Back in the sixties when my uncle who was set to tie the knot, was asked what his future wife did, he proudly put out his wrist, pointed to his watch and said she worked for the HMT. An HMT watch was an owner’s pride for its elegance, accuracy and substance and for being fully indigenous.  

      The uncomplicated HMT watch that was a horological masterpiece and adorned many a wrist in the last 53 years will soon be passé, unable to keep pace with technology, style and speed. In today’s world where phones and watches are “smart”, an HMT watch would probably evoke mirth from Generation Z that is globally, socially and visually connected forever. Our generation just felt smart wearing an HMT watch that simply ticked away and helped us keep pace with time in examinations. If we did not own one, we borrowed one from friends or family, just for the exams.

     I heard some interesting stories from friends about their trysts with the HMT watch. My friend earned hers by pressing her father's feet for fifteen minutes everyday for a month. I earned mine in my second year degree for a good performance in the first  year . My father bought it for me for a princely sum of 125 rupees and I did not want to remove it even while I slept. Another friend told me how excited she was when her dad brought three watches from his trip to Delhi and how they crowded around the watch with curled fists at night to see the radium dial glow. Our elders made sure that the iconic watch did not come free , but had to be earned as a reward for a task well accomplished.

    The HMT tagline was profound in its simplicity - Timekeepers to the nation. It was the “desh ki dhadkan” and always ahead of time! If you had the inclination, they had the time! It was also the “Aam aadmi ka saath”.
     In its heyday an HMT watch was a trophy for reaching a milestone, a farewell gift for a retiring employee and above all, a part of wedding finery for the bridegroom, from his future father-in-law.

     As time runs out for the vintage brand, Kajal, Janata, Pilot,Rajat and Sona will soon be history ! The garden clock in Lalbagh which has charmed visitors for years, will hopefully live to tell the HMT tale.


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