Bond in Action: Daniel Craig’s Racer Jacket and Mockneck in Spectre

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre (2015)

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre (2015)

Vitals

Daniel Craig as James Bond, British government agent

London, November 2015

Film: Spectre
Release Date: October 25, 2015
Director: Sam Mendes
Costume Designer: Jany Temime

WARNING! Spectre spoilers ahead!
(And, if you’ve already seen No Time to Die, please try to avoid adding any spoilers in the comments!)

Background

M: It’s good to have you back, 007.
Bond: Sir.

After waiting more than a year and a half of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, No Time to Die is finally arriving in U.S. theaters tomorrow! To celebrate on the 00-7th of October, let’s check in on the last time we saw Mr. Bond in action.

Spectre—Daniel Craig’s fourth and penultimate film as 007—reintroduced us to his long-time nemesis and chief of the international terrorist organization SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz). Bond and Blofeld’s last confrontation in Morocco had left the villain with his eye scarred and his thirst for Bond’s blood renewed. Teaming up with an action-oriented M (Ralph Fiennes), Miss Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), Q (Ben Whishaw), and chief of staff Bill Tanner (Rory Kinnear), Bond and his latest love interest Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) plan to dismantle Blofeld’s attempt to control their intelligence… only to be thwarted when SPECTRE operatives kidnap Madeleine and stash her in the bowels of MI6 headquarters, which had been scheduled for demolition after it was bombed during the events of Skyfall.

Will Bond have the opportunity to save Madeleine and himself? Will there be a conveniently located net in case he and Madeleine need to jump to safety? Will he show Blofeld mercy or exact vengeance on “the author of all [his] pain”? (If you’ve already seen Spectre, then you already know!)

What’d He Wear?

One additional brief yet stylish vignette that follows this set-piece in Spectre, but the last time we truly saw 007 in action was during this London-set sequence that culminated on the Westminster Bridge. Bond dresses appropriately for an urban-set evening adventure, his kit tactical enough to suit the heavy action to follow while also stylish enough that it wouldn’t raise eyebrows like his combat-oriented N.Peal rig in No Time to Die.

As with all of Bond’s attire, this outfit has been thoroughly examined by Matt Spaiser on his masterful blog Bond Suits, where parallels were drawn to the character’s heritage—specifically vis-à-vis Roger Moore’s black turtleneck in Live and Let Die—as well as Craig’s sartorial antecedent, Steve McQueen.

In addition to these earlier icons, Bond’s dark zip-up casual jacket over a dark jumper also reminded me of his contemporary action hero Jason Bourne, particularly as Matt Damon was dressed for the first three entries in the Bourne trilogy, from his navy mock-neck in The Bourne Identity to the black waist-length jacket over yet another set of sweaters in The Bourne Ultimatum.

 

For better or worse, the Bond franchise has always tapped into the cinematic zeitgeist of its moment (e.g., blaxploitation in Live and Let Die then sending Roger Moore to space by decade’s end in Moonraker), and the overlap of Daniel Craig’s tenure with the popularity of the fast-moving, realism-driven action of the Bourne series would understandably result in some seepage into 007’s world, whether that be the shaky-cam fight scenes of Quantum of Solace or Bond’s understated wardrobe for the finale of Spectre.


Bond wears a close-fitting racer-style jacket by John Varvatos made from a navy blue goat suede that’s so dark it almost appears black on screen, similar in philosophy to the midnight-hued tuxedoes out hero is known to favor. (The only time I was able to significantly discern any blue was here, under the harsh lighting of the SPECTRE kidnappers’ van as 007 is being trussed and delivered to MI6 headquarters.)

The Varvatos jacket is a fashionable evolution of the “café racer” style that had evolved in mid-20th century England as a simplified version of busier motorcycle jackets like the heavy leather Schott Perfecto with their asymmetrical front-zips and excessive snaps, straps, and flaps.

Varvatos had marketed their fully lined Racer Jacket commercially as “a double agent-approved style from the archives of MI6,” perhaps doing Mr. Bond a disservice in questioning his loyalty to the Brits… though the simplified standing collar—sans the throat-latch strap featured on many racer jackets—echoes the mandarin collars of the “Mao jackets” traditionally associated with Bond villains like Blofeld. Indeed, Spectre leans into the similarities between Bond and his signature nemesis in the annals of MI6, the mirror image against the bullet-ridden glass not so subtly offering the audience a “we’re not so different, you and I” moment as brother faces down brother.

