The Seiko 6139 automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like this just serviced and all original May 1969 Seiko 6139A-6000 Japanese Domestic Market (JDM)-only SpeedTimer "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 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 a feat debated who won, but in the background of this skirmish, Seiko quietly created one theirs at the same time – the 6139.
Those who know vintage Seiko - in particular 6139 chronograph's - know these early 6139 SpeedTimer's come up for sale rarely, in particular the early models like this one here, dating to when Seiko began mass marketing the 6139 - internationally - in May 1969. We have seen 6139 dating back to January 1969, a rather important detail indicating Seiko beat all other rivals to produce the world's first automatic chronograph.
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 6139 includes a leather rally strap, NATO strap, springbar tool, and Pelican travel case.
May 1969 Seiko 6139A-6000 JDM "Cevert" SpeedTimer Automatic Chronograph
DIAL: Original dark blue SpeedTimer and proof-signed dial. We have replaced the original minute and hour hands with original Seiko 6139 hands in better condition, while maintaining the original red three piece chronograph hands; the original hands will also come with the watch. Day/date complication – with Kanji Japanese/English variants – at 3 o’clock position works nicely.
CASE: Original 39.5mm x 43.5mm stainless steel case. Original caseback has "water proof" nomenclature. Case lines are sharp, with notch above recessed crown. Original inner tachmeyer, with no fading, rotates as designed.
CRYSTAL: New Seiko 6139-correct Hardlex crystal, no scratches or blemishes.
BAND: This 6139 comes with a reddish-brown leather rally strap, a great compliment to the red highlights on the dial. This 6139 also comes with a dark blue and red nylon NATO strap.
MOVEMENT: Original 21-jewel Seiko 6139A automatic movement, manufactured in May 1969. A complete service was performed on this movement in early April 2020.
CROWN: Original recessed unsigned stainless steel crown.
CHRONOGRAPH PUSHERS: Chronograph pushers depress with a satisfying click, no stick, and snap back as designed to zero with no issue.