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The Seiko 6139 automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like this 1971 Seiko 6139-6031 "Coke" chronograph here, paired with a high quality SpeedTimer bracelet – 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 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 October 1968, indicating Seiko beat all other rivals to produce the world's first automatic chronograph.  Period.

 

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.

 

The Seiko 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.  It also features a single register chronograph allowing time to be measured in increments of 30 minutes.

 

This Japanese Domestic Market (JDM)-only Seiko 6139 comes on a high quality Uncle Straps SpeedTimer bracelet, and with a nylon strap, rugged travel case, and springbar tool.

1971 Seiko 6139-6032 "Coke" SpeedTimer Chronograph

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  • DIAL: Detailed black SpeedTimer-signed dial in excellent condition, with baton minute and hour hands, and vibrant orange chronograph seconds and subdial minute hands (no fade).  Day/date – with Japanese Kanji/English language variants – at 3 o’clock position works nicely.  Inner tachymeter ring rotates smoothly as designed.  Lume plots shine following exposure to strong light.

     

    CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 41mm (w/o crown, 42mm with) x 46mm, with sharp case lines and no evidence of machine polish.  The flawless and vibrant red and black “Coke” bezel insert evinces no fade, an excellent bonus.  Matching caseback is water resistant-signed.

     

    CRYSTAL: Hardlex crystal, no scratches or cracks.

     

    BAND: This Seiko 6139 Coke comes on a high quality Uncle Straps Seiko SpeedTimer bracelet, which will fit up to an approx. 8.75 inch wrist; it also comes with a black nylon strap. 

     

    MOVEMENT: JDM-only 21-jewel Seiko 6139A automatic movement, manufactured in May 1971.

     

    CROWN: Recessed unsigned stainless-steel crown.

     

    CHRONOGRAPH PUSHERS: Chronograph pushers depress with satisfying click – no sticking.  With a firm push, chronograph main and subdial hands reset to zero with no issue. 

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