The Seiko 6139 "Pogue" automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like this near new-old stock all original mid-1972 Seiko 6139-6005 for sale – 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.
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 6139 movement features a single register chronograph allowing time to be measured in increments of 30 minutes.
Near NOS 1972 Seiko 6139-6005 Automatic Chronograph
DIAL: Flawless original gold sunburst dial; original baton minute and hour hands, with original red chronograph hands on main and subdial. Day/date – with Spanish/English variants – at 3 o’clock position works nicely. Original inner tachymeter ring rotates smoothly as designed. Lume plots are exceptional, and shine brightly following exposure to strong light.
CASE: Original 41mm (w/o crown, 42mm with) x 46mm stainless steel case, with no scratches. Original red and blue “Pepsi” bezel insert, again, no scratches or blemishes. Case lines are sharp, with zero evidence of machine polishing.
CRYSTAL: Hardlex crystal, no scratches.
BAND: The Pogue comes with its original H-link stainless steel bracelet, with tight links. It also includes a dark blue NATO strap, which nicely matches the Pepsi bezel insert - both are a great compliment to the sporty nature of this Pogue.
MOVEMENT: Original Seiko 17-jewel 6139B automatic movement, manufactured in July 1972.
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.