Bond Hits the Beach in Thunderball

I hope you’re all having a warm first day of summer! If anyone is looking to hit the beach soon – and you hopefully will – take a few tips from Bond in Thunderball, who spends plenty of his time beachcombing and getting into underwater battles with international terrorists armed with harpoons.

Sean Connery and Claudine Auger in Thunderball (1965).

Sean Connery and Claudine Auger in Thunderball (1965).


Sean Connery as James Bond, sophisticated British secret agent and sportsman

Nassau, May 1965

Film: Thunderball
Release Date: December 29, 1965
Director: Terence Young
Wardrobe Designer: Anthony Mendleson


Sensing both a genuine lead and genuine lust, Bond convinces M to send him to Nassau to do his part for Operation Thunderball. Luckily for Bond, it’s September (for the sake of this blog, let’s call it summer) and tourist season is in full swing. Bond’s first order of business is to visit the beach in Nassau.

Later, BAMF Style will focus on some of Bond’s non-beach attire while “vacationing” in the Bahamas, notably the striped shirt and linen trousers he wears while visiting Largo at his estate, Palmyra. Bond also sports a matching blue shirt and pants, but the “pajama suit” is a bit too dated to be considered BAMF. Doesn’t mean you’ll never see it here, though…

Flanked by his co-stars Claudine Auger and Martine Beswick, Sean Connery illustrates why playing James Bond may be one of the best jobs in the world.

Flanked by his co-stars Claudine Auger and Martine Beswick, Sean Connery illustrates why playing James Bond may be one of the best jobs in the world.

What’d He Wear?

Swimming in Nassau

Sean Connery appears as the unofficial spokesperson for Jantzen swimwear in Thunderball, wearing three different pairs of swimming trunks from the brand, which created its first bathing suit one hundred years ago in Oregon. Jantzen shorts are featured on the excellent James Bond Lifestyle site, with a great description and history of the shorts worn by Bond. The actual shorts themselves were also part of a Bond 50 exhibit.

Interestingly, Don Draper pitched the Jantzen team in the first episode of Mad Men‘s fourth season, set in late 1964, four months before Thunderball was filmed. The Jantzen team turns down Draper’s ad for being too risque. It is interesting that the “family-oriented” company would refuse Draper’s ad but would let its brand be associated with a film franchise centered around sex and violence. Of course, Mad Men is fiction, but it still raises an interesting point.

Bond’s most frequently worn swimwear is a pair of light blue trunks with a very short inseam. The shorts have a continuous black elastic belt, worn through button-down belt loops along the top of the suit. Jantzen’s distinctive black “diving girl” logo is visible on the lower left leg of the shorts.

Commander Bond at sea.

Commander Bond at sea.

After getting out of the water and drying off, Bond grabs a rose-colored short-sleeve linen sport shirt, throwing it on as he and Domino walk onto the beach. The shirt has a one-piece camp collar and five white buttons down the plain front. It is fitted with shoulder pleats and a slightly curved hem with side vents that end in a point on the front. The shirt also has a rounded breast pocket. Naturally, as he is only wearing swimming trunks, he leaves the shirt untucked.

Bond and Domino.

Bond and Domino.

Bond’s beach shoes, worn throughout Thunderball, are a pair of light blue canvas espadrilles with double elastic gussets, worn with no socks.

For anyone interested, the gun in the henchman's hand is a Beretta M1934, a .380-caliber pistol that Bond himself carried in the opening scenes of Dr. No (1962), unlike the .25-caliber Beretta he carried in the novels.

For anyone interested, the gun in the henchman’s hand is a Beretta M1934, a .380-caliber pistol that Bond himself carried in the opening scenes of Dr. No (1962), unlike the .25-caliber Beretta he carried in the novels.

Canvas slip-ons like these are a good choice for people like me who, after an unfortunate toenail incident, avoid open-toed shoes whenever possible. The shoes cover the feet and toes to protect them, but the canvas is still light enough to allow the feet to breathe. This is also especially smart for a man of action like Bond who can’t afford to go slipping over his own feet in flip flops or sandals if danger arises.

When danger is afoot, protect your feet with lightweight but toe-covering shoes.

