James Bond Sunglasses
The Different Shades of Bond: Identifying the Rich History of Bond’s Sunglasses through his 60 Years in Cinema
Style and sophistication. James Bond has been gracing our screens for over 60 years and continues to epitomize how every man wants to look, act, and dress. The rich cinematic history of 007 has captivated audiences for generations and while the submarines and fantastical Aston Martin gadgets are memorable – his cool, stylish look is an important aspect of why he is still so popular today. Bond continues to live on and with the retirement of Daniel Craig, the next evolution is sure to hit the big screens soon.
One feature of Bond’s appearance, often overlooked, is his sunglasses. While author Ian Fleming rarely mentioned Bond’s spectacles of choice in the books; the 25 blockbuster films that followed have made them an emblematic signifier of his style. For me, his sunglasses form an integral part of his look as in any scene, they accentuate his cool demeanor. In this article, we’re going to take a deep dive into the rich eyewear of everyone’s favorite MI6 agent, looking back at every film in which he wears sunglasses in an attempt to identify their brand and provide an overview of their evolution over time.
From Russia With Love (1963)
You might be forgiven for thinking that James Bond’s sunglasses have always been an essential part of any Bond film – essential to the cool, mysterious image of a secret agent. However, the original Bond, Scottish actor Sean Connery, didn’t put on his first pair until the second film ‘From Russia With Love’ (the first of course being Dr. No).
The first actor to play Bond wears these rounded glasses that are frequently called cat-eye sunglasses, though they have a slightly thicker wayfarer-style frame. As this film was made over sixty years ago, little is known about the maker of these exact sunglasses though this style was popular at the time. It’s clear that director Terence Young and the wardrobe department wanted Bond’s fashion sense to shine through as these red-brown sunglasses with grey lenses pleasingly match his grey suit as he goes about his mission in Istanbul, Turkey.
The look of these glasses expresses sophistication, grace, and elegance which might also explain why they are perceived as more of a female accessory today, with celebrities from Kate Hudson to Rihanna and Scarlett Johansson seen sporting them. While we might never know the exact brand behind these very first 007 sunglasses, much more is known about Connery’s third film performance.
It’s a pair of Cool-Ray Polaroid N135 styled by Cari Michelle that Sean Connery wore in 1965’s Thunderball. This is the first time that Bond is seen wearing what is commonly recognized to be black Wayfarer-style sunglasses. The Wayfarer design has lasted for generations with its no-frills, thick plastic shape, and its ability to look flattering on anyone though the name ‘Wayfarer’ is actually a trademarked name by Ray-Ban, launched over 70 years ago.
Rectangular grey lenses are at the center of this particular model with two silver rivets, both at the front and at the temples of the frame. The originals are no longer in production and the identity of the makers of this particular pair of Sean Connery sunglasses is still being debated. Curry & Paxton claim to have recreated these original glasses in a deep investigation of the film’s history and you can still buy these replicas today.
Famously Connery is filmed wearing these sunglasses as he relaxes on the beach with Bond girl actress Claudine Auger. Bond utters the famous pun-based line “I think he got the point” as he harpoons a would-be assailant – classic! Bond’s sunglasses in this era were predominantly worn for practical reasons over stylist fashion, something that would come to change as the years went on when sunglasses became a symbol of cool.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
George Lazenby’s James Bond strikes out in his first eye-catching choice of eyewear with these square, yellow-lens sunglasses. In the 1960s, these kinds of lenses were thought to improve your vision while driving by filtering blue light. There was a struggle to identify this particular pair but speculation links them to be Nighthawk driving glasses. These retro pairs of sunglasses are available to buy as replicas and relics but unfortunately are no longer in production – not least because many tests indicate they do not help with their primary function!
Lazenby appears with these sunglasses, as you would expect, in his green, six-cylinder Aston Martin DBS adorned with a felt trilby and it seems appropriate that he would be wearing the latest in modern technology of the time. Well done Q!
A side note to mention that Bond also appears in a pair of rounded spectacles as a disguise during ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. Lazenby’s smooth character is transformed into an academic professional look as he attempts to appear as Sir Hilary Bray. These delicate circular, tortoiseshell glasses add some sophistication to the suave spy.
