REVIEW – The Omega Ultraman Speedmaster ST2 Edition
The Omega Speedmaster continues to grow exponentially, making it one of the hottest chronographs in both the vintage collector scene and the modern watch buying market. Whilst I’m sure there are legion Speedy lovers who would throw rocks at me for saying this, in many ways it was always the poor relation of the mighty Rolex Daytona, but now the Speedmaster is an icon in its own right and of course, here at Bulang and Sons, it’s a firm favourite. Today we are taking a look at the latest collaboration between the ‘Speedy Tuesday’ pioneers at Frattello Watches and Omega in the shape of the Omega Ultraman. The second collaboration, colloquially known as the Speedy Tuesday 2, this watch follows the huge success of the first Speedy Tuesday edition last year that was inspired by the 1978 Project Alaska III Speedmaster. Based on one of the most collectible vintage Speedmasters, this second watch has been an equally epic hit as the last!
Ultraman was the hero character from a cult 1960s Japanese superhero series of the same name. In 1971 the sequel series was released, The Return of Ultraman, and it was in this series that the original watch featured. Ultraman was something of a guardian of the planet who could morph into a monster-defeating alien…but only for three minutes at a time! In essence, the original Ultraman Speedmaster was a reference 145.012-67 that featured an orange stopwatch hand. It has always been a controversial watch, but it has been confirmed that the watches were made with this hand and shipped from Bienne in 1968. Exact production numbers are unknown, but there are very few original examples in existence. We can assume a number were for the Japanese market, due to its appearance in the TV series, but it was also available elsewhere around the world.
The original series characters and Ultraman in action
The guys at Fratello wanted the watch to be inspired by the original Ultraman, but have very much put their own stamp on the piece. The base model is the current Omega Moonwatch (ref 3188.8.131.52.01.001) in a 42mm case, sapphire glass model featuring the manual-wind caliber 1861 movement. But make no mistake, this is no regular watch. The theme here is orange! Inspired by the original orange stopwatch hand, the orange has spread and can be seen dotted across the whole watch.
The most obvious points are the ‘TACHYMETRE’ wording on the ‘Dot Over 90’ (DON) bezel, the outer hour markers, the ‘SPEEDMASTER’ text and the first three minute markers on the minute register (see below). The watch comes on both a fabric nato-style strap and a leather buckle strap, both in orange and black colour schemes. The overall look is very cool and eye-catching.
Orange Touches – Outer markers, text and hand
Subtle Superhero Speedy Specifications
The watch has a number of incredibly thoughtful elements that are a subtle yet significant hat-tip to Ultraman. The first is the orange markers for the first three minute markers of the minute register (at three o’clock). This is a reference to Ultraman’s time-limited superhero powers. The second is the hand on the running-seconds register (at nine o’clock). This is in the form of Ultraman’s Beta Capsule, the lightsabre-esque device that allowed the human character Hayata to transform into Ultraman. The same sub-seconds dial also has a hidden feature that is only revealed under UV light – the silhouette of Ultraman himself. This really is a cult watch for fans of one of the most cult science fiction shows ever. I guess it really is a case of “if you know, you know”.
The Beta Capsule seconds hand and the Ultraman silhouette
Three Minute Limit
The Ultraman Sppedy is available in a limited edition of 2012 pieces and like other limited run Speedmasters, it is already completely sold out and only available on the pre-owned market at a considerable premium. Of course, this premium will inflate as time passes…there will be no more of these watches made and demand will, of course, outstrip supply. Alongside the classy DON bezel the, watch also features a winding crown with a vintage style Omega logo on it. Coupled with the applied logo, stepped dial this watch has a lot of vintage charm. I also love the vintage-patina on the inner hour markers and the matching hand lume. A great touch that softens the look of the watch.
The beautiful box is hexagonal and is based on the hexagonal table at which the planet-saving heroes meet to plan their next move. The aforementioned Beta Capsule is also recreated in the form of a strap-changing tool, that also has a built in UV light that allows you to reveal the Ultraman at nine o’clock. This is a hot watch right now and rightly so. As ever, its all in the details.
#speedytuesday – Where it all began
Bulang and Sons Style-Up of the Ultraman
The Ultraman is a star on any strap.. here you can see it with our Caramel Nato strap
The Siena Leather Strap is a perfect match with every Speedy. But the warm reddish tones match so great with the Ultraman.
In combination with the Pure Grey Deluxe Nylon Nato Strap