Seiko's 6139 automatic chronograph - a historical movement in its own right, like this fully serviced 1973 Seiko 6139-6012 here - was one of the first automatic chronograph movements created, and rightly counts itself within the ranks of the first automatic chronographs, like Heuer's Calibre 11 and Zenith/Movado’s El Primero movements.
Seiko did their homework when they designed these deep blue dials, and pictures do not do these justice - these dials are amazing to behold in person, and this dial, in flawless condition, is no different.
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.
The 6139 was the first chronograph to have a vertical clutch, a feature considered by many to be one of the hallmarks of a superior automatic chronograph movement. The 6139 also features an automatic column wheel timing control, vertical coupling mechanism, and is an integrated chronograph – the first in the world – which means the entire 6139 movement was designed and built to be a chronograph, vice being an automatic movement with a mere timing module added (**cough cough** the Calibre 11).
With this movement, Seiko set the standard, which was followed by the Swiss watch industries 20 years later. The same movement configuration was adopted by Rolex when it made its own in-house movement for the Daytona in 2000, 30 years after Seiko released the caliber 6139 and 6138. This particular Seiko 6139, the 601x variant, represents yet another variant of Seiko's famed 6139 automatic chronograph line.
This 6139 comes with a leather strap, nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1973 Seiko 6139-6012 "Deep Blue" Automatic Chronograph
DIAL: Radiant Seiko-signed "deep blue" dial, with subtle patina; matching minute, hour, and large chronograph hands on main dial - minute and hour hands have been replaced with NOS examples. Day/date at 3 o’clock position, with Spanish/English day variants, works nicely. Lume remains a great pearly white, with a hint of patina.
CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 39mm x 43.5mm; caselines are sharp, with no evidence of machine polish.
CRYSTAL: 6139-correct hardlex crystal, no scratches.
BAND: Brown leather strap, with cream-colored stitching and stainless-steel hardware. This 6139 also comes with a dark blue and red nylon NATO strap.
MOVEMENT: Seiko 17-jewel 6139B automatic movement, manufactured in February 1973. We have performed a full service on this watch.
CROWN: Recessed unsigned stainless steel crown.
CHRONOGRAPH PUSHERS: Chronograph pushers depress with satisfying click – no stick, and original chronograph main and subdial hands reset as designed to 0.