What is the hottest must-have executive desk accessory right now? Not an iPad mini, a USB coffee mug warmer or even a wireless Aston Martin-shaped mouse.
It's a bone china figurine. Yep, a china figurine. Of a bulldog.
This dog has real bite. Complete with a Union Jack-emblazoned back, the bulldog – named Jack – has been sired by the renowned brand Royal Doulton for his starring role in the new James Bond film, Skyfall.
Jack gets a lot of screen time, sitting centre stage on the desk of the MI6 boss, M (Dame Judi Dench). He is a key plot device and even survives an explosion – something Bond himself finds incomprehensible – before playing a poignant role in the movie's final scenes, but we won't give that away.
Jack has an impeccable pedigree, having been modelled to the exact shape and size of his earthenware forbear who was created in 1941.
“Since the 19th century, the bulldog has come to symbolise the steely determination of the British character,” says Carolyn Cavanough, Royal Doulton's commercial licensing manager. “Wartime prime minister Winston Churchill had an uncanny facial resemblance to the dog, with its fleshy and drooping jowls, and the 1940s saw a plethora of bulldog-linked propaganda and imagery.”
Before his Bond-linked reincarnation, Jack had gone out of manufacture. The original Jacks have been selling on the secondary market for about £1200 ($1836).
The reborn Jack has an ID backstamp – 'DD007' (stands for Doulton Dog) – and for $79.95 comes kenneled in a special Skyfall box sleeve.
Within a few weeks of the movie launch, the 2500 newly born Jacks virtually sold out on Royal Doulton's website, but another 4000 are being made and Royal Doulton are taking orders for delivery from next March.