The Seiko 6139 "Pogue" automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like this full serviced 1972 Seiko 6139-6005 "Pogue" here – 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 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 movement features a single register chronograph allowing time to be measured in increments of 30 minutes.
This Pogue comes with a leather strap, nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1972 Seiko 6139-6005 "Colonel Pogue" Automatic Chronograph
DIAL: Brilliant gold sunburst dial, with slight patina; baton minute and hour hands, with red chronograph hands on main and subdial (subdial hand is slightly different shade of red, possibility it was replaced or aged at a different rate). Day/date – with Spanish/English variants – at 3 o’clock position works nicely. Inner tachymeter ring is original and rotates smoothly as designed. Lume plots shine following exposure to strong light.
CASE: Original 41mm (w/o crown, 42mm with) x 46mm stainless steel case in pre-loved condition - no scratches. Original red and blue “Pepsi” bezel insert in unfaded condition. Case lines are sharp, with no evidence of machine polishing.
CRYSTAL: Hardlex crystal, no scratches or imperfections.
BAND: The Pogue comes with a light brown leather strap, with stainless-steel hardware. It also comes with red and dark blue nylon NATO strap, which nicely matches the Pepsi bezel insert - a great compliment to the sporty nature of this Pogue.
MOVEMENT: Original Seiko 17-jewel 6139B automatic movement, manufactured in January 1972. We have performed a a full service on this watch.
CROWN: Recessed original unsigned stainless steel crown.
CHRONOGRAPH PUSHERS: Chronograph pushers depress with satisfying click – no sticking. Original red chronograph main and subdial hands reset as designed to zero.