The Seiko 6139 automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like this all original just serviced 1971 Seiko 6139-6031 SpeedTimer "Coke" 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 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 a feat debated who won, but in the background of this skirmish, Seiko quietly created one theirs at the same time – the 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 a mere $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.
This Pogue comes with a leather rally strap, nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1971 Seiko 6139A-6031 "Coke" SpeedTimer Automatic Chronograph
DIAL: Brilliant original black SpeedTimer-signed proof-signed dial; original minute and hour hands, with slight patina. Day/date – with Japanese Kanji/English language variants – at 3 o’clock position works nicely. Nicely detailed original inner tachymeter ring rotates smoothly as designed. Lume plots shine following exposure to strong light.
CASE: Original 41mm (w/o crown, 42mm with) x 46mm stainless steel case with excellent sharp caselines. Original red and black “Coke” bezel insert is in spectacular condition. Case lines are sharp, with no evidence of machine polishing. Original caseback is proof-signed.
CRYSTAL: Hardlex crystal, no scratches.
BAND: The Pogue comes with a quick-release dark brown leather rally strap with cream accent stitching and stainless steel hardware. It also comes with a dark blue and red nylon NATO strap, which nicely compliments the "Coke" black and red bezel insert - both straps are great matches to the sporty nature of this SpeedTimer.
MOVEMENT: Original Seiko 6139A automatic movement, manufactured in January 1971. This early 6139 movement features 21 jewels (the subsequent 6138B had 17) and stunning red font on movement - it received a full service in September 2020.
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.