The joy of HMT watch

HMT watches were an object of pride, effective ice breakers and taught people the value of time.

When I saw the school notice board declaring the SSLC results, my joy knew no bounds. For, I would now become a proud owner of an HMT watch as promised by my dad, since I had passed in first class. I waited for my dad to come home and give me the promised gift.

He took me to the factory showroom located close to our home. I wanted only the most talked about ‘pilot watch with the black dial’ but alas, it was in short supply. The salesman asked me to buy another model but I was adamant about my choice. He said that we have to wait for a long time to get that watch, but if we knew someone in the factory, and if we were lucky, we may get one. We came back home disappointed. Seeing my gloomy face, my mother persuaded my dad, who was in government service, to pull some strings and get me the watch.

My sister remembers the happiness on my face when I saw that watch. From the very first day, it would remain on my wrist at least for 20 hours a day. To make others notice my watch, I started wearing it on my right wrist. I can never forget the admiring looks the watch and its wearer got from the girls in my college. Like the fashion in those days, I would roll up my collar in pride whenever such looks were received. Immediately thereafter, my friends would successfully persuade me to buy them SKC (sweet-khara-coffee) in the college canteen. 

The pilot watch taught me great many a things early in life, and the most important was the value of time. I began to value not only my time but others too and this has made me manage time in a very efficient manner and achieve a lot. The watch also taught me to respect swadeshi goods, to encourage and value products made in India. I felt a sense of pride wearing an Indian watch which was as good in looks or performance as a Swiss or a Japanese watch. On my return from trips abroad, I would amuse the customs men by flaunting my watch and say, “I am declaring this.” 

The HMT watch also helped me make many new friends. Once on a tour to Srinagar, I noticed a signboard giving directions to an HMT watch factory. Surprised to see my brand in Srinagar, I went to the factory on an impulse. As luck would have it, the manager of the factory was a Kannadiga and noticing my love for HMT watches, he took me home and gave me a typical Mysore meal. 

A few years ago on a visit to the USA, a person of Indian origin noticed my watch and came to me and introduced himself as a former employee of HMT watch factory. During my two day stay there, he not only showed me all the important places around but also fed me home cooked food. I am sad that HMT watch factory is taking a bow. With the launch of Apple Watches, I think it became inevitable. But the joy the HMT watches brought to millions of my generation can never be forgotten. 

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