Christoph Waltz and Daniel Craig in Spectre (2015)

Brother vs. brother… and standing collar vs. standing collar. Note that Blofeld’s jacket has a throat latch not unlike those frequently found on racer jackets, though Bond’s minimalist John Varvatos jacket has only a simplified standing collar.

Bond’s jacket has a two-way matte gunmetal zipper that extends all the way from the waist hem up to the top of the standing collar. The minimalist styling avoids offering any items that could snag or otherwise interfere over the course of any action, aside from the zippered gauntlet cuffs that are a traditional feature of racer jackets. Stitching around the front of the jacket’s mid-body separates the reinforced darts above it the vertical slit-like entries for the hand pockets below, while a vertical seam connects the two back pieces.

Read more about this jacket at James Bond Lifestyle.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre (2015)

Bond had started wearing N.Peal knitwear in Skyfall, increasing how much of his wardrobe had come from this British brand up through No Time to Die, which features a commando-style outfit consisting almost entirely of N.Peal goods. Indeed, N.Peal has smartly capitalized on its growing association with the Bond franchise, introducing its “007 Collection” that includes knitwear inspired by and—in some cases—directly from the movies.

Spectre featured a trio of sweaters by N.Peal: one light gray cable-knit turtleneck and two lighter-weight “NPG-300 Fine Gauge” mockneck jumpers made from a luxurious blend of 70% merino wool and 30% silk. The turtleneck and one of the mocknecks—in a shade marketed as “lapis blue”—were each worn for snowy scenes set in Austria.

The nighttime action at the climax of Spectre calls for 007 to dress for work under cover of darkness, so he pulls on his second of these fine-gauge mocknecks in a dark charcoal gray. As Matt Spaiser has observed for Bond Suits, “grey is actually a little better for hiding in the dark than true black is.” As of October 2021, N.Peal still offers this charcoal mockneck jumper among its 007 Collection.

The mockneck is a smart alternative to the full turtleneck, the reduced folds around his neck giving him a tactical advantage (despite Sterling Archer’s insistence on the full turtleneck as a “tactile-neck”) as well as preventing him from overheating during the running, jumping, and shooting required of an action hero. The banded mockneck is narrowly ribbed like the cuffs and waist hem, which Bond tucks in despite its untucked appearance in promotional photography.

The fit and color suggest an update of the black turtleneck worn by Roger Moore for his debut as Bond in Live and Let Die, and marketing for Spectre capitalized on this by featuring Daniel Craig wearing his smooth dark brown leather shoulder holster over this form-fitting jumper. (Since Bond frequently tucks his Walther PPK under his left arm, we can assume he’s wearing—or at least meant to be wearing—this same shoulder holster on screen.)

Read more about this mockneck at James Bond Lifestyle.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre (2015)

One of the earliest released promotional shots from Spectre, Daniel Craig wearing his shoulder holster over a dark mock-neck recalled Roger Moore’s debut as 007 and—outside the Bond franchise—Steve McQueen’s famous style in Bullitt.

The action-set climactic sequences of Bond’s previous two adventures—Quantum of Solace and Skyfall—had been set outside the city, allowing 007 to wear more tactically oriented trousers like denim jeans and corduroys, respectively. Though his clothing in London at the end of Spectre could hardly be confused with dressing for business, Bond still dresses more befitting the urban environment in a pair of gray-toned flat front trousers.

These trousers are micro-ticked in gray on black, the pattern providing a necessary contrast against the similarly shaded jumper. The maker has been identified by Neil Barrett, as mentioned by James Bond Lifestyle and Bond Suits, which described the viscose, nylon, polyester, and elastane construction among other details of the narrow fit. The trousers have Western-style frogmouth pockets, button-through back pockets, and tapered plain-hemmed bottoms with no break, showing his likely black socks. Bond holds his trousers up with a dark brown textured leather belt that closes through a gunmetal-finished single-prong buckle.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre (2015)

Getting dragged to a waiting van by Blofeld’s henchmen doesn’t bode well for the longevity of Bond’s life or his suede boots.

Steve McQueen’s influence on Daniel Craig’s style continues through his footwear, a pair of Sanders & Sanders “Hi-Top” two-eyelet ankle boots with snuff brown suede uppers and black crepe rubber soles. Known colloquially as “playboy boots”, these combine the chukka boot aesthetic and the desert boot’s characteristic crepe sole. McQueen wore his Hutton Original Playboys off- and on-screen throughout the first decade of his career, prominently seen in The BlobBullitt, and The Thomas Crown Affair, as well as his 1964 drive up the California coast as famously photographed by William Claxton.

