Seiko’s contribution to the development of the chronograph is well known thanks to the 1969 release of Caliber 6139, the world’s first automatic chronograph with a column wheel and vertical clutch. In fact, however, the history of Seiko’s chronographs started long before, with a pocket watch chronograph made in the early 1940’s. Today, this long and proud tradition in the measurement of elapsed time is celebrated in two new automatic chronographs that commemorate two landmark watches, from 1964 and 1969. One is in the Prospex collection and the other in Presage. Both will be available from December, 2019 at Seiko Boutiques and selected retailers worldwide.
In commemoration of the 1969 classic
The 1969 launch of Caliber 6139 was, of course, an important milestone in Seiko’s history because it was one of the world’s first automatic chronographs but its real significance lay in the fact that it incorporated both a column wheel and a vertical clutch, devices that allowed Caliber 6139 to deliver a real improvement in the precision with which elapsed time could be measured in a watch. Today, the combination of a vertical clutch and column wheel is widely seen as a prerequisite in a high grade chronograph; in 1969, this was an important advance in an automatic wristwatch.
The new Prospex limited edition watch that commemorates this 1969 landmark uses Seiko’s most advanced chronograph caliber, 8R48, which was first created in 2014. In addition to the vertical clutch and column wheel, it incorporates Seiko’s unique three-pointed hammer and a heart-shaped cam which ensure the perfect synchronization of the hands’ fly-back. The watch is based on a much loved design from that era that became known among Seiko’s fans as the “Panda” thanks to the two black sub-dials set against the white dial. It has the same hairline finish on the dial as the original, the same hands with the same orange tip to the chronograph second hand and the same hour markers and tachymeter bezel markings.
In addition, the new execution offers a third sub-dial for the time of day second hand, an updated case design with Zaratsu polishing and a box-shaped sapphire crystal. It is presented in the Prospex collection as a limited edition of 1,000.