A View To A Kill (1985)
A long break in Bond’s cinematic history eventually brings us to the next appearance of his sunglasses. Roger Moore’s Bond and the string of directors that filmed him decided to forgo the spy’s spectacles for six movies and almost twenty years before eventually choosing Bogner Eschenbach 7003 90 for his venture to Siberia. You have to assume these were only added for practical purposes since he finds himself skiing on the slopes as he is soon chased by a helicopter and several gunmen on skis. Some proper James Bond action!
In the close-ups, we can see that this unique pair of Roger Moore Sunglasses almost look like a pair of aviator sunglasses with the large, soft square lens in a brilliant white plastic border that’s held in a black metal frame. This thin black frame bridges across the nose and is in fact extendable and retractable – very practical for the environment. The lenses have a rose-pink gradient.
The same company Bogner made the full white ski suit that Moore wears during this scene so the sunglasses themselves have become an artifact of film history. Though they’ve become a rare item, some have been auctioned off as recently as 2018.
Later Bond goes in disguise yet again as he poses as a wealthy horse breeder, James St John Smyth. Then, at last, we get the first pair of sunglasses being used as a gadget!…of sorts. Moore reaches up to these round-framed glasses to adjust the glare by using polarising lenses. These adjustable glasses are taken for granted today and do not have to be operated by hand but it’s great to see 007 ahead of his time.
There are some fantastic close-ups of these light brown, tortoiseshell sunglasses that have the letters ‘WHO‘ in each lens. Of course, they also pair elegantly with his dinner jacket, though sunglasses would have been a surprising style choice at the time. The exact maker of these glasses is most likely a pair of Barton Perreira Sunglasses.
The Living Daylights (1987)
For Timothy Dalton’s Bond, there is another use of glasses as gadgets when he has to do some spying in Tangier, Morocco. Posing as a journalist, James takes out these interesting binocular glasses (image below) to see what General Pushkin is doing. These are some of the most unique glasses seen in the James Bond franchise and Dalton also uses some handheld Tasco Opera glasses in a later scene.
You might think the style of these looks rather dated today but variations of these very retro-looking sunglasses are available to find on eBay and other second-hand retailers. They aren’t exactly the same as these Timothy Dalton sunglasses in a black frame but they work as an excellent substitute if you need some for a fancy dress costume or to examine some tiny jewelry…
Aviator sunglasses were at peak popularity by the 1980s and Timothy Dalton’s James Bond represents that. The large, rounded square lenses are typical of this style with a thin, dark wire frame. They have a thin double brass, black bridge that makes them quite a large accessory.
Sunglasses as big as these and inconspicuous would seem a helpful disguise as he makes a getaway. Unfortunately, though, things don’t work out that way for James this time. Again in Tangier, Dalton takes a pair of these glasses from a street vendor and they make a short appearance in The Living Daylights, forever timestamping it as an 80s film.
Golden Eye (1995)
Firstly, the Persol model 861, boasts a brown tortoiseshell look with brown lens. These square lens glasses have a small silver rivet at the front that stretches to the temple and almost looks gold in the scenes with Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco). When viewed closely they can be seen to be silver arrows and they look great paired with his tan suit. These Pierce Brosnan glasses were made in Italy and can still be found available to buy today.
This film sparked the start of an ongoing partnership between Persol and Bond that has stretched through many years of movie history. Even relatively new Bond girls such as Madeleine Swann have been seen on film wearing Persol sunglasses (Quantum of Solace).
The World Is Not Enough (1999)
By 1999 and the turn of the century, there was a marked change in course for sunglasses trends and this is visible from the James Bond films of this time. Pierce Brosnan and director Michael Apted’s wardrobe team opt for much smaller lens glasses with an oblong shape. These types of sunglasses seek to distract less from the face of the wearer and as technology advances rapidly, these designs look more minimal and perhaps more cutting-edge rather than sophisticated.
Brosnan is seen wearing spectacles such as the Calvin Klein cK 718F in The World Is Not Enough, but his Calvin Klein 2007 sunglasses make an impact in the infamous ski chase scene with Elektra King (Sophie Marceau). This metallic design has a grey frame and dark black oval lenses that hug the face for protection from the snow. They were once available to purchase with a 007 case but are now rare film artifacts and can be expensive. We personally wouldn’t trust their minimal design for safety on the ski slopes!