Though Hutton has resumed production of the Portguese-made boots that the celebrated King of Cool made famous, Bond’s screen-worn boots were made by Sanders & Sanders, which—until recently—had been offered via Bond heritage brand Mason & Sons. You can still find Sanders boots for sale via Stuarts, or you can try your luck with the budget-friendly brand British Walkers via Amazon.

Read more about these boots at James Bond Lifestyle.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre (2015)

Brother vs. brother again, though Bond arguably has the upper hand this time. Were 007 more of a vengeful hero, he would have been in the perfect position to demand Blofeld kiss his foot, à la Red Grant.

As he had already detonated the bomb in his Q-issued Omega with the NATO strap, Bond brings back the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M Master Co-Axial that he had worn for the Día de Muertos opening sequence in Mexico. The Spectre-worn Aqua Terra has been identified as the model 231.10.42.21.03.003, an update of the Aqua Terra that Bond had worn in London three years earlier during the events of Skyfall.

Rather than some of the sportier Seamaster dive watches that have cycled through Bond’s collection, this Aqua Terra chronometer has a more formal presentation. The 41.5mm-wide case is a polished stainless steel, matching the 20mm-wide three-piece link bracelet. A plain fixed bezel encircles the blue dial under scratch-resistant crystal. The dial is detailed with luminous non-numeric hour markers, small Arabic numeral minute markers at five-minute intervals around the outer rim, and an asymmetric black date window at the 3 o’clock position.

Per its designation, this automatic chronometer is water-resistant down to 150 meters, a depth that fortunately goes untested during this sequence as it’s doubtful that Bond’s suede jacket would survive the plunge.

Read more about this watch at James Bond Lifestyle.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre (2015)

After his last confrontation with Blofeld in Morocco, Bond is forced to suffer the indignity of wearing an Omega that isn’t rigged by Q to double as an explosive device.

The Guns

Bond is briefly captured by SPECTRE henchmen, one of which carries a Heckler & Koch VP9 that Bond uses to swiftly dispatch the two thugs guarding him. According to IMFDB, Spectre is one of the first recorded instances of the pistol’s use on screen. (This scene wouldn’t be the first though, as Bond had earlier acquired a different VP9 from other SPECTRE henchmen while fighting in the Austrian snow.)

Aesthetically, the polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol somewhat resembles the Walther P99 that Bond had used beginning from Pierce Brosnan’s second 007 movie Tomorrow Never Dies through Daniel Craig’s debut in Casino Royale. However, the lightweight and ergonomic VP9 (referring to a “Volkspistole” chambered in 9×19 mm Parabellum) is a considerably newer design, introduced in June 2014 as an innovative replacement for the Bavarian State Police’s aging Heckler & Koch P7 pistol. In addition to the standard 9mm variant, which loads from 15- and 20-round magazines, Heckler & Koch also produces the VP40 variant in .40 S&W.

As I don’t have any firsthand experience with the VP9, I turned to my friend Caleb—who manages the excellent Commando Bond blog and Instagram—for more insight, featured here:

The VP9 features some of the most phenomenal ergonomics ever seen on a polymer handgun. Not only are the back-straps removable, but the side panels are as well, allowing users to build out a grip that truly suits their hands. When Heckler & Koch had first released this handgun, I had just begun working in the world of firearms. I remember literally saying “wow” under my breath when I first held this pistol. This love affair hasn’t stopped seven years later. In fact, I’ve only grown to appreciate it all the more. The feeling is indescribable, outside of that three letter word. Truth be told, it only gets better from there. The gun shoots like a dream. Straight out of the box, the trigger is a crisp 5.4-lb pull, with a reset travel distance of .12 inches, so short that follow up shots are easily made and are very true.

Eagle-eyed Bond fans might notice that this handgun shares many aesthetics with Bond’s favorite polymer framed 9mm, the Walther P99. This handgun revolutionized the polymer framed market, and its DNA still pulses through the veins of so many handguns today—not just Walthers! From the red striker ready indicator to the paddle magazine release and extreme attention to comfort, it’s no wonder this handgun found its way into Bond’s hands. While the VP9 was merely recovered by Bond from SPECTRE agents, it feels proper that a pistol that this love letter to 007’s first major carry transition found its way into a Bond film.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre (2015)

Despite finding himself surrounded by the evidence of his storied career, Bond keeps his VP9 trained ahead, ready to take down Blofeld… or his mirror image.

