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BIRTHDAY WATCH IS A WATCH THAT WAS PRODUCED THE SAME MONTH AND YEAR AS SOMEONE'S BIRTHDAY.
Model: 5 Sports Speed Timer Chronograph
Year of Production: May 1978
Number of Jewels: 21
Hand and Dial: 3D Baton Indices and Hands
Lug to Lug Height: 45mm
Lug Width: 19mm
Strap: Original Seiko Signed SS Bracelet
Pouch / Box: Brand-New EVA Type Zipper Pouch
To fully understand her history, kindly read-on!
"Today, self-winding (or automatic) chronographs are quite common. Omega created a prototype of one back in 1948 but later abandoned their production plans. Over 20 years later, two companies and one collaboration would finally make it to series production: Seiko, Zenith, and a joint venture between Heuer, Breitling, and Hamilton. These manufacturers all introduced and launched their automatic chronograph movements in 1969, and this watch style would quickly become very popular throughout the industry.
"Of the three calibres, the Seiko 6139 has had the greatest influence on future generations despite being the least well known. This movement centers on its vertical clutch and compact automatic rotor, a design many manufacturers have imitated since the 1980s. In fact, Frederic Piguet turned to the 6139 when crafting their legendary caliber 1185, which some call the “grandfather of the modern automatic chronograph.” Considering how many automatic chronographs the 1185 has inspired, there’s no denying the 6139’s influential role
"In 1969, Suwa Seikosha put the final touches on the caliber 6139, complete with a Magic Lever and vertical clutch system. On May 21, 1969, Seiko officially debuted the movement under the name “61 Speed-Timer.” However, the caliber had already begun appearing in watches as early as January of the same year; you can still find examples from those early months today. Seiko published the first advertisement for their new automatic chronograph in February 1969. Both the company and Ohki were unaware that the 61 Speed-Timer was the world’s first automatic chronograph movement. At the time, Seiko was busy planning the release of the quartz Astron later that same year." - The Chrono24 Magazine.
Thus the Seiko 6139 can be considered the great-grandfather of the modern automatic chronograph timepiece!
The Seiko 6138 and 6139 movements were specifically designed for their newly developed watch range ~ the Chronograph that took the world by storm.
The 6139 is the world’s first automatic chronograph that uses a column wheel and vertical clutch. The 6138 followed shortly afterwards. Both were nicknamed “Sports Speed Timers” even though certain models did not indicate these wordings.
Both movements were developed in 1969 with different tasks to handle. The 6138 was developed on the 6139 platform but with the intention of having an added chronograph hand to measure elapsed hours; and it also included the column wheel and vertical clutch for more precise stopwatch measurement. But, unlike the 6139 which only has one sub minutes dial, the 6138 comes with two – minutes and hours. And the 6138 can be hand wound!
Some famous chronographs are affectionately known as the Pogue (made famous by William Pogue who used the 6139 when he travelled in space – Skylab 4), Panda, Kakume Bruce Lee(!) and of course the Yatchman AKA UFO AKA Big/Small Eye. The most commonly used nickname is the UFO even though the “Yatchman” nickname appeared in a 1970 magazine.
As usual with Seiko, there are quite a few variations found within the Seiko Speed Timer family; hence, one must know the exact model/movement they are purchasing because the value of the timepiece is determined by the movement, number of Jewels (17, 21 or 23), year of manufacture and dial design.
Some Speed Timer models are “Seiko 5” and others are not. Some models were meant for the JDM, some were for export and some were for BOTH. Therefore, this May 1978 6138B-0011 is NOT a Seiko 5 Sports and is a JDM / International Market Model and it uses the updated 6138Bs produced in 1972.
For Seiko Collectors and Vintage fans, THIS IS A SEIKO-SUWA-6138B-0011 0020T Champagne Scheme Dial UFO in near mint condition. THIS IS A COLLECTORS MODEL.
After a good clean-up, this seldom seen May 1978 Seiko UFO has revealed a beautiful and immaculately preserved midnight-black dial, day/date window and chapter ring. The 3D-styled silvery-white baton Indices’ and hand lumens show minimal signs of aging and THEY ARE OPERABLE even after 46 years! The mini-chronograph minute and hour dials are silver and gold and in pristine condition; and the mini hands are black and are in near mint condition as well.
Its typical cylindrical “Big Eye” shaped silver case and original Seiko bracelet were also cleaned via ultrasonic immersion and buffed as best as possible albeit a few minor scratches that are barely noticeable to the naked eye. The crystal is original and is constructed from mineral glass and is in excellent condition after a good rub.
The crown is located at the traditional 2H, 3H and 4H positions and are nicely tucked away to prevent damage or snags. Notice the 2H and 4H crowns are ribbed thereby proving they are original, so BEWARE OF AFTERMARKET PARTS USED. The day / date quickset works flawlessly by pulling out the 3H crown to the first and second level to adjust the date / day (clockwise & counter-clockwise) and time respectively. Crown 2H is for the chronograph start/stop and the 4H is for the reset of all three hands. All are working flawlessly.
The Day is in English and Roman Numerals, cool!
The movement was carefully stripped and meticulously cleaned via ultrasonic immersion, oiled, re-assembled and calibrated on 3 January 2024. In short, it was given an overhaul and not a standard touch-up service, and should be able to operate unhindered until the next servicing thereby providing the owner peace of mind.
Equipped with the improved and highly prized 6138B movement (produced from 1972 to 1978), it has 21 Jewels and operate at 21,600 beats per hour (BPH) giving it excellent accuracy and longevity. The time-grapher, after 60 hours of calibration, shows excellent readings i.e. rate of -7 seconds every 24 hours and amplitude of 154! Such readings are truly exceptional even by brand new modern automatic watch standards whereby the accepted tolerance is -20 to +40 seconds a day! This is a testament to the quality, excellent power reserve and longevity for such a vintage timepiece, and of course the meticulous care provided over the years, and expert calibration.
The case width and height are approximately 44mm (without crown) and 45mm respectively. The lug width is 19mm and the original Seiko SS bracelet can accommodate wrists up to 21.0cm; hence, this watch is suitable for men and the modern women.
Even though the case seal was replaced, this timepiece has not been water-resistant tested due to its age.
The pictures provided shows the watch in excellent condition, and the movement within squeaky clean and well maintained. It has also been demagnetised to improve parts reliability, minimise wear & tear, and improve accuracy. The only drawback is the lack of documentation and original box. An aftermarket box or purposeful carrying case will be provided instead.
Bear in mind that this watch has seen many of the previous owners’ ups and downs in life, and should be cherished and preserved for the next generation to savour such engineering beauty.
Yes, there are many other same / similar models in the market, BUT none as beautifully aged and as well maintained as what you see here. Hence, it is a no-brainer that this one-of-a-kind watch will make an extremely beautiful birthday present for that special someone born in May 1978! Another no-brainer is the fact that the value of this watch will appreciate over time.
Do also bear in mind that it will cost between S$ 300.00 to S$ 500.00 for a proper overhaul, an estimated S$ 120.00 to calibrate (depending on watch condition), and S$ 100.00 to clean, polish and tighten the bracelet links for such a watch - these costs do not apply when purchasing this timepiece. So, if anyone was to sell such a timepiece at a low price yet claim that it has been serviced, one has to ask what kind of servicing was conducted, if any.
This is a highly sort-after Collectors Seiko Chronograph Automatic 6138-0011 0020T Champagne Scheme Dial JDM / International UFO Yatchman; so, be unique and wear something that is almost impossible to source.
This is a must-have for the Seiko die-hard fan, and in fact, any serious watch collector!