Arguably the most iconic sunglasses from any James Bond film are those used by Brosnan’s Bond in The World Is Not Enough as x-ray glasses. These were nifty gadgets that mysteriously allowed him to see through people’s clothes, including the girls dotted around Zukovki’s casino. However, Bond’s true motivations were to spot those hiding weapons under the garments. The scene is an unmissable one in the examination of his sunglasses.
It’s widely reported that these glasses were bespoke spectacles for the film, put together by the wardrobe department. It would make sense given that the thin black frame with a dark blue lens makes them stand out. However, before the lenses were later added, IanFleming.org claimed the glasses were purchased from a high street opticians retailer and that the manufacturer was Blue. The model is suspected to be MOD No.9048 ANT BLUE 50X19. The exact facts have yet to be ratified but they make a very unique and sought-after film prop indeed.
Die Another Day (2002)
Pierce Brosnan’s minimal lens James Bond sunglasses approach continues into the new millennium when he appears in Lee Tamahori’s Die Another Day (2002), though strangely they seem to find him – instead of him finding them. In the opening scenes of the film, he takes a diamond trader’s sunglasses from him at gunpoint as he disembarks from a helicopter. Bond smiles with glee as he takes the man away.
These glasses are unusual on account of their green color and again oval-shaped lens. They have a bright metal, skinny frame that looks metallic and a curved bar above the nose. These thin metal frames are particularly reminiscent of and popular in, military films, and perhaps the film is harking back to glasses-wearers like Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now with Bond infiltrating a North Korean military base. The look of these sunglasses would support this as they look like a junior version of the aviators from the Francis Ford Coppola film.
There is some disagreement over which brand and model these sunglasses are and from their limited time on screen, it is difficult to tell. A blog post identifies these glasses as Oliver People’s Aero and perhaps model 57. These are quite expensive glasses now with prices ranging up to $500.00!
Also in Die Another Day, we see the return of the Italian Persol sunglasses and this time it is the Persol 2672 Sunglasses. James goes looking for a sleeper agent at a cigar factory in Havana, Cuba and as he wanders the streets he wears these light brown shades. Interestingly, the choice of these sunglasses was not a betrayal of the new small-lens look for Bond, as these glasses were specially designed for the blockbuster film.
This design has a much narrower frame than the earlier Persol from Goldeneye, but it has retained the uniquely intricate metallic hinge – a silver arrow. The tortoise frame houses two dark brown lenses in a cool, sleek new model that fits perfectly for his mission in exotic Havana. Brosnan’s Bond character seemed to exhibit minimalism and understated clothing which makes this pair of glasses fit brilliantly with his persona.
Casino Royale (2006)
By the time we come to Daniel Craig’s first outing in the 007 role, sunglasses have become a staple part of James Bond’s look. Sunglasses seem to personify cool and since they are an easily accessible accessory that does more than just simply exhibit you as a film fan, they are highly sought after by fans. Persol won some additional exposure again here, with two of their glasses models featuring in the Martin Campbell-directed movie.
From the very beginning, Craig establishes himself as a role model of class and fashionable sophistication. Straight after earning his 007 status, he flies into the Bahamas on a private plane while surveying the yachts that float by. How the other half live! These sunglasses play a key part in showing that with their brown-yellow lenses and a black satin finish, gunmetal metal frame that has a wraparound aesthetic.
The color is 834/33 and these almost gold-looking lenses make Bond fit in well with the upper classes. He can later be seen wearing them while driving around Nassau. There is something quite sporty about these glasses that add perhaps a nod to the fact this Bond will be practical and physical.
The Persol 2720 is featured in Bond’s visit to Montenegro with Vespa Green. A sucker for a tortoiseshell frame, Bond again has these light brown sunglasses with an interesting set of green lenses in color 24/31. If you’ve been reading everything so far, you may notice that the hinge on these glasses in close-up is very familiar. They somewhat resemble the silver arrow hinges of Pierce Brosnan’s Goldeneyes.
The consistency is there in Casino Royale, as these sunglasses also have a rectangular wraparound shape to the frame that echoes that sporty, stylish new look of Bond. The frame here is plastic instead of the earlier metal and it perhaps fits with his more sophisticated blue suit appearance at this stage in the film.
This particular model was sold by Persol in a very exclusive sale of 200 models. Making them very expensive to obtain! While this is Craig’s first film as James Bond, he would go on to make sunglasses an indispensable part of his appearance, wearing 11 different pairs across 5 films.