When danger is afoot, protect your feet with lightweight but toe-covering shoes.

Bond’s signature Rolex Submariner 6538 watch returns from Goldfinger. This steel dive watch has a black bezel and dial on a NATO strap striped in black and olive with red shadow stripes.

It's 3:58 somewhere...

It’s 3:58 somewhere…

Although he is later issued a geiger-counter Breitling Top Time by Q, Bond only wears the Breitling during his visit to Palmyra.


Orlebar Brown’s Tribute

This popular summertime casual outfit was almost fully adapted for Orlebar Brown’s exclusive 007-inspired collection, released in May 2019. The collection includes the rose pink Italian linen “007 Cardinal Capri Collar Shirt”, the brand’s standard Setter swim trunks modified with a shorter inseam and navy blue waistband, and “washed indigo” canvas espadrilles with cork soles.

Nighttime Investigation

After emerging from the water during a covert nighttime investigation, Bond slips on one of the few clearly-branded items of attire in the franchise history, a navy blue Fred Perry short-sleeve polo shirt.

Fred Perry was a championship-winning English tennis player and table tennis-er (seriously) who began his career in clothing with the development of the first sweatband in the late 1940s. By 1952, Fred Perry was a recognized clothing brand with his tennis shirts finding immediate success at Wimbledon. Perry passed away in 1955, but the shirt lived on, eventually in more colors than the original white as mods began wearing more diverse palettes. The brand’s logo, a laurel wreath, can be clearly seen on Bond’s left breast. The brand still exists today, under the ownership of a Japanese corporation.

With his polo, short white shorts, and warm smile, this is the most that James Bond has ever resembled Mad Men's Bob Benson.

With his polo, short white shorts, and warm smile, this is the most that James Bond has ever resembled Mad Men‘s Bob Benson.

Although he was spying, Bond inexplicably wears his brightest pair of Jantzen swimming trunks – colored in white – while underwater. These ones feature an orange-red “diving girl” logo.

Bond pairs the navy polo and white trunks with his usual light blue canvas slip-ons and Rolex with the NATO strap. While underwater, he wears a red rubber zip-up wet suit over the polo.

Private Beach Relaxation

Bond lets a softer side emerge with his all pink swimming ensemble during his private beach time with Domino. Here, his shirt has a fine pink-and-white gingham check. Like the first, it is a short-sleeve linen shirt with a camp collar and five white buttons down a plain front. The shirt also has a breast pocket and rear shoulder pleats. However, this shirt has a straight-hemmed bottom with side vents.


Bond’s swimming trunks are his third pair of Jantzens, this time in mottled pink. Like the others, they have a short inseam and button-down belt loops. Bond wears these with no belt, though.

It seems like she stayed wet long after he managed to dry off. Weird...

It seems like she stayed wet long after he managed to dry off. Weird…

For the second time in the series, we get to see Bond in a pair of sunglasses. He looks much cooler than Felix Leiter, who stands out like a sore thumb in his seersucker suit and sunglasses while “covertly” watching Bond.

Several brands have been suggested for Bond’s sunglasses, from Polaroid to the Oliver Foldsmith “Consul” model. (I previously had the sunglasses listed as Harlequin, an American brand, until Simon Courtney corrected me in the comments section. Thanks, Simon!)

Sometimes, Sean Connery can't help but to look exactly like Sean Connery.

Sometimes, Sean Connery can’t help but to look exactly like Sean Connery.

He also wears his Rolex with this outfit and – after swimming to Palymra – his blue canvas slip-ons.

Prior to this scene, when Bond is out on helicopter surveillance with Felix, we get a brief flash of Bond wearing the exact same outfit in blue – a blue gingham short-sleeve shirt and the blue Jantzen shorts. Interestingly, he wears no wristwatch.

Yet again, Bond outdresses Felix for a mission that's far more than just another day at the beach.

Yet again, Bond outdresses Felix for a mission that’s far more than just another day at the beach.

Go Big or Go Home

Bond is a hell of a swimmer, as even M notes his “enthusiasm for water sports.”  The typical Bond staples are also present. He doesn’t stray far from his Walther PPK, keeping it – with the suppressor attached – fastened underneath a table in his hotel room. Of course, if he’s out to sea with nary a PPK around, he improvises with a spear gun.

