The Seiko 6139 "Pogue" automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like this full serviced Seiko 6139-8020 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 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 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.

 

With this movement, Seiko set the standard, which was followed by the Swiss watch industries 20 years later. The same movement configuration was adopted by Rolex when it made its own in-house movement for the Daytona in 2000, 30 years after Seiko released the caliber 6139 and 6138.

This 6139 includes a leather strap, NATO strap, springbar tool, and Pelican travel case.

1972 Seiko 6139-8020 Automatic Chronograph

$749.99Price
  • DIAL: Seiko-signed silver dial with light blue quasi chapter ring, and matching minute and hour hands; lume shines. Day/date complication – with seldom seen English/Dutch language variants – at 3 o’clock position works nicely.

     

    CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 40mm x 42mm, crown is recessed. 

     

    CRYSTAL: Domed crystal, no scratches.

     

    BAND: This 6139 comes with a light brown leather strap – a great sporty compliment to the inherent vintage nature of this Seiko 6139 chronograph.  This 6139 also comes with a dark blue and gray NATO strap, a great compliment to the blue dial.

     

    MOVEMENT: Seiko 17-jewel 6139B automatic movement, manufactured in August 1972.  We have fully serviced this watch.

     

    CROWN: Recessed unsigned stainless steel crown.

     

    CHRONOGRAPH PUSHERS: Chronograph pushers depress with a satisfying click, no stick, and reset as designed to zero with no issue.