Quantum Of Solace (2008)
After Casino Royale and the beginning of a new era for James Bond in the Daniel Craig years, there were again some new partnerships to be formed. American brand Tom Ford became involved with the franchise by providing Bond’s suits but they also wanted to provide their own sunglasses for the star to wear.
Craig only wears one pair of sunglasses in Marc Forster’s Quantum Of Solace and it is the Tom Ford FT108. He can be seen wearing these unusual aviator-inspired sunglasses in several scenes from the film, including in Haiti just before the brutal hotel fight scene. Bond proves this pair of sunglasses is very adaptable as he wears them with a black coat, a brown suit, and even a polo neck.
The lenses are in fact smoke blue (19V) when seen up close and boast a comfortable leather over the ear with a thin, semi-matte rhodium frame. They are a more delicate pair of glasses with smaller lenses than typical aviators and the straight bridge sits up higher than most glasses, concealing the browline. Some have pointed out that they resemble Oliver Peoples Airman sunglasses and the two are often mistaken. They are sadly no longer available to purchase which is why they can go for large amounts on eBay in their official James Bond glasses case.
Sam Mendes’ Skyfall (2012) saw an era of Bond that was highly criticized for product placement, including its partnership with Heineken (though in fact, this partnership has existed since 1997; long before James took his first swig on film). However, there were no official partnerships for sunglasses brands and instead, these Daniel Craig glasses resemble more classic aviator glasses, akin to those made famous by Top Gun (1986).
For many, these types of sunglasses resemble the 1980s and capture some of that retro, classic style that James Bond is well known for. They appear in more than one setting as he continues his pursuit of antagonist Patrice and then later our Bond villain, the cyber-terrorist Raoul Silva.
The Skyfall sunglasses are again Tom Ford and it is the Marko FT0144 aviator sunglasses that display two large teardrop-like lenses and a silver frame that is in fact rhodium. These thin-framed glasses with a double metal bridge create a refreshing look for Bond that most face shapes could pull off. He looks calm and collected in the most notable scene featuring these glasses involving his disguise at an airport in Shanghai. Most inconspicuous…
In Spectre, the Tom Ford sunglasses make a third and final return with the Tom Ford ‘Snowdon’ FT0237 model. They appear in the scene in which Bond tries to disguise himself from onlookers as he attends the funeral of Marco Sciarra in Rome, Italy. James will no doubt have had to shade his eyes from the heat here! The large frames with square-like lenses are again similar to the Wayfarer glasses of Connery’s Thunderball and also famous Wayfarer wearers such as Bob Dylan. They are a chunky pair of glasses with wide lenses that allow them to work for any face shape.
Some close-ups from this scene show the unique thin, gold hinge that stretches along the frame of these glasses – they stand out even amongst its other surprising features. The frame is in fact a mottled brown color, Havana 52N to be specific, which would seem to contrast with Bond’s black attire. The lenses are also grey lenses in size 50 which would make them well suited for a hot climate but perhaps not a traditionally all-black funeral. Fortunately, though, the camera sees these glasses as black so Bond’s desire to lurk and hide in the background is not ultimately compromised…
One pair of these Spectre sunglasses worn on screen by Craig was later sold at auction for a whopping £25,000 – Christie’s. They were one of only four pairs worn by the English actor which made them a rare item indeed. Here you can clearly see the brown tint and grey lenses that don’t feature on the screen. The magic of cinema!
Not content with just one pair of sunglasses, later in Morocco, we see another pair of Daniel Craig glasses in the Tom Ford ‘Henry Vintage Wayfarer’ FT0248. Bond is dropped off from a train with Madeleine Swann and awaits anxiously to be picked up. These sunglasses are particularly notable because they also feature in the trailer for Spectre and the music video for Sam Smith’s theme song “Writing’s On The Wall”
Bond is standing here in a beige-colored Brunello Cucinelli jacket which brings out the Havana color and dark frame of these glasses. The perfect color palette for a scene in what looks like a desert. You will notice that these sunglasses again have that distinctive, thin golden hinge elongating along the frame. Clearly, a consistent style is important to James. However, they aren’t Wayfarers, these are in fact browline or ‘clubline’ sunglasses that are different for the important reason that the chunky frame disappears at the bottom of the lens and is replaced with a thin black frame. Some have noted that this design somewhat resembles bold eyebrows framing the eyes.
