Naomie Harris talks Bond, playing Moneypenny and Omega watches

Naomie Harris OBE on her standout career, being an Omega ambassador and a woman in the film industry and Miss Moneypenny’s choice of watch

By Laura McCreddie-Doak

Films like to have plot points that hinge on watches, particularly Bond films. There’s been a Rolex with a buzzsaw bezel in Live and Let Die, and a Breitling that doubles as a Geiger counter in Thunderball. Under Daniel Craig’s tenure, his Omega has been a remote detonator, an abseiling cable, and, despite only telling the time in Spectre, he did manage to get a Seamaster to explode in order to escape Blofeld’s clutches.

Aside from the gadgetry, though, they reveal little about the enigmatic 00 agent, except maybe that he’s a man who feels Planet Oceans are for chasing nefarious sorts through construction sites, but Seamaster Professionals are for the casino tables. 

Naomie Harris
Naomie Harris OBE at Omega’s Her Time House

This is not true of Bond’s former MI6 colleague and service chief M’s secretary, Eve Moneypenny, who has been played with feminist aplomb by Omega ambassador Naomie Harris since 2012’s Skyfall. “When I was asked to decide which watches Moneypenny would wear, I had a huge choice,” explains Harris, whose striking yellow and black Roksanda dress is in bold contrast to the warm beige and gold surrounds of Omega’s Her Time House, where we are talking.

This latest public exhibition and private member’s space set over three floors in a Georgian Mayfair townhouse is dedicated to the brand’s rich and varied history of making beautiful timepieces for women and is where Harris was in conversation with author and journalist Otegha Uwagba at an exclusive event to open the House. 

“It was incredibly important to me that the watches she wore, in Skyfall’s case a Seamaster Aqua Terra, fit with her story,” she says. “For this watch I imagined that she was gifted it by an older family member who in turn had had it gifted to them. For No Time to Die, she wears an Omega DeVille Prestige, and I thought of this as the first watch she’d actually bought for herself; a part of her growing up. It gave her more depth, allowed me to create layers for her, and find a way into the soul of this person.”

Naomie Harris OBE at Omega’s Her Time House

Finding soul and sympathy for characters is something that has defined Harris’s amazing 36-year career, for which she has been honoured with an OBE. Whether playing a hardened survivor of a zombie virus in 28 Days Later, the ex-girlfriend of a serial killer turned alien symbiote host in Venom: Let There be Carnage, or as a drug-addicted mother in Moonlight – for which she received four major awards’ nominations and the award for Best Supporting Actress at the London Critics’ Circle awards – she brings a thoughtfulness and humanity to the roles; characteristics she has also brought to her role as Omega ambassador.

There is sometimes a sense, when watch brands take on celebrity ambassadors, that the name in question isn’t really engaged with the brand at any level; that the partnership is just a leveraging of power. This couldn’t be further from the truth with Harris. The word “family” comes up a lot in conversation, with Harris conflating her Bond family with her Omega one, both of which she has been a part of for over a decade. 

“I do feel I’ve found a home,” she says. “There are so many brands out there that aren’t authentic, or passionate about true craftsmanship and quality, but Omega truly does stand for those things.” It must also help that this “family” has so any incredible watches from which Harris can choose. “I change my watches a lot according to my mood,” she says. “They are now such a fashion items, and I love to play with combining masculine watches with feminine outfits.”

Case in point this evening she has paired her phenomenal gown with a Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Black Black; the black on black ceramic a muscular contrast to the soft lines of her dress. 

Naomie Harris OBE at Omega’s Her Time House

However, there is one piece that truly stands out for her – the secret jewellery watch from 1955, Harris elected to wear at the Spectre premier. This very rare rivière in platinum had a shuttled-shaped bezel set with 44 baguette and trapezoid diamonds, 11 brilliants on the cover, and 55 more on comprising the bracelet. “I am so privileged to have worn a museum piece,” she says. “It was a design I chose because it just felt appropriate to the occasion. And definitely the one I’d steal, not that we’re advocating theft,” she says, with a smile.

With Omega opening a House exclusively celebrating women, on International Women’s Day at a time when women’s time and what they do with it feels highly politicised, what does the concept of “Her Time” mean to Naomie?

“When I hear those words, I think it is about having the privilege to have a moment to reflect,” she explains. “There are so many demands on women today to be a good mother, a carer, a wife, and then there’s the fixation on how women should look, which itself takes time. So, the idea of ‘her time’ for me is a reflection on the true essence of what it means to be a woman.” 

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