Roger Moore as James Bond, British government agent
Udaipur, India, Spring 1983
Release Date: June 6, 1983
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Emma Porteous
Tailor: Douglas Hayward
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Happy 00-7th of April! Easter weekend feels like the appropriate occasion to celebrate the debonair Roger Moore’s evening-wear for James Bond’s memorable “egg hunt” in his penultimate 007 adventure—the provocatively titled Octopussy, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this June.
Expanded from one of Ian Fleming’s short stories of the same name, Octopussy sent Mr. Bond to India for the first time. During his first night in Udaipur, he tracks down Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan) to the casino where he’s playing his nightly backgammon. Following his, uh, instinct, Bond abandons watching Kamal’s shady backgammon game to join the seductive blonde Magda (Kristina Wayborn) at the bar… striking out almost immediately. He follows her back to the game, where he steps in for a blowhard major to challenge Kamal to a 100,000-rupee round of backgammon… offering a Fabergé egg that he had somehow concealed in his right hip pocket the entire time.
As Bond and his pal Vijay (Vijay Amritraj) end up leading Khan’s assassin Gobinda (Kabir Bedi) on a chase through the streets of Udaipur, Octopussy illustrates how much fun the Bond franchise could have without relying on gadgets as Bond utilizes found items—not even necessarily weapons—to ward off his attackers, ultimately escaping to a hidden MI6 safehouse where it seems like the reliable Q (Desmond Llewelyn) has gotten his new workshop set up in less than a day, having been sent in quickly on Bond’s heels. Returning to his hotel that evening, Bond is surprised to find an invitation to meet the mysterious Magda… and her eyebrow-raising “little octopussy.”
What’d He Wear?
James Bond often wears black tie for gambling, here adequately dressed for the hot climate in an ivory dinner jacket. White and off-white dinner jackets were popularized as warm-weather alternatives during the interwar era, gaining widespread acceptance among gentlemen dressing for equatorial evenings on holiday in the 1930s. In his excellent analysis of the outfit at Bond Suits, Matt Spaiser concludes that the jacket may be either a lightweight plain-weave worsted wool or a linen-and-wool blend.
Like Moore’s other on-screen suits and tailored jackets in the early ’80s (and often off-screen as well), this jacket was made by Douglas Hayward. The peak lapels are self-faced, following convention for white dinner jackets, with a fashionably low single-button stance that proportionally meets the waistband of Bond’s trousers. The single white mother-of-pearl button on the front matches the three on each cuff. The jacket has gently padded shoulders, double vents, straight jetted hip pockets, and a welted breast pocket.
The dinner jacket suffers a considerable tear over the breast pocket from an assassin’s knife, though Bond’s wad of cash saved him from doing any greater damage (“thank God for hard currency!”) Bond hands the jacket over to one of Q’s technicians who sells herself short by calling the seamless repair job “the best we could do”.
Echoing his lightweight dinner jacket, Bond dresses to beat the heat in a white shirt made of cotton voile, a lightweight, plain-woven fabric characterized by its semi-transparent sheer nature. The sections of the shirt with more than a single layer of fabric appear more opaque—such as the spread collar, front placket, and double (French) cuffs—while the single-layered body of the shirt shows Roger Moore’s skin beneath the fabric. Bond fastens the rounded double cuffs with onyx-filled silver square cuff links.
A more formal evening shirt may have a front bib or pleats that would hide more of the skin from the section that shows when worn with a jacket, but Bond prioritizes comfort over decorum in this instance. (Not that I could blame him, as the several gentlemen wearing belts with their evening-wear in the casino would suggest a culture less bound by the “rules” of black tie.)
The shirt was made by London shirtmaker Frank Foster, who counted Moore among his many celebrity clients and crafted most of the shirts he wore as James Bond.
Bond wears a black silk self-tied bow tie, in the classic butterfly (thistle) shape.
Bond rarely wears the prescribed waist covering like cummerbund or waistcoat with his evening-wear, instead opting for elegant built-in solutions like this black silk waistband around the top of his trousers that closes through two silk-covered buttons on the right side. These black flat-front trousers are otherwise similar to conventional formal trousers with a black satin stripe down the side of each leg, finished with the requisite plain-hemmed bottoms rather than cuffs.
Bond wears an updated variation of the patent leather pump (also known as a court shoe) that had long been designated the most formal men’s shoe. Likely made by Ferragamo, these black patent leather slip-on shoes retain the basic silhouette of the plain-toe opera pump but with higher vamps each decorated with a plain strip of black grosgrain, a simpler alternative to the traditional grosgrain bow. He wears them with dressy socks made of thin black silk.
While debriefing with Q, Bond is instructed how he can track down the Fabergé egg. “The homing device is compatible with a standard-issue radio directional finder in your watch… if you haven’t lost it,” Q mentions, prompting 007 to pull back his shirt cuff and show off the Seiko G757 Sports 100 watch strapped to his left wrist. After two decades as a cinematic stalwart representing the height of sophistication and style, it’s surprising to see that Bond wears not just a sports watch with his black-tie ensemble but also such an inelegant digital watch… but that’s product placement for you!
This quartz-powered watch has a stainless steel case inset by a black polyurethane mitred-corner “bezel”, shaped like an inverted horseshoe with four retaining screws and “SPORTS 100” printed across the top. The large octagonal LCD display under the crystal consists of an “analog” clock in the upper left corner while the monochromatic digital time display extends across the bottom, complete with day/date functionality. As listed in the upper right corner, the other functions include a timer, alarm, dual timer, and stopwatch. The stainless steel link bracelet closes through a black-finished butterfly-style clasp.
