The aura of the ‘nation’s timekeeper’ will never fade. Started by a bunch of HMT watch buffs, ‘HMT Watch Collectors’ has only been expanding and now boasts of more than 150 members.
The group meets every fortnight and exchanges information about the history of HMT watches, how the once popular watch has evolved with advancement of technology and the latest designs it has.
In an age when hi-tech watches are billed to take forward the smart phone revolution, HMT watches that have to be manually wound, still have their fans who not only flaunt them, but also love to make a public display of their passion.
Most of the members of the group are working professionals who manage to snatch sometime only over the weekend to get together.
Their collection comprises watches that have been handed down to them by their grandparents and parents. Some of them also buy the HMT watches that are either available online or in stores. Omkar Bapat, who works for Prime Focus Technologies, says he has been collecting HMT watches for a while now.
“I first download a picture of the watch that I want to buy and then hunt for it. The information exchanged during our meetings not only helps us identify the latest techniques used to manufacture the HMT watches, but also spot the fake HMT watches doing the rounds,” says Omkar.
Jayathirtha Karunam, another professional, chanced upon an old HMT watch when he was cleaning up his cupboard.
“It must have been lying there for a few years and I was really surprised to discover that it worked perfectly.
This was the beginning and I have now about 35 watches in my collection,”
he says. An architect by profession, Naresh Narasimhan confesses that he has always been attracted to mechanical clockwork devices.
“HMT had its golden period in the 1960s and 70s and continues to be one of the world-class watch manufacturing companies. I have always been impressed with the many retro designs that they invent year after year. That’s why I began collecting them,” he says.
Harsha Parthasarathy grew up watching his father wearing an HMT watch. “I started collecting these watches only a year ago. My father once told me that he bought his first watch called HMT Kanchan with bonus money. I then understood that older people not only liked wearing these watches but also had alot of sentimental value attached to them,” reasons Harsha, who has about 70 watches.
“Despite several luxury watches hitting the market, HMT has still managed to retain its charm,” he adds.
Sharing his perspective, Pushkar Vijayram, another member of the club, states that anything with an antique value catches his attention.
“Our meetings are not only a platform for socialising but are also an opportunity to learn about the journey of HMT watches and how they have withstood the test of time. We are always excited about any new addition,” states Pushkar.
Recalling how he discovered HMT, Gangadharan S, a book distributor, says that an HMT watch lying in a dustbin in his friend’s house caught his attention.
“I asked him if I could take the watch and he gladly agreed. I got it repaired and began using it. Seeing my interest, my wife gifted me an HMT watch too. I found it long-lasting,” he says. He also has four pocket HMT watches. It is the originality of the brand that prompted Varun D to start collecting HMT watches.
“This is the only watch that has been made and manufactured in India. The make is original and nothing has been imported, not even the research and development,” says Varun.
Prashant Pandey, an IT professional who leads the group, has always shared a deep interest and passion for these watches.
“I started collecting them as a hobby but soon began reading about them and understanding their mechanism and functioning method. The journey of HMT is truly fascinating,” he signs off.
For details, visit their Facebook page — HMT Watch Collectors.