There are multiple scenes in Morocco featuring these soft lenses with a frame color code of 52A. The browline sunglasses design has fallen in and out of favor for decades. They were originally popular in the 1950s and 60s, worn by figures such as Malcolm X then later fell out of favor until Ray-Ban released their own version in the 1980s. Bond attempts to bring these back for the twenty-first century – if anyone can do it, he can!
Finally, Bond appears in this very sleek pair of Vuarnet ‘Glacier’ 027 PX-5000 sunglasses. He wears these Spectre sunglasses when he trudges through the frost to the Hoffler Klinik. Far from the sweltering heat of Morocco, James finds himself in the polar opposite mountains of Sölden in Austria. The blinding white snow makes it necessary to have a streamlined pair of glasses here that make this agent ready for action.
These sunglasses are stylish and yet exhibit a lot of practicality with a nose protector, leather side eye shields that are removable, and a face-hugging frame to stop the snow from getting in the wearer’s eyes. Very clever 007! Vuarnet didn’t pay for this product placement, however, they later benefitted from the opportunity when they released a new series of glasses called Vuarnet Glaciers. Multiple models now exist.
No Time To Die (2021)
Finally, we come to Bond’s latest outing in 2021’s No Time To Die. The release date of this film was famously delayed almost exactly two years due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In stark contrast to James Bond’s first appearance on screen, sunglasses have now become much more than an auxiliary prop used for practical purposes; they are now a statement item of clothing that showcases the secret agent’s charismatic personality. Daniel Craig wears a new record number of four pairs during the course of this movie. Let’s have a look at all of them in detail.
At the start of ‘No Time To Die’, Bond arrives in Mantera, Italy with Madeleine Swann wearing these Barton Perreira ‘Norton’ sunglasses. This film sees a return to vintage sunglasses and these glasses somewhat resemble Brosnan’s from Goldeneye in 1995. The brown tortoiseshell frame brings out the bright colors in these sunny scenes and the lenses are a unique green color. The bridge and frame of these glasses are thin and the classic, familiar shape means they fit well with almost any attire. Perhaps the retro look was symbolically deliberate as Bond visits a graveyard during these opening sequences. These limited edition Norton 007 sunglasses are still sold by the original Japanese producers, formed from the partnership of eyewear designers Patty Perreira and Bill Barton.
Later, we find James in retirement and the return of some Vuarnet sunglasses (see Spectre). They are a familiar square-lens wayfarer shape and the exact model is the Vuarnet Legend 06. There’s a vintage look again to these glasses and the simple brown frame with a wide bridge holds two brownlynx lenses. These lenses are made of mineral glass which gives them a yellow-colored distortion. The yellow seems again in keeping with the sporty style of Daniel Craig’s Bond as he is seen wearing these while speeding around on a boat and in a blue Land Rover jeep in Jamaica.
The name of these French sunglasses is appropriate as they have been a feature of cinema since the 1960s when Alain Delon wore the same model in the 1969 movie La Piscine. Some designs never go out of style and Bond is really showing his passion for a retro, classic look here.
James Bond can’t be seen looking more like James Bond than when he returns to London and strolls past his Aston Martin in this Tom Ford suit and these Barton Perrereira sunglasses, succinctly named: Joe. For this excellent curtain call, return-to-service, James Bond goes for the wayfarer look again with an entirely black acetate frame. The lenses are grey on closer inspection and, though there is some consistency with the shape of all these glasses in No Time To Die, these third pair are more of a blocky rectangular shape. He means business!
They are made from a lightweight zyonite material acetate and have a metal core inside to keep their structure. Barton Perrereira again saw the opportunity to market these Joe sunglasses as 007 sunglasses which are still available to buy. This is despite the fact that Daniel Craig likely just wore the original Joe model.
Vuarnet and Barton Perreira both receive equal billing with two pairs of sunglasses each, as we explore the final model on this list. Towards the climax of the film, Daniel Craig looks ready for action as he charts a glider in these interesting black glasses named Vuarnet Edge 1613. They almost resemble steampunk spectacles with some black rounded, reflective lenses and a very thin metal frame. The double bridge on the nose completes this retro aviator look. He’s wearing his commando outfit in this scene which again emphasizes the military man aesthetic. Craig was clearly a fan of these particular sunglasses as he was seen at several events away from filming wearing them: including the British Formula 1 Grand Prix 2019 and the Toronto Film International Film Festival 2019.