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Great stuff! Was a huge Bruce Lee fan in the seventies (as a kid) the final showdown with Chuck Norris in the colosseum made an impression and led me to make my own nunchucks. I was already a Kung fu fan as I was collecting Master of Kung Fu and Deadly Hands if Kung fu comics. I watched most of his movies. So cool that yet another's cult figure from my younger days is connected to Seiko. I really appreciate all the research.

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I found a few nuggets of information, but still no definitive answer about the Bruce Lee watch. Seiko's sole distributor in Southeast Asia is Thong Sia Co. (Singapore) PTE Ltd / Thong Sia Watch Co. / Thong Sia Group and it was appointed sole distributor at the end of 1963 according to one article in a Singapore daily. Their Hong Kong branch Thong Sia (HK) Co. Ltd. was established in early 1964.

Interestingly, Thong Sia Group was acquired by Stelux in the 2000s. Stelux is still Hong Kong-based, though the original Thong Sia in the 1960s was Singapore-based with overseas branches.

The reason I mention this is because the earliest Singapore newspaper advert I found for a 6139-6010 was from September 18, 1969. There were previous adverts by Thong Sia Co. (Singapore) PTE Ltd advertising various Seiko products, but not the 6139. If the JDM 6139s were released in May '69 and casedhongkong has in his possession a July '69 production 6010, we can safely assume that many Asian markets followed a few months later. The North American and rest of world markets might be an entirely different story.
Excellent research and I am looking forward to more information. The connection between Seiko, the Seiko 6139 Chronograph, Thong Sia, Stelux, Hong Kong, and Bruce Lee is fascinating. I wonder what bracelet the watch was originally sold with? Standard triple railroad or Stelux Chiclet? I like Bruce Lee's choice of the Rally bracelet with Oval shaped cutouts for his 6139 watch. Gives the watch a Funky 70s vibe along with a need for speed that perfectly matches Bruce Lee's personality.

Excellent Thread :) Thank You!

1966 Lamborghini Miura steering wheel

 

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Wow! I hope that is your personal 1966 Lamborghini Miura. One of the most beautiful cars ever.



I am going out on a limb and saying there was no '5Sports' on his oval Stelux/Kreisler bracelet 6010. The photo above is about as high quality as I can find. I know there are more high quality color photos of that event because I saw a lot more many years ago. The YouTube link (I am not the original uploader) contains pictures from the same press conference on Sept 3, 1971 in Hong Kong. I think it is important because it was taken within days of the picture below of him holding his daughter in Los Angeles. Same bracelet, same watch, same shirt, just a different city.
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So I'm saying with 51% confidence that the watch with the elongated oval bracelet he was first seen wearing May/June '69 in Los Angeles did not have '5Sports' on the dial at the 9 o'clock position. As usual, please feel free to correct me if you have a better picture. He replaced the bracelet and possibly the entire watch later on, so let's not try to identify the second bracelet watch for now. This pic below casedhongkong found on IG was Feb '72 and he wears it on this bracelet up until his death. Don't think we'll ever know if this was the same or a different 6010/6011 unless he wrote about it in his diary.
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Anyone else caught the ESPN documentary on Bruce Lee called Be Water that was aired recently??? It’s pretty good IMO. But no close up shots of his wrist unfortunately... lol


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By whom and on what basis was the JDM Speed-Timer originally identified as being THE Bruce Lee chronograph? It seems to be the only model associated with him in watch articles going back several years online.
This is an excellent question about who identified the Bruce Lee as a JDM. When I first searched about his 6010, I came across that picture, which you included in your original post, from a few different sources. Do we know who initially created that picture? The JDM shown in the lower left has the same bracelet as Lee's initial May '69 Stelux-Kreisler, but it is not his wrist. Hopefully, your commemorative magazine will provide color pictures as well. There is definitely a color picture out there of him that can identify the watch, he's in an office looking down at a contract on a desk (or it may well be a book, script, or some other document).
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I haven't seen the ESPN 30 for 30 on Bruce Lee yet because it has not broadcast in my part of the world. I have seen the trailer, so I know the documentary contains the famous "Be Water" interview with Pierre Berton on December 9 '71. His watch's bracelet was always just covered up by his jacket sleeve and I could not identify if it was the elongated oval or 8020 rally. If it was the oval Stelux/Kreisler, it might be the last appearance of it on his wrist.
 

