Barryvox Autophon VS 68
James Bond’s (Roger Moore) tracking device from the opening sequence of the movie A View to a Kill (1985) is an Autophon VS 68. The Autophon is used by Bond in Siberia to track down the body of MI6 agent 003 in the snow and recover the microchip. Bond wears a white Bogner outfit and uses Olin skis.
The device used in the film is an actual Barryvox Autophon VS 68 avalanche transceiver, or avalanche beacon, which is a class of active radio beacon transceivers operating at 457 kHz and specialised for the purpose of finding people or equipment buried under snow.
The first Barryvox transceiver was commissioned by the Swiss Army in 1968 and developed by the Autophon company. Accompanied by comprehensive field trials, the development of the legendary VS 68 took almost two years. The device, that worked on the newly introduced standard frequency of 457 kHz, established state of the art standards with regard to sturdiness, miniaturisation and general performance. The VS 68 soon found civil use, especially among professional groups throughout the world. The Barryvox VS 68 was produced until 1994 and became known as the Rolls-Royce under the avalanche transceivers. From 1988-1994 it was produced as the VS 68-2, a modified version recognisable by its orange casing. In total, more than a hundred thousand transceivers have been sold worldwide. In fact the Barryvox VS 68, more than 30 years after its launch is still serviced and spare parts are readily available.
An original movie prop was for sale at the Prop Store auction on October 16th, 2014. Prop Store obtained the piece from a charity auction and it includes a letter written on a production letterhead detailing its use along with original promotional stills and a copy of the film’s title single on vinyl. More information on the Prop Store auction website.
Buying a Autophon VS 68
The Autophon VS68 can still be found for sale. You can check out eBay, or the specifically the German eBay.de website where seller tony-mono offers the Autophon (make sure you get the right model, read below for tips). Or contact Girsberger Elektronik in Switzerland, a company that repairs Autophons but sometimes has them for sale as well.
Make sure to get the correct model. Based on the Prop Store prop, the correct model is the Autophon VS 68, yellow device with a yellow cover which can be unbuttoned and black straps (in the film the straps seem to be wrapped around the device).
Newer models might have Barryvox in black text on the yellow plastic and on the cover. The device seen in the movie doesn't have black Barryvox text, but only "autophon" (see images on the left). The device is also available in orange, which is a newer model than the one seen in the film.
Dimensions: 13 x 8 x 2.5 cm (5” x 3¼” x 1”)
Thanks to Prop Store for the ID