Omega Journey Chapter 3 - Tonight’s Main Fight: Ultraman vs. Snoopy
This title doesn’t sound like the latest fight you would expect anywhere in sports, nor is it one of the legendary ones fought in the past in any boxing ring. However, it’s the first idea I got when I had the two figures in front of me, sitting on my desk.
Some of you will have picked up on the hint immediately, some of you still might not have! No matter how you get into Omega watches, you will always come across their special editions, launched during the more recent years of the brand’s history. Mostly they are versions of the iconic Speedmaster. There’s a very large fan base of these people, but of course there are also people who are simply bored by either the themes or the amount of limited edition releases in general. For some people there are always pros and cons and its black and white. But for me, however, it is grey. Not because I try to be everybody’s friend or be super-diplomatic. It’s because of the fact that I like some and some I don’t. Simple as that!
The Omega Speedmaster Snoopy
I can remember very well, when in 2015 the second Snoopy themed Speedmaster was released, celebrating the NASA Snoopy award, it hooked me in immediately. And for the obvious reason: It was an Omega Speedmaster with Snoopy on the dial – this fact was so cool for me! At that time, most of the iconic vintage pieces like the Rolex Submariner 5513, the 1675 GMT or early Pre-Moon Speedmasters were taking their first big steps in rising prices and became objects of interest and investment to a bigger audience. There was a huge focus on attributes such as patina, tropical dials, the tritium dots, unpolished cases, and so on. At that time, a full new remake of a watch with a crispy white luminova dial with Snoopy on it was just not the thing that people were that interested in. At least this was true in the circles in which I was mixing. However, that Snoopy Speedy caught my attention and helped me remember that this is whole watch thing is about fun for me. It’s the same as, for example, some serious Japanese collectors I know, that have a soft spot for the vintage Mickey Mouse plastic watches, which are by no means cheap. The value of these watches is far away from a proper tool or technical watch. But – these watches have some kind of magic.
In the last years I repeated myself many times in watch talks, with many people, that honestly I could not care less about movements or functionality of my watches. To exaggerate, I claimed that for accurate time telling or most of my daily features, my iPhone will be the go-to gadget. My watch collector heart beats for the look, the style and the story of a watch. That could be a totally battered issued military watch accompanied by an incredible story of its owner on one hand. Easy to comprehend for most watch collectors. On the other hand it is also a brand new watch like the Snoopy themed Omega or its opponent, the latest Ultraman edition. It’s a personal thing, as I do respect collectors that do deeply love movements, complications or anything else around it. But this is how I roll. The Bulang and Sons Style for watch loversspirit is not just a tag line! So Snoopy was the trigger. Let’s get into the details then…
As mentioned before, the 2015 released Snoopy Speedy was a follow up to the first released one in 2003.
Although the prices for the 2015 sky rocketed in the last four years, I had to find a proper one to offer for sale. The 2003 might have the same concept but not the style. And that’s what I dig. The playful and clean dial of the latest one is just cool and the perfect style for me. Plus the amount of extra effort for details on the 2015 version is second to none. Whether it is the unique caseback on each of the 1970 available pieces, the super nice print works that come along with an outstanding newspaper telling the whole story and the snoopy pin. The hints on the dial referring to the shared historical moments in space of Omega and NASA round things up. And btw – putting UV on the dial and seeing Snoopy lying flat on his belly is the real highlight!
As for all watches offered during my Omega journey I wanted to add something from my side to the watch. Digging around and chatting with fellow Speedmaster collectors, the amount of Speedmaster x Snoopy gimmicks seemed to be endless. Anything from posters, pens and clothing to all the nitty gritty stuff you can or can not imagine. I wanted to keep the spirit of decorative and playful items but find something special that everybody would love to see on his desk. Something with a story and an added value again, and not a figure from a Happy Meal. Talking about happy, I’m happy having my colleague Giacomo on board, who shares the same collecting gene and interest in the unusual things in life. Always up for the next new thing – whether it is fashion, food, music… you name it! As well as collecting hundreds of sneakers in the last 20 years he also collects Bearbricks and pointed me into the direction of an Astronaut Snoopy Bearbrick from his collection. What is a Bearbrick?
