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Ultraman Resource Page

The Ultraman is an original watch produced by Omega in very low numbers, (the number bandied about is 50 pieces) and the only confirmed difference as stated in the extract is the fitment of an reddish – orange chronograph hand.

The watch is essentially a 145.012-67 with a long reddish orange chronograph hand.

The Sources

MWO has determined that they are all in the serial range between 26.076.xxx and 26.079.xxx. They also determined the orange chrono hand length is 18.80mm and unique to this execution.

Here is the MWO Ultraman article, in which they determine the orange chrono hand length, serial range and propose a date range of mostly June 1968, with a few later in July and August.

The museum will issue an extract for an Ultraman but it does not call it  “ultraman” , it simply notes the watch is a 145.012 with a special orange hand.

According to my conversations with the staff, the records show that these watches were fitted with “Special Equipment” but the information in the archive does not specifically say what this equipment actually was.

I believe that the museum staff were pressured by owners to make a policy to state the orange hand specifically on extracts. (When in fact there is no such information in the archive to prove that the special equipment is in fact an orange hand – although common sense and weight of probability favours this conclusion). This is why initially no extracts were granted without inspecting the hand first – so that they could establish the pattern of what was fitted.

Here is an article by Fratello

Photo linked From Fratello, watch believed owned by Davidoffs

Some examples harvested from the Internet

Please note I have tried to attribute the photographs and if anyone feels I have it wrong or you would like links removed then send me a message.

This photo shows clearly the aging on an Ultraman. The chrono hand looks long enough to reach over the track, and the lume is pumpkin coloured. Note the colour of the hand, which has a reddish tint when compared to other orange speedmaster hands.

This photo was seen on Monochrome Watches, but I am not certain it is the original photographer

Here is an example shown by Analog Shift.

Here the hand appears more reddish and the lume is less coloured than many.

Again from Analog Shift is this one on its extract:

Here is an example sold by Lauritz. com in 2014: Here again we see the hand is reddish. It is clearly long enough to satisfy the hand length criteria. The full page is here.  This watch does look like a bargain today, even if it turns out not to be an Ultraman. There was no serial listed in the auction so I cannot check. (Notice the chrono creep on the hour sub dial).

Here is one seen on OmegaForums.net, the page is here

The great thing about this post is the fine photos of the dial, linked here – again a slightly reddish hand.

And here the owner has de-cased for a closeup of the dial . The lume is completely gone and we see only the white paint on the dial.

In 2017 Ebay offered this example.

Interestingly the extract did not mention the orange hand, but it does appear to be long enough and the serial falls in range. Here we see the close up of the dial and hand. Again the hand strikes me as reddish. It clearly extends to minute track. It was on offer for euros 17,000.

Another from Ebay 2018, sold for $35,000. While it did not have an extract, the serial falls into range, and it was also a Meister Dial. You can see the original listing here, and it raises a few questions, but as I said, it sold and I reckon someone with the museum’s number got confirmation of it being Orange Hand if the extract was re issued. Strictly speaking I have to regard this as unconfirmed, but possibly correct.

Here is another from Omegaforums, this time in 2015. In the thread it discusses the hand lenth as being too small (i cannot tell) and that it sold for over $8500. As the serial is in range it is possible that it is genuine. In fact there is a serial on the MWO table that is the same as this to the last digit,

In the same thread is Kringkilly’s watch – interestingly he reports the history as the owner requested the AD to replace the hand on a new speedmaster with an orange one – and it was not known if that was the case or if the watch was delivered as is. Note the reddish hand again.

This one, from “one more soul”(?) appears to have a very orange hand, but the right length. I do not know how real this is as the page disappeared

.

Here is one offered by Watches of Knightsbridge in November 2018

Non Ultramans(!)

There are those that seek to profit by simply fitting an orange hand and selling it as an Ultraman. This is hard now, as we now know the serial range and the hand length. The latter might be replicable, given the values, but the serial is immutable.

