Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, smooth British government agent
Iceland, Winter 2002
Film: Die Another Day
Release Date: November 20, 2002
Director: Lee Tamahori
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Keep warm on this chilly 00-7th of February! Some of 007’s cinematic adventures are ideal “summer movies” (looking at you, Thunderball) while other adventures that follow Mr. Bond into snowy surroundings feel more appropriate to watch around this time of the year. Pierce Brosnan made his fourth and final appearance as James Bond in Die Another Day, which—with its Icelandic ice palace and cozy turtlenecks—clearly falls into the latter.
For his first MI6 mission as a reactivated double-0 agent after being released from North Korean captivity, Bond arrives in Iceland to investigate the mysterious millionaire Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens), who was modeled after the villainous Hugo Drax from Ian Fleming’s third Bond novel Moonraker though Graves also shares a few biographical similarities with Jay Gatsby, whom Stephens had portrayed in a 2000 A&E TV movie.
His relationship with fellow agent Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike) appears to have warmed since her initially chilly reception, as she spends the night with Bond in his room at Graves’ ice castle. He awakes to continue looking into Graves’ operation, connecting with NSA agent Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson (Halle Berry) along the way. Just as Bond thinks he and Miranda have the drop on Graves, the latter reveals that he’s had an ace in the hole… or under the sheets.
What’d He Wear?
Die Another Day continues James Bond’s sartorial tradition dating back to Goldfinger where 007 dresses in all black for sneaking around a villain’s compound. While adapted for a wintry climate with multiple layers and a bulky sweater, Mr. Bond couldn’t have hoped to be too inconspicuous by wearing all black against the snowy grounds of Gustav Graves’ ice palace… after all, it’s not like
Q R equipped him with adaptive camouflage like his Aston Martin!
Bond’s outer layer is the dark navy polyester insulated coat that he had worn for his arrival the previous day. The thigh-length coat recalls military field jackets, particularly with its shoulder straps (epaulets) and the flapped pockets over the hips that snap closed. It closes with a straight plastic front-zip and a fly with covered snaps (poppers) for additional insulation against the wind, plus two additional covered snaps to close the large collar when turned up over Bond’s neck.
Bond takes off his outer jacket to reveal a waist-length diving jacket made of black neoprene, a synthetic foamed rubber material favored for aquatic clothing due to its water resistance and light-wearing insular properties that keep the wearer warm even when diving in cold water.
The jacket has a straight front zip up to the base of the standing collar that overlaps, covering the top of his turtleneck. A full-chest flap covers the torso, secured in place by a black-piped zipper that arcs across the upper chest. A black inflation valve is positioned at mid-chest, and the jacket also appears to have two zip-entry pockets at hand level.
After Bond drops into Graves’ greenhouse, he slips out of the diving jacket to show the heavy, widely ribbed charcoal cashmere turtleneck that elevates his outfit from strictly task-driven tactical-wear. Perhaps more than any Bond film before it, Die Another Day strove to incorporate many callbacks to 007’s previous cinematic adventures, and this may have been selected as the cold-weather update to the black turtleneck and trousers worn by Roger Moore in Live and Let Die.
The screen-worn turtleneck was made by Ballantyne, a Scottish knitwear label founded in 1921 that “uses only first-rate natural cashmere yarns” sourced from Mongolian goat herds, according to James Bond Lifestyle, where you can read more about this sweater and the company.
Bond wears black neoprene flat-front diving trousers that match his jacket, styled with front pockets with black-piped openings that curve out from under the belt-line. The calves, knees, and back-thighs are reinforced in a tightly woven black, blue, and white that presents a low-contrast charcoal finish. The trousers have very wide loops around the waistband, through which Bond wears a belt of black heavy-duty nylon webbing that fastens through a black plastic “quick-release” slide buckle.
Bond wears Gore-Tex hiking boots with lugged black rubber outsoles that would provide better traction on the ice. These mid-calf boots follow a black, gray, and blue color scheme that coordinates with the rest of his outfit, with charcoal sueded uppers, lighter gray collars, and slate-gray rubberized toecaps that arc around the front of each boot with matching mudguards on the sides. The round black laces cross over dark blue tongues, anchored through a “quick-laced” system of four black vinyl side loops rather than traditional eyelets.
The Bond series has been linked with dive watches ever since Sean Connery strapped on his Rolex Submariner in the first movie, Dr. No, and it’s refreshing to see him wearing a diver while actually… diving! After decades of brand shifts between Rolex and Seiko, the Brosnan era introduced Omega as 007’s watch of choice, a product placement deal that has continued through Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Bond.
