The Seiko 6139 "Silver Pogue" automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like this near NOS, all original, and just serviced 1971 Seiko 6139-6002 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.


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, a pittance compared to what it would pull today in auction.

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 "silver Pogue" comes with a leather strap, NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.

Near NOS 1971 Seiko 6139-6002 "Silver Pogue" Automatic Chronograph

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  • DIAL: Brilliant original silver sunburst dial, with patina; original baton minute, hour, and red chronograph hands. Day/date at 3 o’clock position works nicely.  original inner tachymeter ring rotates smoothly as designed.  Lume plots shine nicely, following exposure to strong light.  

     

    CASE: Original 41mm (w/o crown, 42mm with) x 46mm stainless steel case in pre-loved condition - no scratches.  Original red and blue “Pepsi” bezel insert, in sharp condition.  Oddly - unlike other 6139s - the silver-dialed variant kept its "water resist" signed nomenclature on its dial well after it was removed from the other 6139-600x variants.  Seiko did some pretty cool and unusual things in the 1970s.

     

    CRYSTAL: Original Hardlex crystal, no scratches.

     

    BAND: This 6139 comes with a dark brown leather rally strap, with red and blue accent stitching and stainless-steel hardware; it also comes with a NATO strap of our choosing.

     

    MOVEMENT: Original Seiko 17-jewel 6139B automatic movement, manufactured in September 1971.  This 6139 received a full service in January 2020.

     

    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. 

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