The Seiko 6139 automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like this all original Japanese Domestic Market (JDM)-only 1971 Seiko 6139-6032 Coke 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 a feat debated who won, but in the background of this skirmish, Seiko quietly created their own at the same time, likely 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 $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 an Uncle Seiko H-link bracelet, nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1971 Seiko 6139-6032 "Coke" SpeedTimer Automatic Chronograph
DIAL: Brilliant original black SpeedTimer-signed proof dial; original baton minute and hour hands. Day/date – with Japanese Kanji/English language variants – at 3 o’clock position works nicely. Original inner tachymeter ring rotates smoothly as designed (original tachymeter will be included). Lume plots still shine following exposure to strong light - lume partially missing from several of the hour indices. Subdial features every so slight patina.
CASE: Original 41mm (w/o crown, 42mm with) x 46mm stainless steel case - no deep scratches. Original red and black “Coke” bezel insert, in excelletn condition. Case lines are mostly sharp, with no evidence of machine polishing. Original caseback is water resistant-signed.
CRYSTAL: 6139-correct hardlex crystal, no scratches.
BAND: This 6139 Coke comes with an Uncle Seiko H-link stainless-steel bracelet - these are high-quality (better than original) and well-regarded faithful renditions of the original Seiko H-link bracelet; it will fit an eight inch wrist. This Coke also comes with a black nylon NATO strap, which nicely compliments the so-called "Coke" black and red bezel insert - both are great matches to the sporty nature of this SpeedTimer.
MOVEMENT: Original Seiko 6139B automatic movement, manufactured in May 1971.
CROWN: Recessed original unsigned stainless-steel crown.
CHRONOGRAPH PUSHERS: Chronograph pushers depress with satisfying click – no sticking. With a firm push, original chronograph main and subdial hands reset to zero.