While Craig’s Bond would rotate through multiple Omegas over the course of one movie, Brosnan’s Bond switched only once, updating his quartz-powered Seamaster in GoldenEye to the automatic Omega Seamaster Professional 2531.80.00 that he would wear from Tomorrow Never Dies through Die Another Day. (You can read more about the Brosnan-era Seamaster 2531.80.00 at James Bond Lifestyle.)
Omega introduced the Seamaster in 1948 as a water-resistant dress watch, expanding the line over the centuries to include dive watches in the ’50s, updated with the introduction of the sporty Diver 300M series in 1993, named in reference to their water resistance down to 300 meters.
Brosnan’s screen-worn Seamaster Diver 300M features a 12-sided uni-directional rotating bezel and wave-motif dial both colored blue, suggesting both the dive watch’s maritime associations and Commander Bond’s naval background. In lieu of numeric hour indices, the watch has luminous markers in addition to a white date window at the 3 o’clock position, with the hour, minute, and second hands each detailed with a luminous end. The five-piece link bracelet is rhodium-plated 316L stainless steel to match the 41mm case, with its helium release valve jutting out from 10 o’clock and a screw-down crown at 3 o’clock… though the Die Another Day Seamaster has been reconfigured by Q Branch with a laser integrated into the crown that allows Bond to literally break the ice.
On his “standard-issue ring finger”, Bond wears what R (John Cleese) had dubbed an “ultra high-frequency single-digit sonic agitator unit”… in other words, a glass-breaking ring that should come in handy if a villain would ever be holding you at gunpoint against a glass surface. (You can find a replica of the ring at Your Props.)
The gold band consists of ten panels, separated by a rope-like detail, with a silver-toned knob jutting out from each panel. The ring’s high-frequency sonic agitation can evidently be activated by quickly rotating the ring around the wearer’s finger, resulting in a high-pitched whirr that precedes the ring breaking through whatever glass surface it happens to be contacting.
Thanks to help from Q Branch’s Glass-Breaking Ring Division and Die Another Day‘s CGI effects team that granted Mr. Bond the ability to windsurf through an arctic storm, 007 para-sails back to land and into the cockpit of his latest Aston Martin, where he engages not just the “adaptive camouflage” but also the heating system, pulling off his turtleneck to show yet another dark layer: a black mid-weight pullover with a snap-fastened quarter-top that extends up to the standing collar. He pushes the set-in sleeves up his forearms before speeding across the ice.
You can read more about 007’s wintry layers in Die Another Day at Bond Suits.
“Aston Martin calls it the Vanquish, we call it the Vanish,”… and Harry Potter called it an invisibility cloak. The latest development from Q Branch equips Bond with an invisible car, a highly improbably technology that many lambasted as a low mark for the series, including the late Sir Roger Moore, who quipped “I thought it just went too far—and that’s from me, the first Bond in space!”
Of course, that’s not to criticize the car itself, a stunning silver 2002 Aston Martin V12 Vanquish, a sleek sports tourer that had just been unveiled at the 2001 Geneva Motor Show. The Vanquish became Aston Martin’s flagship car through the early 2000s, boasting a naturally aspirated 5.9-liter V12 engine mated to a six-speed automated manual transmission that generated 460 rated horsepower, accelerating from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds with a top speed exceeding 190 mph.
In addition to its stock performance, Q Branch has modified Bond’s Vanquish with “all the usual refinements” including an ejector seat, torpedoes, and target-seeking shotguns that 007 immediately employs to “shoot through” the manual, though the “adaptive camouflage” capabilities remain its most-associated aspect.
2002 Aston Martin V12 Vanquish
Body Style: 2+2 grand tourer
Layout: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive (RWD)
Engine: 5.9 L 48-valve V12
Power: 460 hp (343 kW; 466 PS) @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 400 lb·ft (542 N·m) @ 5000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automated manual
Wheelbase: 105.9 inches (2690 mm)
Length: 183.7 inches (4665 mm)
Width: 75.7 inches (1923 mm)
Height: 51.9 inches (1318 mm)
According to a Bonhams auction listing for one of the screen-used Aston Martins, “EON Productions commissioned three production Vanquishes, chassis nos. ‘172’, ‘173’, and ‘174’ to become ‘hero’ cars for the close-ups of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. Strikingly presented in Tungsten Silver livery with charcoal leather interiors, Linn audio systems and brushed aluminum centre consoles… these three cars had a relatively easy life during filming and were used exclusively for close-ups, being spared the dramatic and punishing stunts and chase sequences which were the province of vehicles commissioned by EON special effects department. These were four-wheel drive, Ford Explorer-based vehicles with Vanquish coachwork. Two of the special effects vehicles survive, remaining the property of Aston Martin Ltd. and neither can be sold or registered for road use.”
