The Seiko 6139 and 6138 series - the ever-popular and all-original 1973 Seiko 6138-8020 "gold panda" here counts itself among the latter - were the first fully integrated automatic chronograph in the world featuring column wheel and vertical coupling mechanism. A feature of these sporty 6138-8020’s were their unique "panda" dials, hence its nickname.
With the 6138 movement, Seiko - as usual - set the standard followed by the Swiss watch industry 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 its 6139 and 6138 calibres. Oddly, the 6138 was the successor of the 6139 automatic chronograph movement, and produced in parallel with it until 1979.
The 6138 was technically at least equal to its Swiss counterparts, as it featured a fully integrated chronograph vice stacked modules. There were two versions of the 6138, with the first, the 6138A, introduced in 1970 with 21 jewels. The 6138B – like the one for sale here – was introduced subsequent, and featured 23 jewels. Both had a column wheel that regulated chrono functions, and a vertical clutch mechanism for engagement. The 6138A/B was a two register chronograph, counting up to 30 minutes on one subdial and another 12 hours on the second dial. All 6138 movements feature a quick-set day/date indicator and can be handwound (unlike the 6139 model), relatively unique for Seiko chronographs of this era.
This 6138 Panda comes with its original two-tone bracelet, funky NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1973 Seiko 6138-8020 "Gold Panda" Automatic Chronograph
DIAL: Original Seiko dial, with original hour, minute, and chronograph hands. Day and date function at the 3 o'clock position work correctly as designed.
CASE: Original 40mm (w/o crown, 41.5mm with) x 42.5mm gold-plated stainless-steel case. Matching original caseback. Please note some wear on the gold plating on the back of the case (the only place the case has wear), common in these - this wear is not evident when watch is worn.
CRYSTAL: Flawless Seiko-correct acrylic crystal, no scratches.
BAND: This Panda comes with its original two-tone gold and silver stainless-steel Seiko-signed bracelet. This gold panda also comes with a rather funky nylon NATO strap – a rather nice compliment to the two tone nature of this gold panda.
MOVEMENT: Original 6128B Seiko 23-jewel automatic movement, manufactured in March 1973, which beats at 21,600 beats per hour.
CROWN: Original unsigned stainless steel crown.