Available in the Shop: An Ultra-Rare 1968 Omega Speedmaster Ultraman Ref.145.012-67By Revolution
There are certain watches that capture the imagination of collectors beyond all others. This has to do with a combination of compelling mythology, stunning and unique looks, and just the right amount of rarity — meaning it was produced in enough numbers that you can find one if you look hard, but at the same time it’s far from easy. One such watch is the 145.012-67 “Special model fitted with an orange chronograph hand”, known as the “Ultraman”.
To be precise, an “Ultraman” is an Omega Speedmaster model 145.012-67, one of the three models that went to space and the very last Speedy to feature the hallowed calibre 321. But what sets this Speedmaster apart is an unusually long orange chronograph hand (18.80mm, to be exact) and a unique black satin dial found only in ref. 145.012-67 with movement numbers ranging between 26.076.XXX – 26.079.XXX.
The watch received its evocative sobriquet because of its appearance in the 1970s Japanese TV series, The Return of Ultraman. There has been some evolution of thought in the last few years regarding the number of Ultraman watches that were ever made. The math breaks down as such: of the 28,000 or so 145.012-67 made, only 3,000 watches fall within the correct movement range. And of those 3,000 watches, according to Moonwatch Only, just 50-odd Ultraman watches are known to exist.
However, in discussions with the Davidoff Brothers, Roy Davidoff feels that the number is closer to a few hundred watches. He explains, “What we do know is that they are all 145.012-67 watches that were made and delivered in June of 1968 to different parts of the world.” While the Ultraman watches are very rare, they have been showing up in auction or with secondary dealers with increasing frequency in the last few years.
James Lamdin, the founder of Analog/Shift, New York-based vintage watch specialists says, “I’m going to say that this is because the prices of these watches have seen a very dynamic growth in the last few years.” A few years ago, they were USD10,000 watches. In early 2018, they started to hit the USD20,000 mark; and by the end of the year at various auctions, they even hit USD70,000. In 2019, prices of vintage Speedmasters softened or, more likely, stabilised and consolidated after a few years of frenzied growth.
It is important to note that the dial of the Ultraman has a completely different texture than the matte finish you’ll find on other 145.012 watches. It has a satin or silky finish to it that is subtle, but distinct. From a rarity perspective, a few hundred watches in existence means that they are rarer than, say, a “Paul Newman” Daytona. And from a mythology perspective, what name could be cooler than “Ultraman”.
Finally, it is a Speedmaster with an amazing presence on the wrist. The simple addition of the massive totemic orange hand made its appearance utterly unique and incredibly compelling, and unlike any other Speedmaster. And there is probably no better experience than to press the start button on the watch, feel the column wheel of the calibre 321 engage the chronograph lever, and see the mighty orange hand start its imperious march around the dial.
Please note that while there are other vintage Omega models with an orange chronograph seconds hand, theirs are not as long as the hand of the Ultraman, and therefore cannot be retrofitted to create or Frakenwatch an Ultraman. This is one of the vintage Omega Speedmasters that we would never buy without an Extract from the Archives from Omega. On the Extract, it must state under Remarks: “Special model fitted with orange chronograph hand.” Without this, there is no verification that your watch is an actual Ultraman, even if it falls within the right movement range.