Ultraman Takes Manhattan, A Day In The Life Of An Off-Duty Superhero
Our favorite Japanese superhero got suited up and hit the streets of New York with his ultra-special Speedy Tuesday ‘Ultraman’ edition strapped to the wrist. Which goes to prove that there’s a Speedmaster for every occasion. Happy Halloween!
Wearing a watch is kind of like wearing a costume. You wear a Patek Phillipe in the boardroom, and it says, "I'm a boss." You wear a reissued Timex Marlin to a craft beer festival, and it says, “I appreciate history but don’t take myself too seriously.” But the timepiece you choose can also say a lot about who you want to be.
Which brings us to superheroes. Who doesn’t want to have special powers? And in particular why do they need costumes? Sometimes it’s to protect their secret identities. But for most, their super suits serve as protection (Mr. Fantastic needs elastic threads to keep him clothed as he stretches his body) or even as the source of their power (think Batman’s utility belt).
We’d like to think the OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch Speedy Tuesday (aka ‘Ultraman’ edition) is the horological equivalent of a super suit: it's a great tool watch, looks good and wearing it definitely boosts your powers (or at least your confidence).
Who Is Ultraman?
Ultraman was the lead character in a highly popular Japanese sci-fi TV series that originally aired from July 17, 1966 to April 9, 1967. The premise of the show is that giant monsters threatened Earth from outer space. To deal with this threat, world leaders turn to an anti-monster defense agency called Science Patrol. When Science Patrol's high tech gadgets fail to stop the monsters, one of their members, Hayata, transforms into a gigantic but good alien called Ultraman. But even super-beings have flaws, and Ultraman's Achille's Heel is that he can only stay in superhero-mode for three minutes at a time.
Four years later, a new series called The Return of Ultraman, debuted. With this second generation, the monster fighter became even more popular and his catchphrases and accessories — such as his Color Timer, his Spacium Ray stance and his infamous cry "Shuwatch” — became iconic.
The Return of Ultraman also featured a new tool in his kit — a 1968 Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch.
The Speedmaster Ultraman
The Return of Ultraman was so popular that fans of the show started collecting these unique Moon watches. This particular model differed from previous Speedies because of its uniquely finished dial and needle shaped orange central seconds hand. Otherwise, it’s a pretty standard Speedmaster 145.012-67 with a calibre 321 movement, DO90 bezel, and a 1039 bracelet.
Still, these small details and the superhero connection made the Speedmaster Ultraman highly desirable and, frankly, frequently Frankenwatched. Which is why collectors were so excited when Omega and Fratello Watches partnered up to produce an updated version called Omega Speedy Tuesday 2 "Ultraman." This limited to 2012 edition is already sold out, but we found one to help us with our updated 2018 Ultraman costume.
To make sure everything is authentic, our Ultraman visits the Omega boutique on 5th Avenue to check out the fine details.
The Cultured Ultraman
In our version, Ultraman is a superhero for every occasion, be it business, sporty or all things in between. Ultraman has amazing powers, but part of this superhero’s enduring appeal is his design. Originally conceived as an intergalactic reptilian creature that would enlarge itself to 164 feet — a cross between Garuda, a mythological Hindu/Buddhist guardian bird, and Tengu, a Japanese folkloric crow-goblin.
Design is essential to our Ultraman, which is why he's taking in some culture with a visit to another giant — the enormous KAWS sculpture outside Phillips Auction House.
The Business Ultraman
Ultraman’s creators decided that the crow goblin concept was too sinister and redesigned the costume to look more like a rocket ship with silver and red outfit represented both a rocket ship and the surface of the planet Mars. The original Speedmaster Ultraman also had futuristic features, namely the funky, so-very 1970s case and orange centre seconds.
A crow goblin wouldn’t stand a chance hailing a taxi in Manhattan, but this sleek, silvery superhero based on the design of a rocket ship wearing an ST2 “Ultraman” has his pick of the yellow cabs.
The Manhattan Ultraman
Ultraman is not above doing a few touristy things, like visiting Rockefeller Plaza or casually scaling a building to get a better view of Manhattan and the Empire State Building. Plus, being perched from this position greatly assists in monster reconnaissance.
The ST2 Ultraman also has a few secret surprises: On the 9 o’clock subdial, a silhouette of Ultraman’s face can be seen. But only if you use the UV light at the end of the watch's strap changer (which is shaped like Ultraman’s Beta Capsule).
The Quickchange Ultraman
When it comes to fighting monsters, a hero doesn’t have a lot of time to try out different looks. After a day of important meetings and saving the world, the updated ST2 Ultraman comes with two strap options to move from day to night: a NATO strap and a leather strap, both black with orange accents.
The Afterwork Ultraman
Even superheroes have to have fun. Limited to an already sold-out edition of 2012, the ST2 "Ultraman" pays tribute to the original with many playful features. Besides the famous orange central seconds hand (which now sports a black stripe which references the costumes of Ultraman Returns' Monster Attack team), you'll find hints of pumpkin spice on the squares above the hour markers, the ‘Speedmaster' wording and the first three minute markers on the chronograph's minute recorder. Of course, the three minutes reference the amount of time Hayata could stay in Ultraman-mode for so long. The word ‘Tachymètre’ also appears in orange on the bezel.
Many thanks to collector Alex Lubin for lending Watchonista his Omega Speedmaster 'Ultraman' for this photoshoot.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)
Happy Halloween from team Watchonista!