India's First Watch Manufacturer is Shuttering After 50 Years

Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) recently announced that it would be winding down it's watch division, HMT Watches.

Image Credit:  Daydaily.com

Image Credit:  Daydaily.com

Started as a joint venture in the early 1960's between HMT and Citizen of Japan, HMT Watches primarily used mechanical (manual) movements under license from Citizen. Questionable supply chain management meant that each run of watches was built with whatever parts were on hand at the time, resulting in variations in each model--from watch hands to dials. Classic designs like the Janata, Pilot, and Sona were staple wedding and graduation gifts.

Poor quality controls and a failure to adapt designs to modern customer tastes ultimately lead to the company's decline, but vintage watches form the 70's and 80's can be picked up on Ebay for under $20. That being said, many of the ones listed have repainted dials and/or are chimeras, using parts from different watch models, but it's a great opportunity to pick up a piece of horological history from a brand ingrained in Indian culture.

You can read more about HMT here.