Vintage Timepieces - What’s Old Is New Again

Strapped to my wrist is a watch older than I am. Manufactured in May of 1970—a solid nineteen years before I came into this world—my Seiko 6139-6009 has been ticking away and keeping impeccable time for the better part of four decades (Four-and-a-half, to be more precise.)

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Mechanical watches are engineering marvels. There are hundreds of working parts, from the all-important hairspring to the tiny crown gasket, meticulously assembled by artisans (or more commonly, machines) to create a working tool that, if cared for, will undoubtedly stand the test of time. And tools they are. Some have been on Mount Everest, while others have seen unimaginable ocean depths. And some, as is the case with the 6139 series from Seiko (and a number of other famous watches), have even been to space.

As you may have already guessed, I am not the original owner. I bought it second-hand from someone who bought it second-hand, and so on and so on. And that makes it even more appealing. The watch has lived not one life, but several, and I’ll never truly know where it’s been. There’s an entire novel's worth of stories between its birth in a factory in Japan to it being worn on my wrist in Brooklyn, New York, and that’s pretty damn cool. Now I get to write the next chapter.