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The Seiko 6139 automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like this JDM 1971 Seiko 6139-7012 SpeedTimer chronograph, sold only in Japan – 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 widely debated who won, but in the background of this skirmish, Seiko quietly created one theirs 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, named after U.S. 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 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 (like the Heuer Calibre 11 **cough cough**).   The 6139 also features a single register chronograph, allowing time to be measured in increments of 30 minutes.


This Seiko 6139 comes on a leather-backed cavas strap, and with nylon strap, rugged travel case, and springbar tool.

1972 Seiko 6139-7012 SpeedTimer JDM Chronograph

Out of Stock
  • DIAL: Brilliant black Seiko SpeedTimer-signed dial; correct minute and hour hands, with vibrant orange chronograph hands on main and subdial.  Day/date – with Kanji Japanese/English variants – at 3 o’clock position works nicely.  Lume plots shine following exposure to strong light.  


    CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 41mm x 43mm,  with no evidence of machine polishing.


    CRYSTAL: Correct original Hardlex crystal, no scratches.


    BAND: The Seiko 6139 comes on a light grey leather-backed canvas strap; it also comes on a black nylon strap.


    MOVEMENT: Seiko 21-jewel 6139B automatic movement, manufactured in July 1972. 


    CROWN: Recessed unsigned stainless-steel crown.


    CHRONOGRAPH PUSHERS: Chronograph pushers depress with satisfying click – no sticking.  Vibrant orange chronograph main and subdial hands reset as designed to zero. 

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