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The Seiko 6139 automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like this 1978 Seiko 6139-6005 "Cevert" automatic chronograph here, on its original Seiko stainless-steel "H-link" bracelet – was one of the first automatic chronographs created and ranks with Zenith’s El Primero and Heuer’s Calibre 11.


Within the Road Rat automotive magazine Autumn/Winter 2018 debut edition, an article was included on the Seiko 6139 automatic chronograph – the first automatic chronograph in the world – and its connection to Formula One (F1) racing legend, François Cevert, marking the first widely(ish) publicized link between the dark blue-dialed 6139 and Cevert.  Hence the moniker "Cevert," which caught on in collector circles quickly.


During the same era (and for long after Cevert's untimely racing death), Japanese racer Tetsu Ikuzawa - one of the most successful and prolific Japanese drivers from the early years of the nation's automobile racing history - wore one as well during his races.  While continuing to compete in races in Japan, he was the first Japanese driver to regularly compete in a number of notable European championships, namely the British F3 Championship and European F2 Championship; he was also one of the first Japanese drivers to compete in the epic 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.


Further adding to the Seiko "Cevert" legend, pilot and NASA astronaut Colonel Richard Covey wore his throughout a lengthy career as a fighter pilot supporting MACV-SOG close air support (CAS) missions and the Cambodian Government during the Viet Nam conflict and during multiple subsequent space flight missions, as we wrote about in Watches in Espionage.


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 the skirmish Seiko quietly created their own, beating the Swiss at their own game – the Seiko Calibre 6139.


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.


This Seiko 6139 Cevert comes on its original stainless-steel H-link bracelet, and with nylon strap, rugged travel case, and springbar tool.

1978 Seiko 6139-6005 "Cevert" Automatic Chronograph

  • DIAL: Dark blue Seiko-signed dial, with matching minute, hour and vibrant red chronograph hands.  Day/date (English/Spanish day variants) at 3 o’clock position works nicely.  Inner tachymeter ring rotates smoothly, via crown, as designed.  Lume plots are in good condition - with correct pearly-white and sugar cube-texture we love to see on great 6139 examples - and shine following exposure to strong light.


    CASE: 41mm (w/o crown, 42mm with) x 46mm stainless-steel case with "Water Resist" signed caseback.  Vibrant red and blue “Pepsi” bezel insert remains fully intact with zero fade, sharp case lines, and no evidence of machine polishing.  Brushed finish on top of the case remains.


    CRYSTAL: Hardlex crystal, no scratches or imperfections.


    BAND: This Cevert comes on its original stainless-steel H-link bracelet, which will fit up to an approx. 8.5 inch wrist; it also comes with a grey nylon strap.


    MOVEMENT: Seiko 17-jewel 6139B automatic movement, manufactured in March 1978 (one of the last made). 


    CROWN: Recessed unsigned stainless-steel crown.


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

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