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This is an excellent question about who identified the Bruce Lee as a JDM. When I first searched about his 6010, I came across that picture, which you included in your original post, from a few different sources. Do we know who initially created that picture? The JDM shown in the lower left has the same bracelet as Lee's initial May '69 Stelux-Kreisler, but it is not his wrist. Hopefully, your commemorative magazine will provide color pictures as well. There is definitely a color picture out there of him that can identify the watch, he's in an office looking down at a contract on a desk (or it may well be a book, script, or some other document).
View attachment 450691

I haven't seen the ESPN 30 for 30 on Bruce Lee yet because it has not broadcast in my part of the world. I have seen the trailer, so I know the documentary contains the famous "Be Water" interview with Pierre Berton on December 9 '71. His watch's bracelet was always just covered up by his jacket sleeve and I could not identify if it was the elongated oval or 8020 rally. If it was the oval Stelux/Kreisler, it might be the last appearance of it on his wrist.
I was also under the impression that the wrist shot on the bottom left is a photo shot by Bertrand (bertnet69 on IG). But I have no idea if he’s the person who started this or am I 100% certain that it was him... I believe he’s also on this forum so perhaps he can shed some light on this?


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Just did some deeeep digging and found this Japanese blog post from 2015 that talks about the change in bracelet on the 6139 that Bruce Lee wore. But no mention or confirmation on the watch model itself. This also seems to be the earliest date that I can find on someone mentioning about the association between Bruce Lee and his 6139.




Edit: sorry for spamming this thread but I think we have a breakthrough!!!


This is by far the clearest photo of Bruce Lee’s watch.




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Wow! What a find, casedhongkong! Thanks for that deep digging indeed.

I think due to the super quality of that Feb 1972 picture it is conclusive. The "Water 70M proof" is not legible, but the white lettering is clearly there with nothing else at the 9 o'clock. We'll never know if this was the same watch as the one on the original oval Kreisler Stelux bracelet, but we can surely say now that Bruce Lee owned at least one non-JDM.

The livedoor blog in the first link seems to suggest the picture of him with his mom and son was March 1970 instead of May-June '69 as I had indicated. I didn't see any reference to his mom visiting Los Angeles in '70, so I used the earlier date because it was corroborated by multiple sites. I will try to look further into that family visit. The later date would have given much more time to get the non-JDM watch though.
 

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The magazine came today. There was only the one photo showing him with the watch, and while not super clear, it's clear enough to confirm that it IS NOT a JDM Speed-Timer model.

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That looks like the Kreisler Stelux oval bracelet, so I think he probably only had one non-JDM 6010. Perhaps the original bracelet broke sometime towards the end of '71 and he replaced it with the Seiko 8020 rally. Just speculation on my part though. As I said, I find it strange that the Kreisler Stelux does not appear at all from '72 to '73.

I'm sure a lot of us have seen the fake Bruce Lee - Elvis Presley picture. He is wearing the Kreisler Stelux in it. Well, the gentleman next to Lee in the real version of that picture was actually Tae Kwon Do Hall of Famer Joseph Hayes and it was taken circa '69 at a martial arts tournament in Washington. D.C. The picture with Lee is at the bottom of the page in the link below.
 

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Just discovered this trove of pictures here (Bruce Lee et sa flûte silencieuse), including this one from the Sept 3, 1971 Hong Kong Airport press conference (https://p4.storage.canalblog.com/40/66/399135/79518079_p.jpg)
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Elongated oval Kreisler Stelux, just one distinct line at 9 o'cock. I can vaguely even see the two-piece seconds hand.

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Can an eagle-eyed member spot if the seconds hand is now one-piece in that Feb '72 super quality picture? It sort of looks that way to me because I only see a thin, red strip, but don't trust my eyesight. Had he serviced the watch, Seiko would have replaced the hand and they were using one-piece exclusively by then. Perhaps he had the bracelet replaced too. His original Kreisler Stelux bracelet would have been "Made in Hong Kong", so he should have been able to get an identical replacement quite easily instead of one like the 8020 rally meant for 20 mm lugs.
 

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Included in the book Bruce Lee Letters of the Dragon is a letter to his wife in April 1970. He was with his son in Hong Kong, while his wife and daughter remained in Los Angeles. In the letter he mentioned that his mother had bought him so much stuff that he is not sure he can bring it all back home to America. There was no mention of a watch amongst the gifts and a few different pictures already show him wearing it before his April '70 Hong Kong trip, so I'm almost convinced that he only had one non-JDM initially on the oval Kreisler Stelux and that it was brought to him as a gift by his mother and brother upon their arrival in Los Angeles on May 30 1969.

That is super early though for Hong Kong market watch. Does any member here own or have seen a non-JDM 6010 produced as early as March or April '69?
 

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I’m I the only on noticing that Daniel Dae Kim and Will Yun Lee have different models of the 6010? Both being passed on as Bruce Lee’s.


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