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The Seiko 6139 automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like this gold 1976 Seiko 6139-6012 chrono 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 one at the same time, beating the Swiss at their own game – the Seiko Ref. 6139.


During 1969, Seiko put the final touches on its 6139 - although the company officially began selling these in May 1969, the 6139 had already begun appearing in automatic chronographs as early as January of the same year


Seiko published the first advertisement for their new automatic 6139 chronograph in February 1969, and appeared to be unaware its 6139 SpeedTimer was the world’s first automatic chronograph, easily beating the Swiss - the company was concentrating that year 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 have 6139 dials dating back to October 1968, indicating Seiko beat all other rivals to produce the world's first automatic chronograph.  Period.


The 6139 was the first chronograph to have a vertical clutch, a feature considered by many to be one of the hallmarks of a superior automatic chronograph movement.  The 6139 features a single register chronograph allowing time to be measured in increments of 30 minutes, and also features an automatic column wheel timing control, vertical coupling mechanism, and is an integrated chronograph – the first in the world – which means the entire 6139 movement was designed and built to be a chronograph, vice being an automatic movement with a mere timing module added.


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 gold Seiko 6139 comes on a gold bracelet, and with leather strap, springbar tool, and rugged travel case.

Gold 1976 Seiko 6139-6012 Automatic Chronograph

Out of Stock
  • DIAL: Gold Seiko dial, featuring crisp script; lume on dial hour indices continues to shine, and retains its white color.  Day/date complication – with Arabic/English variants – at 3 o’clock position works as designed.  Handset features the same quality lume as dial.


    CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 39.5mm x 43.5mm; crown is recessed.  Caseback has "water resist" nomenclature, and features its original caseback sticker.


    CRYSTAL: Flawless Hardlex crystal, no scratches.


    BAND: This 6139 comes on a quality gold-plated aftermarket Seiko-signed bracelet, which will accomadate up to an approx. 8.5 inch wrist; it also comes with a black leather strap, with gold hardware. 


    MOVEMENT: Seiko 6139B automatic movement, manufactured in April 1976. 


    CROWN: Recessed unsigned gold-plated stainless-steel crown.


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

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