The Explorer-based Aston Martins had their V12 engines swapped out for 300-horsepower V8 engines and four-wheel-drive systems that functioned better for stuntwork on the ice.
As the Bond series evolved to keep up with modern action cinema in the ’90s, so did his choice of armament. Bond’s iconic Walther PPK had been originally designed nearly 70 years before Pierce Brosnan starred as 007 for a second time in Tomorrow Never Dies, so EON and Walther worked together to arm the world’s most famous secret agent with their most innovative handgun, the Walther P99.
The striker-fired, recoil-operated P99 was developed in response to trends established by competition from manufacturers like Glock, which had revolutionized semi-automatic pistols in the late 20th century with their polymer-framed, high-capacity handguns. The first generation of P99 pistols operate with a traditional double-action/single-action (DA/SA) system, though with a decocker rather than an external hammer; for the second generation of P99 pistols, this would become the P99 AS (Anti-Stress), in addition to the new P99 DAO (Double-Action Only) and Glock-style P99 QA (Quick-Action) variants.
The P99 has been produced in both 9x19mm Parabellum and .40 S&W versions, the former more common while the second was in response to prevailing American law enforcement needs of the era. Depending on the age of the pistol, the P99 can carry magazines with up to 15 or 16 rounds of 9mm, with an additional round in the chamber.
Though considerably larger and with double the ammunition load (of a heavier, more powerful ammunition, no less), the P99’s polymer frame meant that the weapon generally equalled the weight of the all-metal PPK when unloaded.
His hesitation to shoot former sexual partners softened after the events of The World is Not Enough, Bond indicates that he would have very willingly shot Miranda in the face after she reveals herself to be a double agent… but his gun simply clicks empty! The deceptive Miranda reveals that she took advantage of Bond sleeping with his gun under the pillow (as established in Tomorrow Never Dies) by swapping out his P99’s loaded magazine with an empty one.
In my opinion, this is a bit ridiculous, especially for a gun like the Walther P99 that becomes about 30% heavier (from 24.75 ounces empty to about 32 ounces loaded) when fully loaded with 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition. Such a scenario may have been possible if Bond still carried his PPK, as the weight of a PPK’s full magazine is somewhat more negligible against the full-metal PPK’s overall mass, but you would still expect a trained agent to immediately tell the difference. Of course, Bond has been out of practice for about a year and a half thanks to the North Koreans; the VR sequence further illustrates that, in that time, MI6 increasingly relied on digital rather than practical training, perhaps to the detriment of real-life lessons like being able to tell whether or not your gun is loaded.
I’ll allow the possibility that Miranda—whom, as a fellow MI6 agent, carries her own P99—had specially prepared a magazine full of snap caps or dummy rounds that she slipped into Bond’s P99 while he was sleeping, to some degree making up the difference in weight vs. a fully empty magazine.
The Walther P99 starred as Bond’s preferred sidearm from 1997 (Tomorrow Never Dies) until 2006, when Daniel Craig carried it for his debut as Bond in Casino Royale before reverting back to the PPK series from Quantum of Solace onward.
How to Get the Look
Bond’s turtleneck and trousers alone would be attractive après-ski apparel, though you may want to introduce a touch of color so that your fellow après-skiers don’t think you’re cosplaying as a secret agent… or don’t blow your cover if you actually are one!
- Dark-navy polyester thigh-length field jacket with zip/snap-up front, shoulder straps (epaulets), and flapped hip pockets
- Black neoprene waist-length diving jacket with standing collar, arced chest-zip flap with integrated valve, and zip-entry hand pockets
- Charcoal cashmere wide-ribbed turtleneck sweater
- Black soft quarter-top pullover shirt with snap buttons
- Black neoprene flat-front diving trousers with wide belt loops, straight front pockets, and blue/gray-woven reinforced knees, thighs, and calves
- Black nylon webbed belt with black plastic “quick-release” sliding buckle
- Black, gray, and blue Gore-Tex mid-calf hiking boots
- Gold-paneled and silver-knobbed ring
- Omega Seamaster 300M Chronometer 2531.80.00 with 39mm stainless case, blue bezel and dial (with 3:00 date window), and stainless link bracelet
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
So you live to die another day.