Many fans who grew up watching the original films of the 60s might claim their favorite was the one of their generation. Personally, having read most of the original Ian Fleming novels, it's an easy choice for me: Timothy Dalton.
And here's why: he embodies Fleming's Bond better than the other 8 people who have played him. Bond was described as having a cruel mouth and cold eyes. He was handsome but not in a double-take-sexy kind of way. He was noticeable and forgettable in the same moment, which only helped his role as a secret agent. And there was no sense of humor. (It was not until the novel You Only Live Twice where Bond began his trademark one-liners, an addition by Fleming to go along with the success of the one-liners added for the movie scripts.)
And Dalton is the best Bond for those reasons. Dark and menacing, cold and efficient. He wasn't the womanizing man-whore like Connery and Moore were. He did not exude sex appeal like Brosnan did. And he wasn't blond like Craig is. Those actors brought a quality to the character of Bond, but not like Dalton did. He best reflected the author's idea of what a British operative looked and acted like.