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With the exception of the same watch appearing in different films with the same abilities and mechanisms, Brosnan had 11 main gadgets issued to him by Q branch during his reign as 007. 1995-2002 was a period in time when technology was evolving quickly, especially after the birth and rapid growth of the internet. Cinema embraced this, particularly the Bond films, as Q’s gadgets were a perfect vehicle to channel this new-and-emerging appeal to audiences.
11 X-Ray Eyeglasses (The World Is Not Enough)
Perhaps one of Bond’s lamest gadgets is his X-ray glasses seen in The World Is Not Enough. They enable Bond to see through people’s clothing, granting him the ability to see whether a person is armed. However, the moment in the film is mainly used for comic purposes as Bond is eyeing the beautiful ladies in the bar. Providing he would be aware of individuals likely armed ahead of seeing his criminal friend Valentin Zukovsky, this was hardly a surprise to find guns concealed in clothing, so its usefulness is questionable.
10 Avalanche Ski Jacket (The World Is Not Enough)
This avalanche ski jacket from The World Is Not Enough makes perfect sense. Bond will be in snowy mountain terrain, and in the event of an avalanche, the jacket opens out a puffer shell that engulfs the wearer to survive the collapse of thick snow onto them.
The risk is, of course, if the avalanche is so severe that Bond is then unable to climb out of the snow as it’s too deep. Another problem is that his emergence from the show would be visible to any potential enemies nearby. Thankfully none of these scenarios played out, and the jacket serves Bond very well, but it’s perhaps not the most reliable gadget in Bond’s arsenal.
9 Explosive Eyeglasses (The World Is Not Enough)
Although this gadget appears in the very first scene of The World Is Not Enough, and does boast some impact on screen as Bond is able to turn the tables in a meeting with explosive aplomb, it’s finicky. Its use specifically requires Bond to have his gun placed in a position close to his targets but away from himself, plus he needs to take his glasses off to activate the bomb. It’s a complex gadget, but since it was perhaps designed with this very meeting in mind, it served Bond well. The explosion is not significant, however, and there were many ways this moment could have backfired on 007.
8 Parker Pen Grenade (GoldenEye)
The grenade pen seen in GoldenEye is utterly unsuspecting in its appearance and no one (not even Bond’s equal, Trevelyan) would be able to identity it as the deadly gadget it is. It’s stylishly simple and is a timeless James Bond gadget appropriate for today. It is easily stowed within a breast pocket and provides one of the tensest, nail-biting scenes in all of Bond as 007 watches on as the pen is being clicked by Boris, before finally batting it out of his hands to cause a devastating explosion, enabling his escape. As a simple, loud, cover-blowing grenade, however, there are more interesting, useful gadgets in the Brosnan era.
7 Omega Seamaster Grappling Watch (The World Is Not Enough)
This is the one and only time in the series when a watch demonstrates a grappling piton that is strong enough to lift Bond as well as hold its place in the concrete surface its piton is fired into. It’s a fun, thrilling moment in The World Is Not Enough, and absolutely saves Bond’s life (since Renard was always planning on blowing up the facility), therefore proving vitally useful for 007. Having the grappling device protrude from an Omega is more fun than from a belt, but the watch would surely be much more conspicuous than a belt, proving to be less stealthy a gadget for a spy.
6 Grappling Belt (GoldenEye)
Unsuspecting in its appearance, and disguised nicely by its superficial purpose of being an ordinary belt, this gadget hides under the radar nicely. As a grappling device, it launches a piton into the air and supports Bond as he swings to escape the archives building, before dramatically crashing through a window and landing in the parking yard populated by tanks. It’s an attractive moment in GoldenEye, as Bond has no choice but to leave Natalya behind as he launches himself to relative safety. It’s stronger and likely more reliable than the grappling watch, but as it boasts nothing particularly technologically innovative, it fits comfortably midway on this list.
5 Single Digit Sonic Agitator Ring (Die Another Day)
Aside from watches, this ring is actually one of the most glamorous gadgets Bond is equipped with within the series, despite its minute size. This unique ring, once twisted and placed against a sheet of glass, is capable of shattering the glass entirely into tiny shards the size of the ring itself. It’s another piece of technological genius that aids Bond on two occasions in the film. The first is to escape jeopardy in the company of his enemies, and the second is to rescue Jinx from drowning. Although only specifically glass-defining situations would see use in this gadget, it is one of the more stylish aspects of Die Another Day.
4 Omega Seamaster Detonator Watch (Tomorrow Never Dies)
Brosnan, like Craig, always had Omega watches throughout his tenure, each with slightly different capabilities. This watch from his second outing, Tomorrow Never Dies, boasted the ability to trigger a remote grenade, by twisting the watch dial to activate. The moment looks incredible on screen and gets Bond out of a really sticky situation. Even though it’s loud, blowing the spy’s cover, it’s a particularly useful explosive device since it’s remote-controlled and as such allows the user to detonate whenever they are comfortable and in an appropriate position to do so (unlike the exploding pen in GoldenEye, for example).
3 Credit Card Lock Pick (The World Is Not Enough)
James Bond is a spy, not always necessarily an action hero. He is a man of espionage first and foremost, and as such it’s refreshing to see Bond use a gadget that helps him in this primary endeavor. The credit card lock pick allowed Bond to gain access to some security-concentrated locales, with the credit-card-disguised-key presumably granting him access into most locations he would be required to investigate, making it a highly useful tool from The World Is Not Enough.
2 Omega Seamaster Laser Watch (GoldenEye)
One of the main appeals of the Omega Seamster laser watch is its nostalgia factor. GoldenEye came about when new audiences were getting into the franchise, after a several-year hiatus in the series, and it’s memorable as perhaps the first truly modern piece of dazzling technology in Bond. It’s also used in a very stylish way. Bond, trapped on a train with Natalya, uses the laser from his watch to slowly slice open the floor to climb out and escape the imminently exploding train with Natalya. The moment feeds the imagination and redefined what a Bond gadget meant in the contemporary age.
1 Ericsson JB988 Mobile Phone (Tomorrow Never Dies)
The Ericsson Jb988 is by far the most versatile Bond gadget in the Brosnan era. The phone is used to scan a fingerprint on a lock mechanism, and then to impart that same fingerprint scan onto the mechanism to open the safe. It is also able to eject electric bolts to shock someone or fry electrical equipment, as well as remote control his BMW 750iL using the touchpad the phone provides once opened up. James Bond would not have gotten far in Tomorrow Never Dies without this gadget considering the plot was so dependent on its many uses.