Seiko manufactured their super thin Goldfeather mechanical watch – like this all original example one here – for only a short span of time between 1960 and 1966. Regardless, the Goldfeather was undoubtedly one of the milestones in Seiko’s watchmaking history, as it utilized a movement that was – and still is – Seiko’s thinnest three-handed, manually-wound caliber, the 60M.
One of the most desirable features of a proper dress watch is its thickness, or rather, thinness. It should be thin enough to easily slide comfortably under a well-tailored dress shirt, ready to simply tell the time when called upon. Being wide and flat, the Goldfeather certainly fits that demand, and remains quite wearable in contemporary times. It’s quite easy to argue the Goldfeather is more wearable than other dress watches from its generation – coupled with an exceedingly thin bezel, which results in a watch that easily appears far larger than it really is.
The Goldfeather was made under Seiko’s old name “Seikosha,” at a time when movements were assembled and regulated largely by hand – which posed a challenge for Seiko given the thinness of the movement at 2.95mm. For comparison, Jaeger LeCoultre’s caliber 849 (first introduced in the 1990s) was 1.85mm thick, while Seiko’s own thinnest caliber currently in production stands at 1.98 mm thick – and both the LeCoultre and the Seiko cheated a bit, as both feature only the hour and minute hands and no center-seconds hand.
Seiko produced numerous Goldfeather models throughout the lifespan of the line. Some of the variants featured a star logo on the dial, and in some vintage King and Grand Seiko lines, stars indicated the dial featured some sort of noteworthy finishing. This included hour markers made of solid gold, or some manner of special treatment applied to the dial.
Speaking of which, the Goldfeather’s 60M manual wind movement features a flower-shaped diashock absorber for its balance. As per traditional style of construction, its large balance wheel is seated on a balance bridge, vice a balance cock, promising additional stability to the balance wheel; this is akin to how Rolex constructs their well-designed movements. The 60M came in two variants – 17 and 25 jewels – each beating at a leisurely 18,000 bph, typical for its generation.
This Goldfeather comes with a leather strap, nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1960s Seiko Goldfeather J15002E Mechanical Watch
DIAL: Original “swirled” gold dial, with cursive script throughout the dial; no immediately obvious blemishes anywhere on the dial.
CASE: Original 36mm (38mm w/crown) x 42mm gold-filled case – of note, no tarnish or gold-plating loss can be found anywhere on the case, which is somewhat rare for these – these are over a 60 years old by now!
CRYSTAL: New domed Seiko-correct acrylic crystal, with no scratches or blemishes.
BAND: This Goldfeather comes with a brown leather strap, with gold hardware; also included is a nylon NATO strap, also with gold hardware.
MOVEMENT: Original 25-jewel manual winding movement, manufactured in the early 1960s (before Seiko began using serial numbers, allowing easy manufacture dating).
CROWN: Original unsigned gold crown.