Bond also mixes himself a refreshing vodka martini, with plenty of ice, using the Smirnoff Blue (100-proof) vodka and Cinzano vermouth kept in his hotel room bar.

Whatever happened to the good old days where hotel rooms were stocked with full bottles of vodka and vermouth? Was that ever really a thing?

Whatever happened to the good old days where hotel rooms were stocked with full bottles of vodka and vermouth? Was that ever really a thing?

How to Get the Look

James Bond dresses for his tropical work in Thunderball with short swimming trunks, canvas slip-on shoes, and pink short-sleeve shirts, mixing up accessories such as a wristwatch or sunglasses. Most importantly, Bond stays cool in a very warm tropical climate.

Bond and Domino enjoy some private time on the beach.

Bond and Domino enjoy some private time on the beach.

  • Pink linen short-sleeve shirt with camp collar, plain front, and breast pocket
  • Light blue, white, or light pink Jantzen short-inseam swimming trunks with a removable black elastic belt in button-down belt loops
  • Light blue canvas slip-on espadrilles
  • Rolex Submariner 6538 dive watch on a black/olive/red-striped NATO strap
  • Black-framed wayfarer-style sunglasses

Bond also sports the navy blue Fred Perry short-sleeve polo. Dark navy polos are a dime-a-dozen, but note that Bond wears his at night; it would likely be too warm to be refreshing during the day.

Iconic Alternatives has a great rundown of affordable options to channel elements of this, such as the sunglassesrevere-collared sport shirts, swim trunks, and espadrilles, and many other 007 outfits.

If you’re interested in echoing Bond’s laidback, beachy aesthetic in Thunderball, check out my exploration of James Bond’s Beach Suitcase for what to buy from modern retailers to get the look.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the film then go stick your head in the sand somewhere.

The Quote

Domino: What sharp little eyes you’ve got…
Bond: Wait ’til you get to my teeth.

Anyone know the story behind this?

Anyone know the story behind this?


Matt Spaiser has also written about the rose shirt, gingham shirt, blue polo, and shoes on his blog, The Suits of James Bond.

An image of Sean Connery as Bond in the pink gingham shirt somehow made its way onto the cover of a very awkward poster for the film. The top portion is an extreme close up of Connery smiling, with the top reading: “James Bond in Thunderball” with the titles of the previous Bond movies underneath. The bottom of the poster has a lovely and shapely young lady reclining in a bikini, although she appears to have no connection to the film whatsoever.


  1. Hal

    Fred Perry a golfer?

    I’m not sure that’s right. It was a different sport with an American Open (and an Australian and a French Open), wasn’t it?

    Or am I not getting the joke?

  2. teeritz

    Only Connery could wear fuschia and still look butch. And I have to say that understrapped Sub has always bugged me. It looks like a 16mm strap on 20mm lugs. One theory suggested that the watch belonged to one of the crew (who was ex-Royal Navy), and somebody in wardrobe went out to get the strap from a corner news-stand so that it could fit Connery’s wrist without needing links removed from the bracelet.
    Great write-up!

    • luckystrike721

      Thanks! That’s a great story, I’m just picturing the crew running all around Nassau looking for a watch strap now. Movie preparation must have been much different back then, as I’ve heard the sunglasses were picked up on the fly as well. Now, they would probably contact all the major companies to see who could give the best placement deals!

    • David s

      The strap made its first appearance in the GOLDFINGER opening sequence, probably sourced so the watch could be worn on the outside of the costume “dry suit” that he swims up in. It must’ve been 16mm wide or so. It gets its hero shot later in the sequence when Bond checks the time in a cantina just before his demolition job delivers the goods.

      Interesting that it was retained and made a followup appearance in the next film.

      The watch is reported to be Albert Broccoli’s own 6538, given to the costumer/prop man for DR. NO when Rolex refused to provide a watch for the production. It appeared in the next four films, on a crocodile strap for Dr. NO and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, and this nylon strap for the next two productions.

