Every superhero has a kit, an outfit and set of tools or powers that helps them fight injustice and crime, saving the world as they go. Ultraman is no different. He wears a silver and red suit, with his “color timer” mounted on his chest. But, in 1971, in the show “The Return of Ultraman,” Ultraman added a little something else to his kit – an OMEGA Speedmaster.
Who is Ultraman?
Ultraman is a Japanese television superhero of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. His origin story is that of Shin Hyata, an officer of the Tokyo-headquartered Science Patrol. Their mission is to protect the public from bizarre anomalies and monster attacks. When on air patrol, he noticed a U.F.O. flying overhead. Upon investigation, a second U.F.O. crashed into the ship piloted by Hyata, and the hero inside the second U.F.O. was Ultraman. It turned out that Ultraman was chasing his arch-nemesis Bemlar, the pilot of the first U.F.O. and an alien monster.
The crash left Hyata close to death. After the crash, the remorseful Ultraman communicated telepathically with the dying Hyata and gave him a beta capsule. This beta capsule was a handheld device used by the hero to become Ultraman. Ultraman then merged Hyata’s body with his own, joining their lives into a singular person. This bond provided the life force needed to sustain Hyata. In turn, with Ultraman’s beta capsule, Hyata could become Ultraman and defend the Earth from monsters, aliens, and, of course, Bemlar.
Produced in 1968, Ultraman’s Speedmaster. Reference ST 145.012, most notably features a bright orange seconds hand. Like its moonwatch counterpart, this Speedy has a stainless steel case and bracelet with a hesalite crystal. It is 42mm in diameter, has baton hands, and a black dial with luminous tritium. Lastly, its powered by the OMEGA calibre 321 movement. Though current estimates are that OMEGA created 3000 of these pieces, total production isn’t known.
This watch launched itself into a prominent position in science fiction history, and fifty-one years later, the namesake Speedmaster has arrived in the future with its new, limited edition.
True to the original Speedmaster, and Ultraman versions, the case measures 42mm and has a hesalite crystal. It also has the iconic orange seconds hand with the black strap.
However, there are a few variations and surprises to this limited edition watch. For one, the color orange is a prominent player on the dial and strap of this edition. The Ultraman edition is outfitted on a black strap with a single orange stripe throughout.
On the dial, the indices are orange with a luminous stick marker to accompany them. Also, on the dial, the word “Speedmaster” appears in the classic script, but in orange. The bezel is also black like the original, but the word “Tachymetre” appears in the same bold orange.
In the three o’clock chronograph subdial, the markers for the first three minutes are orange as well. These are a nod to Ultraman’s chest-mounted “color timer.” Ultraman’s power, though strong, lasts for three minutes at a time. He derives his power from the sun, and if he goes past that three minutes, it could be dangerous and perhaps, deadly for him.
Perhaps the best surprise of this watch happens in the nine o’clock subdial. The shape of the hand is like Ultraman’s “beta capsule,” his transformation device. The big reveal, however, comes under a blacklight. It is here, that Ultraman appears. In that same subdial, he glows orange, and makes himself known.
The Movement, Caseback, and Box
On the inside, the classic OMEGA calibre 1861 powers this watch. It’s a legendary manual-wind movement, that can withstand the toughest of space missions. This movement has a rhodium-plated finish and a 48-hour power reserve.
The aesthetic beauty of the Ultraman doesn’t stop at the face of the watch or the strap. Finally, the back of this Speedmaster features the OMEGA hippocampus and the “First Watch on the Moon” stamping.
Lastly, the Ultraman box has a few surprises of its own. This silver and orange hexagon is highly-stylized. It has a high-shine finish, and the word “Ultraman” appears only under blacklight on the lifted lid.
Under the watch tray is a beta capsule blacklight and extra leather strap. Though this beta capsule won’t turn you into Ultraman, it will allow you to reveal the secrets of the watch and the box. And, like OMEGA says, this watch is definitely enjoyed more than three minutes at a time.