The Seiko 6139-6002 & Electric Light Orchestra
Updated: Jul 16, 2020
Primary Colors and Spaceships Make for a Cosmically Perfect Pair
Editor’s Note: Welcome to the first installment of Bezels & B-Sides. The concept of this series is simple; match a specific watch model to a song that embodies the soul of the timepiece. Or does the timepiece embody the spirit of the song? It is difficult to say, as it should be. In other words, consider me your entirely underqualified sommelier attempting to pair the right wine with your favorite dish. There could be some flowery aromas to waft, but you may get the occasional nutty note. That is to be expected.
The Seiko 6139-6002, referred to as the “Pogue” among the throngs of nickname-loving Seiko zealots, is the prime choice for the maiden voyage of Bezels & B-Sides. This watch is downright iconic, and for good reason. From the resplendent hues of the dial and bezel to the borderline legendary status based firmly in the history of space travel, this is an ideal candidate for the first attempt at joining music and watches here at TheWristorian. Pairing the watch with the right song is undoubtedly a challenge, but one I am glad to take on.
In order to make the best decision possible, let us deconstruct the essence of the 6139-6002, shall we? First off, and quite noticeably, this is like the crayon box of watches. It could easily double as a teaching instrument for young children learning about primary colors. Seiko was not playing around when they introduced this reference in Japan in 1969. They were serious about the movement, being an early example of self-winding chronograph void of the need for manual winding. As for the aesthetics, they had the “Pepsi Bezel” in place and needed a color that truly stands out for the dial. What is the obvious choice? Yellow. It is as if King Midas himself bestowed this dial upon Seiko and they just happened to need one for the 6139-6002 at that exact moment.
Design choices aside, the “Pogue’s” popularity can also be attributed to the fact that Colonel William Pogue wore this model (though a slightly different iteration than pictured) during Skylab 4 in 1973. This cemented the Seiko as the first automatic chronograph in space. Making the story even more incredible, the watch was sort of sneaked onto the shuttle. The Seiko 6139 is the watch that he had worn while practicing and training before the launch, so he brought it along on his journey. Omega Speedmasters were provided by NASA, and Col. Pogue had one of those as well, but his affinity for this chromatic chrono could not be denied. Much like Superman, it is possible that the Seiko 6139-6002 gets more powerful as it approaches the sun. While this is merely a fan theory, consider the colors involved in the Man of Steel flying in front of that brilliant ball of heat and gas.
Now to match up the perfect song…While I do not believe that every song has to match the era in which the watch was produced, it seems a good place to start. By breaking down the components of the “Pogue”, both tangible and ethereal, we are left with a pile of primary colors, planets, and personality. This space-bound chronograph is destined to be matched up with a band that not only understands the allure of such vivid colors, but is equally as avant-garde in music making as Seiko was in creating this piece.
Verdict: Electric Light Orchestra’s “Ticket to the Moon”
As a band, Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) pushed the limits of music throughout the seventies and into the eighties. Jeff Lynne, lead singer and songwriter, was keen to experiment and play around with novel concepts (most notably the emphasis on traditional orchestral instrumentation) that combined to form an innovative and eclectic band with sort of techno-rock undertones. Did I mention that the sleeve of the iconic ELO album “Out of the Blue”, released in 1977, features a giant spaceship? Well, it does. To make it even more apropos, the ship is predominantly red, blue, and yellow.
Not only do the colors of the ELO's spaceship match the Pogue entirely, but the unrivaled uniqueness of the band seems to be right in line with the watch. The Seiko and the band both make a point of not taking themselves too seriously. Appearances however, can be deceiving, for beneath their groovy looks they are both quite capable. They are more than capable, they are transcendent of their era, and both likely to be appreciated far more in the future than they were upon creation.
Choosing just one song from the auditory carnival that is Electric Light Orchestra’s backlog took some deliberation. While multiple options would have worked just fine, I ultimately settled on the 1981 track titled “Ticket to the Moon”. The album “Time”, upon which this song was released, represents some of ELO’s later work. Compared to earlier releases, “Time” is often overlooked.
Obvious space references aside, this track features futuristic keyboard work and background interstellar communication sounds along with an almost lilting chorus that perfectly captures the sadness of leaving the blue planet for the final frontier. In addition, the song was written in 1981 but takes place in what we can only assume is the distant future, where one could find themselves in possession of a one-way ticket to the moon. Evidently both Seiko and Electric Light Orchestra were looking to the future in their own unprecedented fashion.
Be sure to give "Ticket to the Moon" a listen and let me know you think of this music/watch duo? What artist and song would you choose for the Seiko 6139-6002 “Pogue”? I would love to hear your thoughts below in the comments!