The Seiko 6139 automatic chronograph – a historical movement in its own right, like this freshly serviced new-old stock (that's right, we said NOS) Japanese Domestic Market-only 1972 Seiko 6139-7060 here, with sharp caselines and what strongly appears to be its original caseback sticker – 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 widely debated who won, but in the background of the skirmish Seiko quietly created their own, beating the Swiss at their own game – 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.
Fast forward to late 2018, and Seiko enthusiasts were treated to the discovery early 1970s famous Formula One racing bad boy Francois Cevert wore one while racing, hence the moniker "Cevert," which caught on in collector circles quickly.
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 NOS 6139 comes with a leather rally strap, nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
New Old Stock JDM 1972 Seiko SpeedTimer 6139-7060 Automatic Chronograph
DIAL: Original dark bluish-emerald Seiko SpeedTimer-signed dial, with original minute, hour and vibrant red chronograph hands. Day/date - with English/Kanji Japanese day variants - at 3 o’clock position works nicely. Original sharp inner tachymeter ring - with zero fade - rotates smoothly as designed. Lume plots are in pearly white condition, with correct sugar cube texture, and shine following exposure to strong light.
CASE: Original 41mm (with an almost entirely recessed crown) x 44mm stainless steel case with original "water 70 resist" signed caseback, with intact bluish/green caseback sticker. Case lines are quite sharp, with no evidence of machine polishing, and the brushing on the top of the case remains fully intact.
CRYSTAL: Original Hardlex crystal, no scratches or imperfections.
BAND: This NOS 6139 comes with a brown leather rally strap, with stainless-steel hardware. It also comes with a vintage stainless-steel bracelet that while rather similar in appearance to the original Seiko one, it is not original; this bracelet will fit an approximately eight inch wrist.
MOVEMENT: Original Seiko 17-jewel 6139B automatic movement, manufactured in November 1972. We have performed a full serviced on this watch.
CROWN: Original mostly recessed unsigned stainless-steel crown.
CHRONOGRAPH PUSHERS: Chronograph pushers depress with satisfying click – no sticking. Original yellow chronograph main and subdial hands reset as designed to zero.