As the 1960s dawned, the James Bond franchise flourished. Armed with well-thumbed copies of Ian Fleming’s novels, future franchise producers Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman set about finding the perfect director for the first film in the secret agent series; 1962’s Dr. No. They settled on Guy Hamilton.
Hamilton — not coincidentally the name of Crockett & Jones’ latest limited-edition boot — had directed An Inspector Calls and assistant-directed The African Queen. And he was offered the helm of Bond’s first big screen outing; the Jamaica-set vehicle that propelled scotsman Sean Connery to international superstardom. Unfortunately, Hamilton decided to direct the disappointing Oliver Reed drama The Party’s Over instead — and it wasn’t until 1964’s Goldfinger that the filmmaker joined the franchise.
By the time Hamilton brought razor-rimmed bowlers, industrial lasers and the Aston DB5 to cinematic life, the stylish decade was in full Sixties swing. But, among the flared trousers and shaggy hair that typified those ten years, the Chelsea boot stood tall; an enduring design we still slip on to this day. In fact, so everlasting is the style that Crockett & Jones are this year launching the ‘Hamilton’ boot — in celebration of 60 years of 007.
It’s a well-heeled, much-loved nod to the slick, suave antics of James Bond — with traditional, straight cut elastics, a plain front whole vamp, oak bark leather sole, flexible shoulder insoles and a jockey back strip in matching calf leather.
The ‘Hamilton’ is also built on an original last from the 1960s — one with a traditional rounded toe shape. Last ‘236’ was dug out of storage by the Northampton-based shoemaker, who wanted to honour the first on-screen appearance of the superspy by creating a boot based on a form first sculpted in the year of Dr. No‘s release, 1962.
But this isn’t the first time Crockett & Jones has stepped out a fine Chelsea boot. The instantly recognisable style made its initial appearance in the brand’s range almost a century ago, in 1925. Yet it wasn’t until those exuberant, espionage-obsessed Sixties that the shoemaker added the ‘Chelsea’ to its stock catalogue for wider wholesale purchase.
The new ‘Hamilton’ boot is available in both black and ‘Ivywood’ antique calf leather, affording the style unrivalled versatility. And we’re sure 007 himself would approve — because Bond has been known to lace up and pull on his fair share of Crockett & Jones shoes in recent years. Daniel Craig’s take on the spy, in particular, has worn the ‘Islay’, a full brogue Derby style, the ‘Camberley’ double buckle monk boots and both ‘Tetbury’ and ‘Molton’ chukkas.
And, longer ago, in the big screen adaptations of both Thunderball and Goldfinger, Sean Connery wore short, elastic-sided ankle boots not dissimilar to this new ‘Hamilton’ style — which joins the ‘James’, last year’s limited-edition from the brand, released to celebrate the release of No Time To Die. This more formal shoe was released to pay homage to Crockett & Jones’ ‘Alex’ Oxford, which itself had made multiple appearances in the franchise.
But 2022 is the year of the ‘Hamilton’. Because it’s not only 60 years since Ian Fleming’s most famous creation first quipped and sipped his way through a movie of bon mots and martinis — it’s also 100 years since Guy Hamilton’s birth.
And, just as we owe much of Bond’s legacy to the British director (he went on to helm Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun), we owe much of Bond’s modern, generation-defining take on menswear to the ever-reliable, always stylish Crockett & Jones.
Crockett & Jones ‘Hamilton’ Chelsea Boot
Want more from the British shoemaker? Introducing the new ‘Boston’ loafer from Gentleman’s Journal x Crockett & Jones…
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