With museum, HMT Watches looks to keep ticking

Kanchan Deluxe (left) and Gautam (right), two of the iconic wristwatch models developed by HMT Watches.

Kanchan Deluxe (left) and Gautam (right), two of the iconic wristwatch models developed by HMT Watches.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Have you ever wondered about the mechanism that allows wristwatches to function without batteries? How and why do they go ‘tick-tick’ when their hands and seconds indicators rotate? How does a ‘crown’ of merely a few centimetres rotate the hands of the watch even anti-clockwise?

Wonder no more. In an effort to keep its legacy alive, HMT Watches, the country’s first wristwatch manufacturer, is set to establish a wristwatch and clock museum with wondrous collections in Bengaluru.

Work is under way on setting up the HMT Heritage Centre and Museum, which is being called the country’s first national watch heritage centre, near Jalahalli. The museum is expected to be thrown open to the public shortly.

HMT Watches, a public sector undertaking of the Government of India, has been a pioneer in watch manufacturing in the country since 1961. The purpose behind the establishment of this museum is enhancing people’s knowledge on HMT Watches and its products, senior officers at the PSU said.

The engineering experts of HMT have manufactured and sold over 1.1 crore watches till date. Wearing an HMT watch was the dream of most of people back in the day. Former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, H.D. Deve Gowda and Atal Bihari Vajpayee too used to wear HMT wristwatches and appreciated their accuracy and reliability, a senior officer told The Hindu.

However, despite there being almost one crore “completely satisfied” customers, a majority of them were, and remain, unaware of the legacy of HMT Watches, the officer said.

This prompted the company to conceptualise the watch heritage centre, which will exhibit each and every brand/model manufactured by HMT. Apart from this, there will be audio and visual presentations on the legacy of HMT Watches.

On display

A mechanical wristwatch requires 120 parts, from crown to strap/chain. An array of spare parts, machine tools used to manufacture and service wristwatches, photos, documents from the archives, souvenirs, visitors’ books, memorabilia, custom-built clocks, and other items will be displayed at the centre.

There will be a section called ‘Journey of Time Room’, which will provide details on HMT Watches from its inception to the achievement of various milestones, another officer said.

A cafeteria and a park for children will also be established at the centre.

HMT Watches was the first company in India to manufacture the mechanical wristwatch, Braille watch, ladies’ watch, skeleton watch (that is, a see-through watch), and pocket watch. It also manufactured, indigenously, a wide range of automatic and quartz watches.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 5:46:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/with-museum-hmt-watches-looks-to-keep-ticking/article24962881.ece

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