Here is a watch offered on Ebay March 2019. The hand is long enough, but there are those on the OmegaForum who say it is the wrong shape – slightly too fat. But most telling is that the seller, and experienced watch collector/seller, has not got an Extract for it, and has only disclosed the first four serial digits. The general consensus is that this is a carefully worded attempt to fool someone.

Here is an examples offered by Watch Seller in Australia. Interestingly I believe this might not a genuine Ultraman as the orange hand is short, and the serial is 26m but the third digit does not look like a “0”.

In conclusion

There has been proposed that Ultramans need to have a special dial. I have heard the adjectives, silky and anthracite to describe it, and also that the plots should be caramel colour.

I cannot find evidence to support the idea that all Ultramans have black glossy dials and caramel lume, but I accept the dial colour discrepancy  could easily be because the photos do not show it. But I have to say from what I have gathered here, I do not see a noticeable difference between the all dials of the Ultraman and a standard 145.012.

I remain open to evidence, and it may well turn out to be the case.

We shall see

Two Gold Speedmasters

Here we stray a little, and show a shot of the BA145.022-69 and the Gold Plated MkII.

BA145.022-69 and a 145.014 MkII

Interesting to note the common appearance. The MkII was intended to replace the “Moonwatch” and it might have indeed been more suited to rugged treatment with its thickened case and more protected pushers and crown. However NASA wasnt interested as the 145.022 was already proven and flight tested and they did not need to update it.

Of course these are gold watches, never intended for anything other than showing off. The gold plated MkII is really the cheapest path to Speedmaster 861 ownership and when I bought this, it was practically free. (About $450, the price of a 861 movement at the time).The both carry the burgundy bezel. In the case of the MkII it is painted, or printed onto the underside of the mineral glass and is integral to it. On the BA145.022-69 you can see it is a later service bezel, still available from Omega. At around $1500 last time I checked.

The Gold plated MkII here has been serviced with Omega supplied puhers and crown – these look a slightly different colour. This photo is a little fuzzy at the case, but it is sharp. The focus is on the dial furniture.

The MKII in this execution has a quite elaborate dial, quite different from the flat printed dial of the steel version. Note the raised hour markers.

And for comparison here is the steel version (with the rarer seen though freely available Decimale bezel) and flat dial – interestingly the dial on MkII’s are completely flat, whereas the moonwatch dials are either stepped or domed. The MkII dial can and has been fitted to a moonwatch case by private owners.

Soyuz sold at Sothebys Spetember 2018

On 27th  September 2018 Sothebys auctioned a very rare Apollo Soyuz:

Photo from Sothebys

The original listing is here

An Original Apollo Soyuz is a highly desirable reference. Most owners are regularly petitioned to sell theirs if they show it. There were 500 thought to be made, and many have been serviced or altered from original specification. This one has several issues and in spite of that achieved GBP 27,000. Whilethis is more than I expected, there are literally none on the market and frankly with its rarity there are some who say the Soyuz is the next $100,000 speedmaster.

First of the problems is the pusher size. Here on the Sothebys watch we can see the pusher has a gap around it.

And here is an original Soyuz, where we can clearly see the 5.5mm pushers filling the modified case.

So the Sothebys watch has the wrong pushers, but at least it has an original case, (number 342). The problem is that 5.5mm pushers are not available from Omega, and so any replacement is going to be a non original pusher. I know several people who are working to find a suitable substitute but so far without success. One watch maker is certain he can find a generic substitute but so far it has eluded him.

Next is the chrono hand, an obvious substitution.

Non Omega Chrono hand

Here is an original:

Also the Sothebys watch has a non original bracelet and no endlinks at all. So the new owner has some way to go to piece together an original specification watch.

Will we, I wonder, look back in a year’s time and think this a bargain? At GBP 27,000 there is a lot to criticise, except availability. I am lucky enough to own a correct original, but if I did not, would I have been tempted? Well yes, I would. I have seen more than one bracelet offered for sale, and I am sure with my obsession and perseverance I would find pushers.

