He knows exactly why the year 1969 was remarkable in the history of watch making, and the passion with which he tells the story is infectious.

“This is the one that Neil Armstrong wore when he walked on the moon, and these are the automatic watches brought out by Swiss companies that could measure intervals of 1/10th of a second,” he says pointing to his collection of Omega watches. “And just about when the Swiss companies thought they were here forever to stay, the Astron collection by Seiko, with the first quartz wrist watches ruined their plans,” says Pradipta K. Mohapatra, a horologist in Chennai, and a proud owner of a collection some of the oldest, and finest watches ranging from the 1730s to the present.

“Some of them are from an era when the watch crown was not invented,” recalls Mr. Mohapatra, showing an external golden key. A 1910 creation of P ORR & Sons with intricate gold carving is on display too. There is also this skeleton watch he owns, that belongs to the 1950s. His collection of ladies' watches narrate the tale of time pieces.