The Seiko 6139 automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like this full serviced 1972 Seiko 6139-7069 chronograph here - was one of the first automatic chronographs created and ranks with Zenith’s El Primero and Heuer’s Calibre 11.
The dial on this Japanese Domestic Market-only Seiko 6139 variant is amazing, and changes color - based on viewer angle - from blue, to grey, to even light purple. Couple this with the vibrant orange chronograph hands, pop of blue on the chrono subdial, with crisp reddish-orange "SpeedTImer" lettering and dial-edge seconds track, and you have an incredibly winning combination.
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 Ref. 6139.
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 November 1968, indicating Seiko beat all other rivals to produce the world's first automatic chronograph. Period.
Seiko's 6139 automatic movement was the first chronograph to have a vertical clutch, a feature considered to be one of the hallmarks of a superior automatic chronograph movement. It also 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, along with a single register chronograph allowing time to be measured in increments of 30 minutes.
This Seiko 6139 comes on a generic stainless-steel bracelet, nylon strap, rugged travel case, and springbar tool.
1972 Seiko 6139-8002 Automatic Chronograph
DIAL: Fantastically-colored Seiko-signed dial, with correct minute, hour, and chronograph hands. Day/date – with Kanji Japanese/English language variants – at 3 o’clock position works as designed. Lume plots shine following exposure to strong light.
CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 41mm x 42.5mm, with no evidence of machine polish.
CRYSTAL: 6139-correct hardlex crystal, no scratches.
BAND: This 6139 comes on a generic vintage stainless-steel bracelet, which will fit up to an approx. eight inch wrist; it also comes with a dark blue, orange, and white nylon strap.
MOVEMENT: Seiko 6139B automatic movement, manufactured in April 1972. We have performed a full service on this watch.
CROWN: Recessed and unsigned stainless-steel crown.
CHRONOGRAPH PUSHERS: Chronograph pushers depress and with a satisfying click – no sticking - and chronograph hands reset to zero as designed.