The Seiko 6139 "Pogue" automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like this all original February 1970 Seiko 6139-6000 "Pogue" proof/proof here – was one of the first automatic chronographs created and ranks with Zenith’s El Primero and Heuer’s Calibre 11. Back in the late 1960'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 widely debated who won, but in the background of this skirmish, Seiko quietly created their own at the same time, beating the Swiss at their own game – the Seiko 6139. We all know Omega was the first watch on the moon, mostly because Omega won’t let us forget (ever). However, the first automatic chronograph in space was the more humble and less publicized Seiko 6139-6005, named after US astronaut Colonel William Pogue, who wore his on the 1973 Skylab 4 mission-despite not obtaining NASA authorization–to time shuttle engine burns due to his familiarity with the watch and trust in its capabilities…trusting the lives of himself and fellow astronauts to the reliability of his Seiko. When asked about his 6139, Pogue confirmed the story and sold his in a 2008 charity auction for the-then-unheard of sum of $6k. The 6139 was the first chronograph to have a vertical clutch, a feature considered to be one of the hallmarks of a superior automatic chronograph movement. The 6139 features an automatic column wheel timing control and an integrated chronograph, which means the entire movement was designed and built to be a chronograph, vice being an automatic movement with a mere timing module. The 6139 movement features a single register chronograph allowing time to be measured in increments of 30 minutes. The 6139 Pogue evolved through several different iterations to comply with U.S. law regarding water proof nomenclature on the dial and several other features, eventually featuring by 1972 a dial and case marked "waterresist," single piece chronograph second hand, 6139B automatic movement, and no "notch" above the crown in the case. However, when the Pogue debuted in January 1969, it was as a proof/proof - namely, a "waterproof" signed case and dial, 6139A automatic movement, two-piece chronograph second hand, and a "notch" in the case over the crown. As the proof/proof 6139 Pogue's were only produced between early 1969 and circa late 1970, these are legitamately rare watches. This Pogue comes with a leather strap, nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1970 Seiko 6139A-6000 "Pogue" Proof/Proof Automatic Chronograph
DIAL: Brilliant original gold sunburst "waterproof"-signed dial; original baton minute and hour hands, with original two-piece red chronograph hand on main and subdial. Day/date - with English/Roman day variants - at 3 o’clock position works nicely. Original inner tachymeter ring rotates smoothly as designed. Lume plots are in outstanding condition, and shine following exposure to strong light - that said, please note the quite subtle patina around the subdial, common for Pogues.
CASE: Original 41mm (w/o crown, 42mm with) x 46mm stainless steel case with correct case notch above crown and an original "waterproof"-signed caseback. Original red and blue “Pepsi” bezel insert, with no fade evident. Case lines are sharp, with zero evidence of machine polishing.
CRYSTAL: Hardlex crystal, no scratches.
BAND: The Pogue comes with its original "H-link" stainless-steel bracelet, which will fit up to an approx. eight inch wrist. This 6139 also comes with a dark blue, red, and gray nylon NATO strap, a great compliment of the Pepsi bezel insert.
MOVEMENT: Original Seiko 17-jewel 6139A automatic movement, manufactured in February 1970.
CROWN: Recessed original unsigned stainless steel crown.
CHRONOGRAPH PUSHERS: Chronograph pushers depress with satisfying click – no sticking. Original red chronograph main and subdial hands reset as designed to zero.