I wish the new owner well!

The Need for Comparables

When looking at some of the finer distinctions that speedmasters are now being valued for, it is much easier when you can see a comparison.

Here we can easily spot the blue bezel on the left and the brown dial on the right, both made easier to see because of the direct comparison. Often it is hard to know the true colours if there is no other comparison, but here we can definitely see that the dial is brown and the bezel blue.

It has been quiet on the site

 

145.022’s

As real life always catches up with me in the summer. Lots of good things in Speedmaster world:

Will a 2915 price be repeated? Are the stratospheric auction prices of $400,000 and $275,000 are going to be tested in the coming “watch season”.

There is a plethora of Ed Whites selling at the moment, for a wide range of prices, and I think that the prices are reflecting a corresponding wide range of condition.

Blue Soliel dials. Another appeared on the forum that has not been known so far, and we wonder if more will appear of this little known and mysterious execution.

Black and Grey Racings are exiting collectors, especially those more familiar with Rolex who see these dials as bargains.

There is also talk of speedmaster prices hitting a bubble. I do not feel it myself, good watches are hard to find, and harder to buy.

I brief post, wishing you all a good summer.

 

Phillips 2915-1 Sold for $412,000

The worlds most expensive speedmaster sold at Phillips Auction House. You can see the original Hi Res from the Phillips listing here

This sold for a huge sum, CHF408,000 including premium.

Here is a better photo of the Phillips watch:

We can see it exhibits correct 2915-1 characteristics, in that it has the correct dial with a dome, short sub dial indices, AML, and SWISS MADE, and a flat oval in Omega. The Condition Report, (not the catalog description, notes the dial is re lumed with tritium).

It has the Speedmaster engraving at the edge of the back:

The catalog is glowing in its description, and I must admit it does excite me:

 “The present Speedmaster example is however one of the extremely scarce -1 iterations, and furthermore preserved in extremely attractive condition: the dial is virtually flawless and has turned a perfectly balanced and harmonious dark chocolate color, the luminous material has evenly aged to an outstandingly attractive intense tobacco hue. According to the Archives of Omega, it was sold in Costa Rica on December 17, 1958. This would suggest a mid-1958 production date which perfectly matches some details of the specimen: the caseback is still blank, without Seahorse engraving, and this is possibly one of the very last examples made with this caseback. The bezel instead is a Mark II version, with rounded 3 instead of flat one. Mid-1958 is exactly halfway through the production run of the model, a detail which perfectly explains this rare “transitional” configuration.

Considering how intensively these wristwatches were used by their original owners, it is an extremely rare occurrence for a 2915-1 to arrive to us in such an unspoiled condition. In fact, it was common practice at the time to heavily polish the case during service, and also to change various parts of the watch (bezel, pushers, crown) to a later version in order to maintain and/or improve the water resistance of the piece. Luckily, this appears to be the exception that proves the rule; actually, the watch is offered even with its original box and instruction leaflet, giving additional insight into the “first purchase experience” reserved to the buyers in 1958.” – Extracted from Phillips description

So to summarise, this is a special example of the first Speedmaster, with a Chocolate dial and apparently original specification, with box, papers and an extract. It ticks all the boxes for an ignorant  naive “Investor” buyer and is a testament to Phillips ability to present a watch, which is frankly, fantastic. (the presentation!).

So what should we be worried about? In no particular order:

  • Is the bezel original?
  • Are the hands original?
  • Has the case been Polished?
  • Does the whole package ring true?

