Rono Times' Blog
Namesake watches – The HMT USP (9th Mar. 2018)
Our first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehruji had a vision to bring-in a sense of time consciousness among the Indians. The most appealing part of the HMT watches were that it had namesake watches which people or collectors look for. The watches were named after the common man — Vijay, Pradeep, Dipti, Rekha, Sujata, Pooja, Dilip, Amitabh, Prashant, Kedar, Avinash, Rajat, Akhilesh and many more. People wanted to own and collect watches with their names.
The most popular mechanical hand-wound watch is HMT Janata. Watch for the common man. Janata was also the favourite brand of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who loved its simplicity. Janata was one of the first models produced, renowned for its reliability and longevity.
This winding watch was plain, affordable and had more than 25 variants. Janata watches have been known to tick on for more than 40 years.
The Janata went through several variations — changes in dial, colour, script, language, faces, metals and so on. Some came with Devanagari numbers, others in a Russian typeface. There were day watches, evening watches, dress watches, mechanicals, automatics, quartzes and pocket watches. The designs changed but remained classic.
Don’t remember since when I grew a passion for such mechanical beauties. Every night after completing the chores of studies and domestic duties. I was given a crucial task of winding few mechanical timepieces for my grandfather. I was 14 then.
As time passed I managed to conquer 3 of them by my valor of bribing, begging and pleading. The pride of the conquest mellowed down slowly, and a strong urge to disassemble them grew stronger, inorder to see what is going on behind the ticking.
An old watch repairer uncle frequently visited us for a chitchat with my grandpa. Coaxing him into showing me little mending and fixing of my precious possessions. Their caliber intrigued me with the skillful artwork, which are not applied to modern electronic or quartz timepieces.
One fine day the clocks stopped ticking at the HMT factories. The “country’s timekeeper” seemed to have faced huge financial losses which led to its complete shutdown.
Suddenly the monopoly watchmaker could not keep pace with the time. But was it the end of such legendary and iconic watch factory? No, the factory will live on in its watches.
Old is gold
Old is gold and your grandpa’s watch might be a treasure! If you find your grandfather winding his watch, it’s a mechanical gem. It has been proficiently created by skillful watchmakers, these movements contain an intricate series of tiny components working together to power the timepiece. A mechanical movement uses energy from a wound spring, rather than a battery, to power the watch. This spring stores energy and transfers it through a series of gears and springs, regulating the release of energy to power the watch.
The mechanical movement involves awe-inspiring and magnificent craftsmanship of gears and springs work inside these mechanical watches. Such mechanical watches were considered man’s finest most delicate machines from time immemorial. If you admire such craftsmanship, minute attention-to-detail and precise engineering, then you should have one mechanical watch in your collection.