By: COLE PENNINGTON
When Roger Cooper was a young man in the British Merchant Navy, he bought a Speedmaster for £45 in Hong Kong. That was in 1968 and he wore the watch sailing for the next 15 years. The Speedmaster was water resistant up to 200 feet, so why not? If Cooper knew the future value of his watch, I’m sure he wouldn’t have taken it anywhere near the water, but of course, the Speedmaster wasn’t an investment strategy or a rare collectible by any means. It was just a watch to Cooper, and it needed to tell the correct time regardless of what he was doing. It was special because he spent an entire month’s salary on it and bought it in Hong Kong, which, in 1968, was still held by the British. In 1983 he switched to a Casio and tucked the Speedy away.
This wasn’t any old Speedmaster, though. Unknowingly, Cooper had purchased the Speedmaster “Ultraman” – you know, the one the Speedy Tuesday folks drew inspiration from when designing this watch. The differentiating design point is the inclusion of an orange chronograph hand, visually similar to the one found on the Speedmaster MK II. It earned the Ultraman nickname from its TV screen debut on the popular TV show The Return Of Ultraman, in 1971.