      I’ve done research on the pattern, and come up only with suppositions. Some claim it’s the Royal Scots Guards colors on the strap, which could make sense. I think it’s a near match for the Royal Navy Wireless Auxiliary Long Service and Good Conduct medal ribbon. I also wonder if someone was sent running with a £1 note to get the strap from Pinewood when Goldfinger was filmed, so it could’ve just been a good, dark colored strap that wouldn’t stand out against the black dry suit costume.

  3. Roman

    Eh, umm. Post is as detailed as always, but…
    Shorts. Are. Not. Cool. Never were, never will be. Not even Bond can make them cool.

    • teeritz

      “Thunderball” was the highest grossing Bond film (adjusted for inflation) until “Skyfall” last year. I can’t help but think that putting Connery in a pair of shorts for this film had as much to do with giving the ladies some eye candy as it did with what to wear in Nassau in the Summer of ’65.

    • luckystrike721

      While I certainly would never go in for an inseam that short, Bond does need to wear something when he goes swimming, I suppose. However, I’m certainly glad that swimming trunks have lengthened in the years since – my grandfather tells a story of his trip to Hawaii with my grandma after he returned from WWII. It was his first visit to the beach and, being Irish-German, he was ill-prepared. The very short shorts for men at the time resulted in very badly burned legs and he had to sleep crouched over his bed.
      Teeritz also makes a good point – Thunderball probably gave a few more 1965 girlfriends a reason to go see Bond. The makers made up for it by giving men Claudine Auger, Luciana Paluzzi, and Martine Beswick. I myself made sure to include Claudine a few times while making this post. (Although admittedly not enough!)

      • teeritz

        Ahh, Claudine. She and Daniella Bianchi were the best Bond Girls of the Sixties…with Shirley Eaton running a very close third. Very close.
        Regarding that watch strap again, it was first seen in “Goldfinger” the year before. You would think that after all the money that “Goldfinger” made, Cubby Broccoli would have sprung for an actual Rolex Submariner for Connery to wear in the next film. Some folks have said that the Sub worn by Connery was in fact Broccoli’s own, but he never struck me as a dive watch wearing kind of guy.

        • luckystrike721

          My favorites as well, Teeritz! I can’t ignore Diana Rigg either, she certainly brought the magic trio of beauty, brains, and brawn to the role.

          Your wristwatch expertise is unparalleled (in my travels so far at least) – do you happen to know what Connery wore off-set?

  4. teeritz

    You know, I had actually typed in Diana Rigg. And then I remembered Shirley Eaton’s look shortly after Bond pushes her down on the bed when he’s on the phone to Headquarters. Rigg became 4th on the list, but in terms of the kind of girl Bond would marry, then Rigg’s Tracey Di Vicenzo was perfect.
    No idea what Connery wore in private life. There’s already enough heated debate about what kind of Rolex Bond wore in Fleming’s books. This picture (Connery with beard, thinning hair, and camera in hand);
    …shows a thin watch that makes me wanna say “Omega” (based on the lug design), but so many brands were producing a similar style of watch back in the Sixties, so it could be anything. There’s bound to be a better picture somewhere on the web.

  5. Pingback: Bond’s Casual Attire in Thunderball | BAMF Style
  6. Pingback: Casino Royale: Bond Lands in the Bahamas | BAMF Style
  7. Pingback: Bond Style – Black Tie in Thunderball | BAMF Style
  8. Pingback: Skyfall – Bond’s Peacoat in Shanghai | BAMF Style
  9. Simon Courtney

    The sunglasses are not Harlequin. They are Oliver Goldsmith Consul. Terence Young would have dressed Sean Connery in an English brand.

  10. Pingback: Bond Style – Crab Key Summer Attire in Dr. No | BAMF Style
  11. Pingback: Casino Royale: Bond’s Blue Sunspel Polo in Bahamas | BAMF Style
  12. Trackback: best seo companies for small business
  13. Frederick Drury

    Still no match to the sunglasses in this pic. The OG Consul’s do not have temples this thick, and the double dots are nearly attached here, as opposed to the Consuls, which are millimeters apart. Regardless of Terence Young’s theoretical preference for Brit wear, we have yet to see these super iconic shades identified.

