Timeline Watch

Seiko Speed-timer

Skylab, the first American space station, is launched

1973 Seiko Speed-timer ref. 6139 green dial.

The vintage Seiko automatic chronographs are iconic-historical pieces. They are collectible, beautiful and affordable, generally a Seiko 6138 or 6139 will run you between $100 and $400.

The Seiko caliber 6139 is an automatic chronograph with a single thirty minute register at 6 o’clock and day/date indicator. It has a unique quick set date function; to set the day you push the crown in all the way until it changes. To set the date you press it a bit more gently, very ingenious. There is no continuous seconds hand on the watch, which takes a moment to get used to, the Heuer cal. 11 is the same, no big deal for me.

Think of Japanese watches and you think of Seiko.
The company was founded in 1881 in Tokyo, Japan. Eleven years later, in 1892, Seiko began to produce clocks under the name Seikosha.

Seiko is a Japanese word meaning “exquisite” or success.

The first watches produced under the Seiko brand appeared in 1924. In 1969, Seiko introduced the Astron, the world’s first production quartz watch; when it was introduced, it cost the same as a medium-sized car. Seiko later went on to introduce the first quartz chronograph. In 1985, Orient and Seiko established a joint factory.

Seiko is perhaps best known for its wristwatches, all of which were at one time produced entirely in-house. This includes not only major items such as micro gears, motors, hands, crystal oscillators, batteries, sensors, LCD’s but also minor items such as the oils used in lubricating the watches and the luminous compounds used on the hands and the dials.

Seiko produces both quartz and mechanical watches of varying prices. The least expensive are around US$45 sold under the brand Alba, the most expensive, Credor Juri GBBX998, costs US$554.000.