Exhibition of antique watches

Visitors looking at antique watches at Government Museum in Madurai on Saturday.

Visitors looking at antique watches at Government Museum in Madurai on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: G. Moorthy

A special three-day exhibition of 250 antique watches was inaugurated at the Government Museum here on Saturday.

The collection predominantly boasts of Indian watches from companies like Hindustan Machine Tools Limited (HMT) and Allwyn which are no no longer in production.

Foreign brands such as Seiko, Rado, Nivada, Citizen and Orient are also on display.

Durai Vijayapandian, curator of these timepieces, said that he was introduced to watches at the age of 16. The fascination soon turned into an obsessive collection as he began speaking to members of his family in different countries and sourcing watches from Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Japan and India.

His oldest watch is 100 years old from West End Watch Company. He possesses the HMT Janata — a watch released in 1961 by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru when the new watch company was set up in Bangalore that year.

The ‘Dowry Watch’ caught the fancy of many visitors. This gold plated watch with a shiny round dial is called HMT Kanchan. In the 1980s, several families gifted this watch to their son-in-laws to indicate a sign of prosperity. It soon became a tradition in households despite the existence of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

Mr. Vijayapandian told The Hindu that he prefers to examine watches before buying them.

K. Pasumpon, Deputy Director, World Tamil Sangam, inaugurated the exhibition. It will remain open until October 23.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 8:27:49 AM |

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