The Seiko 6139 automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like the all original 1974 Seiko 6139-6005 "Cevert" 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 a feat debated who won, but in the background of this skirmish, Seiko quietly created their own at the same time, likely beating the Swiss at their own game – the Seiko 6139.
Fast forward to late 2018, and Seiko enthusiasts were treated to the discovery that the early 1970s famous F1 racing bad boy Francois Cevert wore one while racing, hence the moniker "Cevert," which caught on in collector circles quickly.
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 6139!
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.
This Cevert comes with a leather strap, NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1974 Seiko 6139-6005 "Cevert" Automatic Chronograph
DIAL: Brilliant original dark blue dial, with exceptional lume. Original hour, minute, and red chronograph hands. Day/date at 3 o’clock position works nicely. Original, albeit slightly faded, inner tachymeter ring rotates smoothly as designed.
CASE: Original 41mm (w/o crown, 42mm with) x 46mm stainless steel case, with good, sharp caselines - no scratches. Original red and blue “Pepsi” bezel insert, with several small indentations.
CRYSTAL: Seiko 6139-correct Hardlex crystal, no scratches, blemishes, or imperfections.
BAND: The blue Cevert comes with a light brown leather strap, with cream-colored accent stitching and stainless steel hardware. This 6139 also comes with a red, white, and blue nylon NATO strap, also with stainless steel hardware.
MOVEMENT: Original Seiko 17-jewel 6139B automatic movement, manufactured in June 1974.
CROWN: Recessed original unsigned stainless steel crown.
CHRONOGRAPH PUSHERS: Chronograph pushers depress with satisfying click – no sticking - and reset to zero.