  14. Pingback: Sean Connery's Bond Sunglasses - Iconic Alternatives
  15. Pingback: From Russia With Love – Bond’s Gingham Shirt and Swim Trunks | BAMF Style
  16. Dave

    This is actually the front cover of a brochure published at the time of Thunderball’s release, consisting of lots of photographs from the previous films as well as interviews with Connery, the girls, etc.

  17. Pingback: You Only Live Twice: Bond’s Pink Shirt in Japan | BAMF Style
  18. Pingback: Die Hard | BAMF Style
  19. Pingback: James Bond’s Beach Suitcase – Sean Connery Edition | BAMF Style
  20. Pingback: Spectre – Bond’s Black Suit and Aston Martin in Rome | BAMF Style
  21. Pingback: Spectre – Bond’s Navy Coat for Austrian Winter | BAMF Style
  22. Pingback: James Bond Swimwear from Connery to Craig - Iconic Alternatives
  23. Pingback: Top 5 James Bond Sunglasses - Iconic Alternatives
  24. Pingback: Bonjour Tristesse: David Niven’s Chambray Shirt and Swim Trunks | BAMF Style
  25. Catalina

    Interesting analysis of Sean Connery’s beachwear for the Thunderball movie. However, as one who’s seen this movie at least a dozen times, including its U.S. debut at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywoood (Dec., 1965), you’re assumption that Bond had sex underwater with Domino is a stretch, don’t you think? The underwater scene shows them embracing each other in their SCUBA diving gear, then descending below with lots of bubbles coming up, then ascending. But very in likely that would’ve had time for that, especially with all of their clumsy gear and tanks. Another thing, who today would really be interested in wanting beachwear from a movie that’s 55 years old?

    • luckystrike721

      Eek, I forgot I must have made that assumption — a lot of my facetious commentary in some of my earlier posts tends to make me cringe today! Revising that time capsule to my immaturity now…

      There has definitely been a strong demand for the Thunderball beachwear, and I believe that some of these pieces were among those that sold out quickest when Orlebar Brown introduced their Heritage Collection last year, which continues to expand with the increasing interest it receives:

      While the OB collection is a little pricy for my particular budget, I appreciate that the interest in swimwear/beachwear from ’60s cinema like Thunderball, Plein soleil, and The Thomas Crown Affair has inspired a return to somewhat more classic styles by the water: more linen shirts, flattering shorts, and espadrilles.

    • Frederick

      Thunderball is fantastic without ever being farsical. It works well within classic film license for fantasy love sequences, impossible acts of violent espionage, all set against the first real movie backdrop of nuclear terrorism. Who’s gonna go for this resplendent gear that Connery wore so well? anybody who’s willing to pay a little more for Summer fashion from the most pivotal era of style and design. I may have missed the great airline age but I know killer mod clothing when I see it! Add to that the Carribean influence, an ode to Ian Fleming’s coolest and most irreverent spy killer ever, and we have a winner!

  26. Pingback: Bond Style: Poolside Terry Cloth in Goldfinger | BAMF Style
  27. Pingback: Top (00)7 James Bond Sunglasses Part 1 - Iconic Alternatives
  28. Pingback: Don Draper's Gingham Sports Coat in "Tomorrowland" » BAMF Style
  29. Pingback: Tequila Sunrise: Mel Gibson's Post-Swim Herradura » BAMF Style
  30. Pingback: Bond Style - Black Tie in Thunderball » BAMF Style
  31. Pingback: Bond Style - Crab Key Summer Attire in Dr. No » BAMF Style
  32. Justin

    If you look carefully you will see the drink makes after he “throws back the little fish” is not a martini the dark bottle say Campari so it is most likely a Campari and tonic.

  33. Justin

    Also it is worth noting that band on the Rolex Submariner is not a NATO G10 but an RAF distinguished by his strap being one piece, rather than having the pin guard strap and metal rings. Check out

    For a replica of the actual strap worn in the films. I recently purchased one for both my Rolex Explorer ref 1016 and Submariner ref 14060M (No Date COSC). In true Bond fashion I order them a size smaller. 🙂 I might be a bit of a Bond Geek lol

  34. Pingback: The Swimmer: Donald's Suburban Poolside Style » BAMF Style
  35. Pingback: The 5 Best James Bond Sunglasses - Iconic Alternatives

Leave a Reply