The bezel is always a worry in this reference – the reproductions are very good, but more challenging is the fact that we cannot see many examples of known original bezels. The fact this is a simple steel ring, that has been engraved, makes it straightforward to reproduce, though obviously requiring skills I for one do not have. This watch has inspired a lot of discussion by Orchi on Instagram Here . He makes the point that a pantograph cannot produce a “Serif” on the letters, that is the little tail of the edge of the symbol. Now I do not know if all the bezels were made by Pantograph, it needs more investigation. Certainly I need to find out what a Pantograph is and what it can do. Here is a close up of the Phillips Bezel:

Detail from the Phillips 2915

For comparison here is the close up of the Bukowski bezel:

The 2915 sold by Bukowski

The Bukowski watch was sold with the description of it being hidden away with one family all its life, so the weight of evidence is that this is an original bezel. As you can see it lacks serifs. Look closely at the “T”s which are straight lines across the top, no drop serifs.

Here is a photo of the whole watch, the listing is still up here

Image from the Bukowskis. This watch was described as being found in the attic by descendants of the original owner. Not the lack of serifs on the bezel, the non matching colour of the lume on the dial and hands, and that the whole watch appears original

So we can safely say the two bezels were not made in the same way.

Going back to the Phillips watch, what about the hands? Again we have little to go on in terms of certified originals, but these ones have a transverse curve and look like they could be original, as opposed to the service hands which are flat. The lume deterioration adds to the impression but that can be created by skilled craftsmen. EDIT: I missed the updated catalog description that actually calls this a relume – It is carefully worded to say, “some time ago…” but it is still a confirmed relume. (Thanks to Mr Inox for sending me the condition report that was not accessible to me).

What goes against this as having original hands is that they are matching in colour with the dial plots, and this is something I now associate with possible re lumes. Again comparing the Bukowski watch where we see a difference in colour between the hand lume and the dial plots.

Cases are always polished, to some extent. In the case of all the watches on this page they have been polished but not destroyed. And at least the cases have not been rebuilt like the 2915-1 sold by Christies for an unforgivable $137,000 in December 2015.

So what about the price? Well when the Bukowski watch sold for $275,000 and the thoughts among my friends was it was an outlier, where someone really believed the story, (and why not) and two people really wanted it. We did not think it was a repeatable price. How wrong I was.

More I think will be revealed when this, Lot 9, a 2915 -1 sells at Christies in June. The link is here

A quick precis of my opinion on this is that the dial is round oval, where I would like to see an oval in “Omega”. The short incies sub dial is there, and the AML. The hands, from this one photograph look a little flat and I would like to eliminate the possibility they are later additions, especially given the matchi – matchi lume colour.

The bezel lacks any serifs.

So where are we with 2915’s?
Well I think I have learned a little for the bezels, and I have some direction to research. The prices are looking like they are headed upwards but there are so few available it is hard to really name the price as high or low.

Lets see what happens at Christies.

Time to Say Goodbye

…to this lovely example of a 145.022-71. I rarely sell watches, and when I do its with good reason.

In my experience these are very rare, and I have been looking for one for six years. Then last year, I found myself committed to buying two at once, and I am trying to keep only one of each reference, so this one goes.

This one has the smooth back, or “No Nasa” as we now call it. I was told that the reason this came about was a delay in Omega negotiating with NASA the rights to the wording on the watch that we all now know.

“Less is more” The watch is rarer and desirable because it lacks the engraving normally seen on medallion casebacks.

What made this watch even more special is that it is the actual watch featured in MoonWatch Only.

So now I am saying goodbye, and the watch is off to its next custodian.

A few revisions.

I have gone through some of the early pages and brought them up to date.

The price chart is updated, but honestly it is becoming a thankless task as rising values have brought in Asset Class buyers and vested interests, all of whom have an opinion, and frankly they care more about values than the watches.

Another side effect of rising prices is that I cannot buy like I used to. My entire annual spending on watches eight years ago might buy a couple of watches today.

 

The Black Racing Sold at Phillips

From the Spring Geneva Sale 2018

(All photos are harvested from the Phillips site and used pending permission – they would be removed if I am asked)

First up is the Black Racing Dial Speedmaster, the 145.012-67. It comes with its original sales document. I must confess this is my favorite speedmaster reference.