While in Q’s lab, a couple of things also catch Bond’s eye, including a Seiko TV Watch that he uses to zoom in on a couple of other things that caught his eye.
Fresh off the success of pioneering the world’s first quartz watch in 1969, Seiko spent the ’70s racing against Casio to develop “computer watches” that would prefigure the modern smartwatch. As each met each other’s challenge with the Casio Databank and the Seiko Data 2000, Seiko finally took a great leap toward capturing the “active couch potato” market with the introduction of a TV that could be worn on the wrist, introduced in October 1982. The timing neatly coincides with production of Octopussy, which had started filming two months earlier and likely used a prototype for the “liquid crystal TV” watch that Bond would wear for the final act.
The wrist-wearing portion of the steel-cased Seiko TV Watch hardly differs in size from the modern Apple Watch with a display measuring 1.5 inches wide by 2 inches tall, consisting of a single-row digital timekeeper along the top with a 1.2″ liquid crystal display (LCD), responsive only to direct external light. As High Techies‘ excellent write-up of the watch explains, “the brighter the light, the clearer the picture.” Of course, there’s no watching TV at all without wiring the watch to the Walkman-sized TR02-01 receiver, shipped with the watch and designed to be worn inside the pocket… “assuming one has a convenient pocket,” of course. Q Branch appears to have modified Bond’s TV Watch to not only not require the wired receiver but also to provide an almost theatrical-quality resolution no doubt clearer than the 32-pixel display would provide in even the best light.
More traditionally aligned with Bond’s duties as a secret agent, 007 carries his Walther in a tan leather shoulder holster under his left armpit, with a cream-colored nylon strap that loops over his right shoulder to retain the rig.
When Bond and Vijay’s “company car” is being chased by a blunderbuss-wielding Gobinda through the streets of Udaipur, 007 naturally reaches inside his jacket to draw his Walther—only it’s not the Walther we’d gotten used to seeing over 20 years!
Instead, Bond was armed in Octopussy with the Walther P5, an updated design introduced by Walther in the late 1970s specifically to replace older, smaller-caliber pistols like Bond’s trusty PPK. Walther was so insistent on their new pistol that it was used not just for Roger Moore’s Bond but also the version of the character portrayed by Sean Connery, making his one-off return to the role in the “unofficial” competitor Never Say Never Again, released later in the year.
Intended to replace pistols like the blowback Walther PP series, the Walther P5 shared much of its mechanical design with the older Walther P38, including that both are recoil-operated pistols chambered for the 9×19 mm Parabellum cartridge as opposed to the smaller .32 and .380 rounds fired through the blowback-operated PP series. The aluminum alloy frame kept the P5 relatively light for its larger size and load, weighing about 1.75 pounds compared to the 1.43-pound PPK. While about 10,000 P5 Compact variations were made, the standard P5 was reasonably sized for Bond to conceal with an overall length of 7.1 inches and a 3.5-inch barrel.
The P5 gets kicked from Bond’s hands before he has the opportunity to use it. When Bond later tells Q “I’ve also mislaid my PPK” to account for its absence, it’s likely a mistake from the original script that failed to account for the fact that 007 would be carrying a different Walther in Octopussy.
Bond would again be armed with the traditional Walther PPK for the following film, A View to a Kill, and this would remain Bond’s preferred service weapon through the late ’90s when it would be more prolifically replaced by the larger Walther P99.
What to Imbibe
James Bond’s cinematic association with Bollinger champagne began at the start of Roger Moore’s tenure when his 007 ordered a bottle to his hotel room in Live and Let Die. Ten years later, the storied champagne house founded in Aÿ in 1829 remained his preferred bubbly, especially when toasting with lovers like Magda.
While Bollinger may have first appeared in a Bond film in 1973, its association with the character dates back to Ian Fleming’s novels, specifically the 22nd chapter of Diamonds are Forever, when Tiffany Case sends a steak (notably served with Sauce Béarnaise) and a bottle to his stateroom aboard the Queen Elizabeth: “There was a quarter bottle of Bollinger, a chafing dish containing four small slivers of steak of toast canapés, and a small bowl of sauce… Bond filled a glass with champagne and spread a lot of the Béarnaise on a piece of the steak and munched it carefully.”
How to Get the Look
James Bond wears a tastefully distinctive yet traditional warm-weather black tie kit in India, with plenty of character from the cool-wearing cloth of his off-white dinner jacket and voile shirt to the simple silk-adorned elegance of his trousers’ self-cummerbund and updated pumps… only his presumably MI6-issued sporty digital watch seems truly out of place.
- Ivory linen-and-wool blend single-button dinner jacket with self-faced peak lapels, welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and double vents
- White cotton voile shirt with spread collar, front placket, and rounded double/French cuffs
- Black silk butterfly/thistle-shaped bow tie
- Black flat-front formal trousers with silk waistband (with two-button right-side fastening), silk side stripes, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Black patent leather pump shoes with black grosgrain vamp strips
- Black silk dress socks
- Tan leather shoulder holster with cream-colored nylon strap
- Seiko G757 Sports 100 stainless steel digital watch with LCD display, timer/alarm/stopwatch functions, and stainless link bracelet with black-finished butterfly-style clasp
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
Easy come, easy go!