The Seiko 6139 "Pogue" automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like this just serviced and all original mid-1972 Seiko 6139-6005 "Pogue" 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 strap, nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1972 Seiko 6139-6005 "Pogue" Automatic Chronograph
DIAL: Brilliant original gold sunburst dial; original baton minute and hour hands, with original two-piece red chronograph hand on main and subdial. Day/date - with English/Spanish day variants - at 3 o’clock position works nicely. Nicely intact inner tachymeter ring is original and rotates smoothly as designed. Lume plots are in outstanding condition, with no "lume rot," and shine following exposure to strong light.
CASE: Original 41mm (w/o crown, 42mm with) x 46mm stainless steel case in pre-loved condition - no deep scratches - with original "waterresist" signed caseback. Original red and blue “Pepsi” bezel insert, with little fade evident. Case lines are sharp, with zero evidence of machine polishing.
CRYSTAL: Hardlex crystal, no scratches.
BAND: The Pogue comes with a light brown leather strap with stainless steel hardware, with cream accent stitching - a great matching sporty compliment. It also comes with a red, white, and blue nylon NATO strap, another nice compliment of the Pepsi bezel insert.
MOVEMENT: Original Seiko 17-jewel 6139A automatic movement, manufactured in August 1972 - this watch just exited a full serivce in January 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.