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The Seiko 6139 automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like this 1970 Seiko 6139-6009 "True Cevert" here, on a high quality H-link bracelet – was one of the first automatic chronographs created and ranks with Zenith’s El Primero and Heuer’s Calibre 11.


Back in the 1970’s, Heuer and Zenith had taken hold of the entire sports watch industry by racing to become the first to produce an automatic chronograph. It has been awidely debated who won, but in the background of the skirmish Seiko quietly created their own, beating the Swiss at their own game – the Seiko Calibre 6139.


Within the Road Rat automotive magazine Autumn/Winter 2018 debut edition, an article was included on the Seiko 6139 automatic chronograph – the first automatic chronograph in the world – and its connection to Formula One (F1) racing legend, François Cevert, marking the first widely(ish) publicized link between the dark blue-dialed 6139 and Cevert.  Hence the moniker "Cevert," which caught on in collector circles quickly.


And what of the "True Cevert" moniker? 


Following our research into the “true” variant of the 6139 Bruce Lee, we endeavored to do similar to discover the “true” variant Cevert wore – after research, we assess the “True Cevert” to be a 6139-6009, most likely dating to 1970 (or possibly 1969).  The example here - a North America-sold 6139 with a "notch" case, but a transitional variant - checks all the boxes as the one Cevert most likely possessed; see our research, here.


During the early months of 1969, Seiko put the final touches on its revolutionary 6139 chronograph - in fact, the Japanese company first began putting the 6139 in automatic chronographs as early as January of the same year.


Seiko published its first advertisement for their new automatic 6139 chronograph in February 1969, easily beating the Swiss - however, the company was concentrating on the release of the world's first quartz watch, the Astron, which would completely disrupt the watch world as it was known at the time (again, much to the chagrin of the Swiss watch industry, we're certain). We possess 6139 dials dating back to October 1968, indicating Seiko beat all other rivals to produce the world's first automatic chronograph.  Period.


Of subsequent note, NASA astronaut Colonel Richard Covey wore a Seiko 6139 like this one during his Discovery Space Shuttle STS-51 mission that launched the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite in September 1993.  The flight also featured the deployment and retrieval of the SPAS-ORFEUS satellite and its IMAX camera, which captured spectacular footage of Discovery in space.


This True Cevert 6139 comes on a stainless-steel Uncle Seiko H-link bracelet, and with nylon strap, rugged travel case, and springbar tool.

1970 Seiko 6139-6009 "True Cevert" Chronograph

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  • DIAL: Dark blue Seiko-signed dial, with matching minute, hour and vibrant red chronograph hands.  Day/date - with English/Spanish day variants - at 3 o’clock position works nicely.  Inner tachymeter ring rotates smoothly as designed.  Lume plots are in good condition, with correct sugar cube-texture, and shine following exposure to strong light.


    CASE: 41mm (w/o crown, 42mm with) x 46mm stainless-steel "notch" case with "Water 70 Resist" signed caseback.  Vibrant red and blue “Pepsi” bezel insert remains fully intact with next to no wear, with sharp case lines and no evidence of machine polishing.  Brushed finish on top of the case remains.


    CRYSTAL: Hardlex crystal, no scratches or imperfections.


    BAND: This Cevert comes on a stainless-steel Uncle Seiko H-link bracelet, which will fit up to an approx. 8.5" inch wrist.  It also comes with a blue nylon strap.


    MOVEMENT: Seiko 17-jewel 6139A automatic movement, manufactured in March 1970. 


    CROWN: Recessed unsigned stainless-steel crown.


    CHRONOGRAPH PUSHERS: Chronograph pushers depress with satisfying click – no sticking.  Red chronograph main resets to .5 and subdial hand resets to zero. 

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