Estimate was much lower than any Black Racing has been offered on the market recently. It sold for CHF40,000 which while double the estimate was half what other examples have sold for at auction. There are several good reasons why:

The bezel is correct, but damaged. This is but one example of how damaged the bezel is – a generally shagged bezel. But it does suit the rest of the watch and I would not change it if I was the new owner. (Which I am not).

The dial condition is poor. If a dial this damaged was on an “ordinary” 145.012 it would be dismissed as unwanted by most collectors. here we see missing plots, and also chrono creep, though that would never stop me buying a rare watch like this.

Here we see more printing missing from the track

And the worst damage is up here at the top, right where it strikes the eyes. The Hour and Minute hands are missing all lume, but that is an minor issue.

The big issue for me is the lack of extract. Omega will issue an extract for these black racing dials stating the dial as having red indices. There are some black racing dial watches in circulation that do not have this on an extract and the dials might be fitted after production. I personally know of two watches in this state. So that will affect the value – maybe the new owner will get an extract showing a racing dial, which will be nice.

The condition of this watch is, frankly poor. However, I would have loved to own it for the low estimate – which tells me it is not a watch to be dismissed. Sometimes poor condition rare wachtches can give enormous pleasure of ownership, and I feel this one is in that category. Now the price of this one was very high, half what a good one fetches – this to me indicates either that prices of the good ones need to be higher, OR we are in an inflationary period where mediocre condition watches are fetching prices that the owners would find hard to recuperate for several years after purchase.

The last thing I want to discuss with this watch, is what might happen to it next. A dealer may well decide that it is worth restoring, and with over $30,000 to play with thats a lot of room to work on the dial, relume the hands, replace the bezel and go for an extract – perhaps we could see the watch in a future major auction. The good thing about these Omegas, is that there are so few of them  (unlike Daytonas), that the collector community will probably notice them.

There are three other Speedmasters to look at, stay tuned to the blog and we will look at them….

Two Speedmasters From Phillips November Last year (2017)

How do they look now, a few months on? It is always interesting to go back over previous Auctions and see if I would have been happy to have bought them. (I did not buy these).

The first is a 145.012 Serial 25’004’098.

On initial inspection it is clear it has the wrong bezel and the wrong bracelet. The lower subdial is off centre, but as the chrono is partly run it cannot be said for certain it is Chrono Creep, but my guess would be that it is:

The link to this watch is here

The final price was HKD 40,000 or about USD$5100.

Well that is not a lot for a correct 145.012 but this one needs a bezel, and that will be at least $2000 to match the condition of the rest of the watch. So $7000 which in todays market is OK.

What are my worries were I to buy this?

  • How polished is the case?the pushers are new, and so indicates a recent replacement
  • And so why is the subdial off?
  • Does the dial look nice?
  • These photos are overexposed, and hard to make a judgement. so I would need more images before buying.

To sum up it was probably OK, possibly great, and unlikely that you would loose your trousers on this one.

On to the next, another 145.012 Serial 25’003’211

and this one sold for a strong HKD 168,750 or about USD $21,500. That is a huge price for an example of this reference, and more than four times the other identical reference discussed above.

Here is the link

First impressions are very good – it has the original guarantee, the box and an extract of the archives.

It also has a correct bracelet, and I think that photo disguises a very attractive dial. The bezel DO90 is very good with some small marks. It is a very good watch, but $21,000? For me that is very strong, and I would never bid that much without seeing it.

My guess is that when held, this watch has real quality. I think the dial may be especially good, and the overall watch conveys an air of originality that not many do – helped of course by the papers. I have never heard of this reference selling for this, but perhaps it was just one of those gems we sometimes see in auctions that excite two people to fight.

While I think the buyer will be pleased with the watch, it might be sometime before we see 145.012 reach over $20,000 again.