Style / November 2015

MADE OF HONOR

Neither Jessica nor Elle was the first alluring female icon to don a chunky Rolex on her wrist; it was, in fact, a fictional character from the sexually fertile imagination…

Think of your favourite Bond girl. Think of Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder in Dr. No, emerging from a tropical sea in a white bikini complete with dagger holster, in what is surely one of the most blissfully erotic scenes on film. Picture the extraordinary beauty of Jane Seymour as Solitaire in Live and Let Die, or the dark-eyed, pouting mystery of Eva Green as Vesper Lynd in 2006's Casino Royale.

Then think of Goldfinger's Pussy Galore, the Bond girl in a class of her own. As portrayed by the pneumatic, deliciously naughty Honor Blackman - a very grown-up 39 at the time of filming - she's a tough, sophisticated woman where the rest are delicate, vulnerable girls. She also has a backstory that lifts that name from a double entendre so thin it barely qualifies as such into whole new realms of adult-only meaning and genuine resonance. And the key to it all is on her wrist.

We first meet Pussy after Bond (Sean Connery, of course) has been shot with a tranquiliser gun by the evil Auric Goldfinger (so called, as Shirley Bassey points out in the theme song, because 'he loves only gold'). Emerging from a full-screen blur, her face comes into focus gradually: first we see the frame of coiffed Swedish-blonde hair, followed by the structure of perfect cheekbones and straight, elegant nose. Then we see the gleam of mischief in her eyes and her beautiful lipsticked mouth curl, almost despite itself, into a smirk. Who is this? As if on cue, we see Bond's eyes widen and he asks just that. 'My name is Pussy Galore,' she purrs, drama-school English enunciation brought down an octave or two. 'I must be dreaming,' he replies.

In fact, he's on Goldfinger's private plane and she is the arch villain's personal pilot. And when he implies that this is some sort of euphemism ('just how personal is that?') he receives a curt 'I'm a damn good pilot - period.' And Pussy, as a proper pilot (and, indeed, the leader of her own all-female Flying Circus), wears a proper pilot's watch, namely the Rolex GMT-Master ref. 6542. Produced between 1954 and 1959, this model has since become known as the 'Pussy Galore', but was in fact a men's watch. This was possibly the first time a woman wore a watch of its kind in public, so it's a pretty bold style statement. It's also pretty damn sexy, a reinforcement of Pussy's girls-on-top sassiness.

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James Medd