That’s right. Omega broke the frickin Internet for a second time with the launch on Speedy Tuesday of what has become one of the most coveted, hotly contested, lust-inspiring limited-edition watches of the last decade: the Omega Speedmaster Ultraman. What this watch also showed is that unlike a multitude of watch brands that seem totally disconnected and even obliviously unaware of their own brands’ histories and equities, Omega knows its brand history to the core and is a master at activating its past to drive us crazy. Omega always has its finger on the contemporary consumer’s pulse. And on 10 July this year, it drove thousands — if not millions — of pulses to near heart-attack overdrive when it dropped the Ultraman on us.

2018 Speedmaster Limited Edition 42mm "Ultraman"
2018 Speedmaster Limited Edition 42mm "Ultraman"

Inspired by the ineffable cool of a Speedmaster ST 145.012-67 that falls in the range of movement numbers 26.076.8xx to 26.079.7xx with an unusually long (18.80mm, to be exact) orange chronograph seconds hand. Now what was particularly cool about the new launch was that the old watch was never officially called the “Ultraman,” but was bestowed this sobriquet by collectors because of its appearance in the TV show The Return of Ultraman in 1971 — which means that in order to officially associate their new watch with Ultraman, they had to reach out to the show’s creators and convince them to partner up on this insanely cool new timepiece.

The 1968 Speedmaster ref. ST 145.012-67 with the peculiar orange chrono hand that collectors have nicknamed: The Ultraman (Image: omegawatches.com)
The 1968 Speedmaster ref. ST 145.012-67 with the peculiar orange chrono hand that collectors have nicknamed: The Ultraman, seen here with a 0-100 scale bezel (Image: omegawatches.com)

That fact they undertook all this to empower a watch inspired by another legendary Speedmaster demonstrates, firstly, that Omega will go to any length to create something mind-blowing; secondly, they know precisely the type of watches collectors will lose their mind-blown synapses over, as evidenced by the sellout of all 2018 watches in under two hours. Kudos to Omega for also being the first watch brand to truly understand the power of social media, and actively engaging with the collector community — in particular, Fratello Watches founder Robert-Jan Broer, the creator of Speedy Tuesday, who consulted on the watch design.

And if that wasn’t enough, Omega should also be applauded for being the first watch brand to use their own vintage movements in a retro-modern timepiece that pays homage to their original wrist chronograph with the aptly named First Omega Wrist-Chronograph Limited Edition. For all of these reasons, Omega is our 2018 Brand of the Year.

The First Omega Wrist-Chronograph Limited Edition, in just 18 examples powered by the 18’’’ CHRO calibre from 1913
The First Omega Wrist-Chronograph Limited Edition, in just 18 examples powered by the 18’’’ CHRO calibre from 1913