such vehicles that are operational as we speak complete with folding wings – just like the folding wings on the Acrostar Mini-Jet that rolled out the back of a horse float in Octopussy.

I am not sure the feature used on the Lotus Esprit in For Your Eyes Only will become a common item. The theft-prevention mechanism in this movie was for the car to explode upon its defences being breached. I am not sure how a car salesman may go about demonstrating this feature!

This same movie featured a computer system called the ‘Identigraph’ which Bond and Q used to build up a picture of a mysterious assassin. Given the fact that IBM introduced its first personal computer (IBM PC) and Microsoft its first mainstream operating system (MS-DOS) shortly after the release of this movie, it was quite progressive to use a computer to do anything at all on the movies. The fact they used a computer to do something that modern law-enforcement agencies use a computer to do was another example of fiction before fact.

In The Man with the Golden Gun, one gadget was so good they named the entire movie after it. In this case it wasn’t one of Bond’s devices. Scaramanga’s chosen weapon was assembled using a pen; cigarette lighter; cigarette case and cufflink. When that wasn’t enough for him, he swapped his golden gun for a Solex Laser Cannon, powered by the light from the sun. We are not powering huge weapons from the light of the sun (that I know of anyway) but over thirty per cent of the houses in Dubbo are being powered by the light from the sun with solar panels appearing on a myriad of horizontal surfaces.

RIP Roger Moore and long live James Bond.

App of the Week this week is Personality Match. Answer a series of questions to determine your personality type and the career that may best suit you. I am never totally convinced of these personality tests, but when I used Personality Match, I was totally converted. It told me I was creative; smart; charming; innovative; ingenious at problem solving and good looking! I can’t argue with that!

Mathew Dickerson

Scroll to Top