After he presumably empties the VP9 firing at Blofeld’s helicopter, Bond discards it and draws his own yet-unfired Walther PPK from its shoulder holster under his jacket. Walther introduced the blowback-operated PPK in the early 1930s as a more concealable variation of the otherwise similar Walther PP (“Polizeipistole“). The PPK may have remained the ignominious distinction as the Nazi pistol that Hitler had used to kill himself had it not been suggested by firearms expert Geoffrey Boothroyd as a reasonable replacement for the literary James Bond’s underpowered .25-caliber Beretta. Beginning with the novel Doctor No, Ian Fleming armed his secret agent with a Walther PPK, giving rise to one of the most iconic firearms of all time, known by name even by those otherwise unfamiliar with guns.

With some limited exceptions, the PPK has been primarily chambered in .32 ACP (7.65x17mm Browning SR) and .380 ACP (9x17mm Short); aside from his palm-reading PPK/S .380 in Skyfall, Bond generally carried the former, despite the relatively anemic qualities of .32-caliber ammunition in combat.

Though both Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig had briefly switched to the more modernized Walther P99 as stated, tradition returned the iconic PPK to Craig’s Bond in Quantum of Solace, even against the abundant smaller, lighter, and yet more powerful pistols that have been developed in the decades since Bond first appeared on screen. Compare the polymer-framed VP9 to the all-metal PPK; the VP9 weighs only four ounces more despite being a full-sized sidearm that carries twice the amount of rounds as the PPK (and considerably more powerful ammunition at that.)

Yet, Spectre continues Skyfall‘s motif of “sometimes the old ways are the best” by having Bond’s small-caliber PPK—an aging, short-barreled design—fire the well-placed shot that actually manages to bring down Blofeld’s helicopter. (True, the thing may have already been damaged a bit by the multiple rounds hitting it, but a single .32-caliber bullet fired from so far away doing that much damage? Bond must be good!)

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre (2015)

Who knew the humble Walther PPK could technically serve as an anti-aircraft weapon?

Bond then catches up with an injured Blofeld, holding him at gunpoint with the PPK. “Finish it,” Blofeld insists, but Bond makes a show of dropping the PPK’s magazine out, clearing the chamber, then informing Blofeld:

Out of bullets.

Go Big or Go Home

M brings his skeleton crew to meet a now-rogue Bond at a safe house above “Hildebrand Prints & Rarities”, a subtle tribute to the Fleming short story “The Hildebrand Rarity” that may be otherwise difficult to shoehorn into the EON franchise as a title.

The MI6 team arrives with weapons and equipment in a khaki cotton duffel bag identified as a J. Crew Abingdon Weekender Bag. Nondescript enough to be carried through town without raising attention, the sturdy waxed cotton canvas construction evokes classic military and hunting gear, subtly serving M’s purpose of preparing Bond and his team for potential combat.

Accessed through a long top zipper, the bag’s central storage compartment is lined in light but durable olive cotton with a small zippered pocket along the top, plus additional pockets accessed on the outside. The bag is finished with brown leather accents and brass hardware from the carry handles and shoulder strap to the buckles that fasten down each side of the bag. Read more about this bag at James Bond Lifestyle.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre (2015)

M’s J. Crew Abingdon bag on the table beside them, Bond checks the load in his trusty Walther PPK.

I had a Leo-pointing-at-the-screen moment when I first saw Spectre in theaters back in October 2015, recognizing the J. Crew bag as the same khaki duffel bag that my sister and her husband had gifted me two years earlier for being part of their wedding. Indeed, this was one of the very few times I’d actually been ahead of the curve in owning the style from an aspirational character.

More than eight years and dozens of trips after I’d received my monogrammed J. Crew Abingdon Weekender bag, I can personally testify that it has withstood the rigors of travel—from connecting flights to road trips—with aplomb. As its name suggests, the carryon-compatible Weekender can pack all the essentials for several nights away from home, with the outside pockets providing easy access to handy travel items whether you’re reaching into the back seat for sunglasses or under your plane’s seat for AirPods.

The Spectre finale kit.

