I have neglected collecting vintage Seiko for a while as my main attention has been on Rolex and Tudor. In fact, I have been trying to cut down on my other brands and focus on Rolex Tudor. However, over the weekend, my defence system collapsed when I saw a nice condition Seiko Bullhead from a collector and could not resist.
6138-004x or the Seiko Bullhead is possibly the crown in the line of 6138 models produced by Seiko between 1970 and 1979. Even though this version uses the same movement of the 6138 line, it is somehow special as it uses the “Bullhead” layout of the crown and chrono pushers which can be seen by other vendors in the 70’s such as Omega with its Vintage OMEGA Bullhead Chronograph. Big difference between the Omega and the Seiko – the Japanese bullhead is a very affordable and cool looking chronograph whereas the Omega easily reaches prices beyond $10.000!
The case of Seiko’s Bullhead is wonderfully designed and has polished and matte parts. The diameter is roughly 43mm, length is 46mm and the thickness is up to 16mm at the top where the pushers are located. Originally , the bullhead comes with a metal fishbone bracelet but it looks nice with a rally leather strap as well.
The two versions are very distinct and give a very different look and feel. The brown dialed version with a red tachymeter ring and golden colored subdials looks very retro and represents a typical 70’s style. The black version with a yellow second hand and blue subdials looks sportier and less retro. On a metal bracelet, it looks almost timeless and is less flashy than the brown version. Both models have reached a cult status among Seiko lovers and the bullhead often makes it to the top rated Seiko watches ever built. Considering the countless models that Seiko has produced, this is quite notable!
The Bullhead is a great watch and almost a must have for every Seiko watch collector. It has the same very robust and reliable 6138 Seiko movement and is probably the coolest looking watch that Seiko has produced in the 70’s. It was produced in a relatively high number and availability of used models is quite good. On the other hand, demand especially for very good and original pieces is very high and prices have increased significantly over the last years. When you could get a good Bullhead for $200 to $300 in 2005, prices have more than doubled in the meantime. On the other side, used watch prices are still low compared to other 70’s chronographs and even damn cheap compared to an Omega Bullhead. If you can get a good model, you will surely own one of the coolest watches ever made by Seiko!
In addition to the Blue/Black version Bullhead, there is another Brown version Bullhead. The Brown bullheads come in three different dials:
1. With SpeedTimer at the Top of dial (SpeedTimer Bullhead variants were those produced for the Japanese Domestic Market. They were sold in Japan and the surrounding areas).
2. With Seiko 5Sports SpeedTimer" at the top of the dial.
3. With Chronograph Automatic Bullheads produced for the rest of the world wore the standard "Chronograph Automatic" markings (can be marked either as "6138-0049" or "6138-0040" depending again on what market the watch was originally sold in).
There were " No black dialed "speedtimer" version was ever produced by Seiko.
There is interesting discussion on forum on the Pre-production samples cases: