The four-in-hand tie gets its name from the method most typically used to tie it: the four-in-hand knot. James Bond more often than not uses this knot. Sean Connery uses it in his Bond films from From Russia With Love to You Only Live Twice. Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan always use it in their Bond films. Daniel Craig ties a four-in-hand knot in Casino Royale and Skyfall. The four-in-hand knot is characterised by its long, asymmetrical shape. The asymmetrical shape skews the tie over to the side, adding either a touch of character or a bit of imperfection, depending on your taste. The four-in-hand knot is the smallest of the more typical tie knots, but its size varies considerably depending on both the width and thickness of the tie. A heavier tie will produce a wider knot, whilst a wider tie will produce a longer knot.
For an even larger four-in-hand knot there is the variation called the double-four-in-hand knot—also known as the Prince Albert knot or Victoria knot—which takes the four-in-hand knot and adds an extra wrap of the wide blade around the narrow blade. It’s asymmetrical like the four-in-hand but has the major advantage of being a more secure knot. It’s also more askew than the regular four-in-hand, which some people may find unappealing. Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan likely use the double-four-in-hand knot at least occasionally.
“It was tied with a Windsor knot. Bond mistrusted anyone who tied his tie with a Windsor knot. It showed too much vanity. It was often the mark of a cad.”
-Ian Fleming (From Russia With Love, Chapter 25)
Though Ian Fleming’s Bond was not fond of the Windsor knot, Sean Connery wears it in Dr. No—where it goes well with the cutaway collars—and Diamonds Are Forever, as well as in the unofficial Bond film Never Say Never Again. The Windsor knot is a larger knot designed to mimic the thicker four-in-hand knots worn by the Duke of Windsor. It has a wide, symmetrical appearance, and on a wider tie the knot can end up very large. George Lazenby also uses a symmetrical knot on his ties, most of which are most likely tied in the smaller Half Windsor knot. His wedding tie, however, is tied in a true Windsor knot. Many find the bulbous Windsor knot—especially when tied with a wide, thick tie—vulgar, and they find that the symmetrical shape lacks the character of the asymmetrical four-in-hand. Which knot do you prefer to use?
There’s one mystery knot in the Bond series: the knot Daniel Craig uses in Quantum of Solace. It’s symmetrical and just slightly elongated, which would suggest that it’s a Pratt knot. However, a half-Windsor or a Windsor knot with a lighter-weight tie can make this type of knot. When Craig removes his tie before interrogating Mr. White, the tie has the seam facing the neck. That rules out the Pratt knot, which starts with the tie’s seam facing out. Which knot do you think is used in Quantum of Solace?
It is most likely a Windsor knot. Windsor knots are typically very wide, but they don’t have to be wide if the tie has a thin interlining, and that would be the case here. A tie knot’s shape comes not only from the knot itself but from the weight of the tie’s silk, the weight of the tie’s interlining and the width of the tie. A thicker silk with a thicker interlining will make for a wider knot, while a wider tie will make for a longer knot.