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The Seiko 6138 automatic chronograph - like this early 1971 Seiko 6138-0011 SpeedTimer "Yachtman" JDM automatic chronograph here - has a well-known cult status, hence the nickname “UFO” (although advertised by Seiko as the “Yachtman Chronograph”) due to its flying saucer-esque case design.  And this is one of the best examples we've seen in a while!

 

The UFO features an innovative and simple construction, such as a unique lug-less case, very indicative of the 1970s in which it was made, its pushers (held in place by the movement’s spacer ring) and crown are well proportioned for the case size.  The oddly numbered 6138 was the successor to the 6139 - the world’s first automatic chronograph - after its introduction in 1969, and the 6138 followed closely behind and was likewise produced by Seiko until 1979.

 

The 6138 SpeedTimer here was only sold in Japan, and not widely known outside of the country - unless, of course, one considers a comical McDonald's attempt to - seemingly - exploit child bereavement in a 1990s commercial in the UK; the fast food behmoth was forced to withdraw the ad following widespread complaints - but it did feature the Seiko 6138 UFO.

 

The main differences between the 6138 and 6139 is the 6138 offers hand-winding and featured two chronograph registers versus the sole one on the 6139 - and the 6138, due to larger movement size, tend to be at least several mm's larger in size, in particular the Seiko 6138 UFO here.  The Seiko 6138 contains subdial registers measuring minutes and hours, whereas the 6139 only measured minutes.  Inside, the UFO features a column wheel and vertical coupling – all hallmarks of a serious chronograph movement.

 

The UFO’s black dial is contrasted with silver subdials and orange/red highlights on the central chronometer hand, dial and the external tachymeter bezel, and its fully integrated chronograph render it truly a landmark design, easily pitting it against the Zenith El Primero.

 

This Seiko UFO comes on a maroon leather rally strap, and with nylon strap, spring bar tool, and rugged travel case.

1971 Seiko SpeedTimer 6138-0011 Yachtman "UFO" Automatic Chronograph

$1,499.99Price
  • DIAL: Seiko SpeedTimer-signed black dial - reddish-orange dial accents remain particularly vibrant with zero fade, unlike on most UFO examples.  Day/date - with Kanji Japanese/English day variants - at 3 o’clock position works nicely.  Correct hour, minute, and chronograph handset; lume throughout handset and dial retains shine.

     

    CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 44mm (w/o crown, 46mm with) x 47mm; matching caseback.  The factory-original brushed finish is wholly intact with zero evidence of machine polish; bezel insert is in overall excellent condition, with crisp wirting and no fade. 

     

    CRYSTAL: Correct 6138 Hardlex crystal, no cracks nor scratches.

     

    BAND: This UFO comes on a maroon leather rally strap; it also comes with a black nylon strap.

     

    MOVEMENT: 21-jewel Seiko 6138A automatic movement, manufactured in March 1971.  

     

    CROWN: Unsigned stainless-steel crown.

     

    CHRONOGRAPH PUSHERS: Chronograph pushers depress with satisfying click, no stick.  All chronograph hands reset to zero as designed.

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