Old world charm

Unique hobbies

Chandrashekar collects vintage clocks. These require regular maintenance.

A chartered accountant by profession, A S Chandrashekar Patel says his love for anything that is vintage and classic stems from his childhood. 

“As a child, I was fascinated by mechanical instruments like pendulum clocks, manual calculators, telephones, and cameras. This passion, and an eye for the unusual, is what led to my hobby of collecting vintage items,” Chandrashekar Patel told Metrolife.

In his collection are vintage watches, clocks, telephones, cameras, stamps, currency notes, wall clocks, even cars and bikes. 

Talking about his telephones, he says, “I bought the Motorola Dyna tac 8000X — the handheld cellphone released in 1984 — at a whopping price of $3995. The most difficult to get was the Bobo Telcer Co phone, which is also in the ABBA museum. I also have the Hagenut TCP-6000, the first GSM mobile with integrated antenna. I have around 80 vintage phones, most of them in perfect working condition.” 


A S Chandrashekar Patel

His collection also includes a 1980 Seimens, Nokia and Motorola cell phones. Some of the phones weigh two to five kg each. He also has a military phone of Czech Republic. 

His collection of cameras — which could make anybody envious — includes plate glass, roll film and instant cameras. However, an old stand camera used in photo studios in the 1960s and Russian copies of Leica and Hasselblad are his prized possessions. 

“I have a Zorki camera, a copy of the Leica which was gifted by a Russian Minister of Defence to a Major in 1977. I also have box cameras, wooden ones and a plate camera dating back to the 18th Century. The latest addition is a Graflex K-20 World War II aircraft camera,” he says. 

The stamps in his collection include those as old as 1910 and as recent as 2016. “They include the now withdrawn Guru Granth Shaib stamp and the Mahatma Gandhi Mourning series of 1948, which had the then highest denomination of Rs 10 in 1948,” he elaborates. He also has calculators from late 1930s. 
 After the closure of the HMT Watch Factory, Chandrashekar began collecting HMT watches. He has about 300, including Sweekar, Pinaki, White Pilot, Kaushal, Subash, Karna and the side seconds pocket watch. 

The recent additions to his inventory are wall clocks. “The 1000 day and 400 day anniversary clocks are wound once in a year and still run. The Ballerina clock has dancing ballerina who comes out when the alarm rings. The wall clocks include German cuckoo clocks and the heavyweight Holland Zanse clocks.” He also has a pocket clock showing times of five countries and a world time clock.

Chandrashekar makes sure that he gains in-depth knowledge about whatever he has collected to understand how they work. His collections are all neatly placed in custom designed shelves. “Maintenance is a big issue with watches and the clocks. They need to be wound at least once a week,” he says.

(Chandrashekar can be reached at shekarpatelca@gmail.com)

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