Yours truly recreates a Spectre moment with the khaki waxed cotton J. Crew Abingdon Weekender bag. (Also featured: a black “veggie suede” Banana Republic bomber jacket, black merino wool Gap turtleneck, steel Invicta Pro Diver “Submariner-tribute” watch, Walther P99AS and cognac suede Vega IWB holster.)

In addition to M’s Glock 17 pistol and the other weapons and equipment noted, the scene also shows us a small black knife, which Bond evidently carries clipped to the right side of his trousers as we see when he flips it out to release Madeleine from her binds after discovering her in MI6 headquarters. This is a Gerber 06 Automatic S30V Drop Point knife, activated by a button that flicks out the black-finished stainless steel 3.7″-long blade; Gerber offered the knife with both the “Drop Point” and angular “Tanto” blade configurations. When the blade closes into the smooth grooved aluminum handle, the 6.3-ounce knife measures only 4.8″ long.

As with the VP9, I knew Caleb of Commando Bond would have some firsthand insight from his experience carrying and using the Gerber 06 Auto:

This blade is another unsung hero of the Craig era though, like the CRKT Sting from Quantum of Solace, we don’t see a whole lot of it. However, after carrying it daily for a year, I’ve learned that this blade, just like the Sting, has real-world applications and certainly earned its right to be in a Bond film. One of the things I’ve grown to deeply appreciate about this knife is the safety mechanism. While that may seem silly on a blade, I’ve seen many instances of auto-opening knives deploying inside of pockets or accidentally into a hand without one. Those blades are no joke, and with all the violent action we see Craig’s Bond take part in (let’s not forget all of those intense injuries the man has experienced to bring us such amazing pieces of cinema), the word “embarrassing” wouldn’t quite surmise how disappointing it would be for Bond to impale himself accidentally.

What I’ve also been pleasantly surprised to learn is that the 06 Auto is very popular with the military community, as they have been issued to them. Many of the veterans I work with speak very highly about these knives and love sharing brief memories of their usage as a tool during deployments. From the oversized button and full-size grip to the long, thick blade, this knife is meant for heavy-duty work and gloved hands all day long. The bottom of the pommel also comes to a dull point as an additional defensive striking surface. Overall, this knife is a perfect fit for a man like Bond, who likes minimal styling and military pieces as he comes from that world himself.

Read more about Bond and M’s Gerber “switchblade” knives at James Bond Lifestyle.

How to Get the Look

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre (2015)

Daniel Craig filming Spectre (2015), sourced from thunderballs.org.

Depending on the context, the all-dark layers may be a little sleek for most people, but Daniel Craig’s outfit for these climactic action scenes in Spectre pay tribute to the character’s heritage as well as his own King of Cool-inspired costume approach, all while balancing practicality with the luxury that has come to be associated with the 007 franchise.

  • Dark navy goat suede racer-style jacket with short standing collar, two-way zipper, vertical-entry hand pockets, and zip-back sleeves
    • John Varvatos “Racer Jacket”
  • Dark charcoal merino wool/silk mockneck jumper with set-in sleeves
    • N.Peal “NPG-300 Fine Gauge”
  • Gray-on-black micro-ticked synthetic-blend flat front trousers with belt loops, frogmouth-style front pockets, button-through back pockets, and tapered plain-hemmed bottoms
    • Neil Barrett
  • Dark brown textured leather belt with gunmetal silver-toned square single-prong buckle
  • Brown suede two-eyelet crepe-soled “playboy boots”
    • Sanders & Sanders
  • Black socks
  • Dark brown leather shoulder holster, for Walther PPK (left-hand draw)
  • Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M Master Co-Axial 231.10.42.21.03.003 chronometer with stainless steel 41.5mm case, blue dial with 3:00 date window, and stainless steel three-piece link bracelet

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the movie.

The Quote

You’re a hard man to kill, Blofeld.

2 comments

  1. teeritz

    You may have already read what I thought of this film when it was released, BAMF.
    I like DC’s tactical get-ups in his tenure as Bond. All those stealthy dark colours!
    However, as I’ve often said on wristwatch forums, I’ve always had a major gripe regarding his Bond wearing two different watches per film (“Quantum of Solace” notwithstanding). It’s obviously an Omega marketing ploy, but it makes Bond come across as some pathetic wristwatch brand fanboy.
    Like myself.

    Greatly looking forward to No Time To Die, and I really hope it makes up for SPECTRE.

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