Bearbricks are a variation of Kubrick figures, which are made by the Japanese company Medicom. Kubricks have been some kind of alteration of widely known Lego or Playmobil figures. The focus is on an adult target group and not really playing with them. These individual figures or sets of toys have been produced in myriad themes from movies like Star Wars to Rocky, video games like GTA up to themes like the whole PANTONE color scale in a range of sizes. In the early 2000s a further developed version debuted, the Bearbricks. The basic figures now carry a bear like head and belly and follow a different ideology. The concept of these figures tends more towards themes that are often either based on artist and designers work and in some cases have been created in collaboration with them. For example, New York based artist Kaws used to release editions of these Bearbricks long before Streetart became widely popular. Lately, these pieces have created huge hype where any of his works incl. the Bearbrick figures achieve astronomical prices. I’m happy to have sourced one of this 400% (28cm high) Bearbrick, which coincidentally was released in the same year as the speedy in 2015, to add a new element to the Snoopy Speedy.
Which brings us to Snoopys opponent, the almighty Ultraman!
I selected this watch not only because it is based on the history of the Vintage Ultraman from 1967, but more for being a watch that has been created withreal Omega fans forOmega fans. Going a few years back in time, the Fratello Watches crew and I crossed paths many times and still do. Not only because both of us are based in the Netherlands, but we share the same spirit of having started as watch collectors. From the days of watch meetings and endless hours on forums, to the hobby that we today luckily have changed to our own businesses. Sure with the extra amount of passion and dedication which was and is necessary today. When Robert Jan, the Founder of Fratello used the hashtag #speedytuesday on a random Speedmaster wristshot, taken on a Tuesday years ago, it kickstarted a movement. Becoming a major hashtag used not only amongst Speedmaster fans worldwide on a Tuesday, but also becoming a link of like minded people with a huge impact on the collectors through Facebook and Instagram long after forums have more or less died. Plus an ongoing series of great content on their magazine was born and continued up to date. An impact that the Omega brand itself recognized and rewarded by collaborating with Fratello on a limited edition: The first Speedy Tuesday Speedmaster was released in 2017, being inspired by the Alaska Project watch. After a huge success the follow up was launched last year under the name and concept Ultraman.
But let’s have a quick look on the history of the Original Ultraman from 1968. The nickname is based on a specific Speedmaster and its apperance in the Japanese science fiction series Ultraman. Created by Eiji Tsuburaya, who was known for being a watch fan himself and having featured several kind of watches in different productions for which he was responsible. To be precise, the watch was seen in the Return of Ultraman, a production Eijis’s son made after his death. By featuring the later nicknamed Speedmaster 145.012 in the movie, his son seemed not only to have revived Ultramans character after his fathers death but also the watch spirit was carried on to the next generation.
The Speedmaster featured an orange second hand and later got its nickname because of the guest appearance in the Japanese production. For a long time it was rumored that this quite uncommon configuration was either a one of a kind custom or maybe the watch got a not authentic replacement part. Back then watchmakers repaired watches with a not so narrow minded view on originality of parts. Very common that watches were repaired based on functionality only. After all these assumptions a handful of watches surfaced that have finally been approved and authenticated with an official extract of the archives, confirming that the watches were delivered with this special hand. This makes them, today, one of the rarest Speedmasters of all time.
So following this great part of history, Fratello dedicated their Speedytuesday 2 to this great story and found a concept that incorporated the spirit of the Ultraman series, the link to Omega and took it further than just an orange hand. In terms of nice extras and especially the packaging and the watch boxes most of the latest Omega limited releases have a lot to offer. We sold some of the Alaska Project re-editions in the past and it was always a pleasure to see what a great package this set had. This Ultraman takes it to another level. Beginning with a crazy heavy octagonal watch box based on the design of a table featured in the series. Up to a tool that can be used to switch bracelets and as well as working as a UV light that let’s you discover the hidden Ultraman head in the sub dial. And the shape of the tool is based on Ultraman’s capsule. How many more details can you combine in one watch? An over all great job that is rounded off with different orange color splashes on bezel, bracelet and the vintage inspired step dial to extend the vibe of the famous second hand.
It really is an outstanding collector’s package – a great watch that I got myself and searched for the right toy to match.
Which led me to find a little time capsule. An original early 80s released toy from BANDAI. Produced in and made for the Japanese market. The packaging alone is a special thing, featuring some great snaps from the series. Appearing a bit abstruse, how science fiction looked like 40 years ago. But indeed it is actually more charming.
The figure is in a very good and unplayed-with condition and has some nice patina. A nice contrast to the crisp watch. A great and authentic addition to complete this awesome set which is available in our shop now.
I hope you enjoyed following me on this chapter and stay tuned for the next and last one, as this time I have something special for all Speedmaster owners and watch lovers alike!