Making the clocks tick-tock one at a time

August 30, 2022 08:22 pm | Updated 08:22 pm IST

The clocks in clocktowers in the city are chiming again after years of neglect as the civic body and a clock maker team up to modernise them, like this one at the M J Market in Hyderabad.

The clocks in clocktowers in the city are chiming again after years of neglect as the civic body and a clock maker team up to modernise them, like this one at the M J Market in Hyderabad. | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

Deep inside the Residency Building, the hourly sound of clock has become part of the routine for the students of the Koti Women’s College. They hear the sound from the Sultan Bazar Clock Tower. Laxman Chugani, who lives in Begum Bazaar area, wakes up to the sound of the clock going off a kilometre away from the Moazzam Jahi Clock Tower. Commuters on their way to work and while returning look at the watches when the Secunderabad Clock Tower starts striking the hour.

“The clocks at the Shahalibanda and Murgi Chowk will start functioning soon. We have already affixed clocks on five clock towers in the city. We are working on a 10-foot clock in Siddipet,” says Mr. Chugani who is behind the return of the familiar hourly chimes at a number of locations in the city including Secunderabad, James Street and Monda Market.

The old clocks inside the clock towers had a geared mechanism to move the hour and minute hand and bang the gong periodically. The newer clocks being installed by Ramesh Swiss Watch are digital ones with Global Positioning System (GPS) and are accurate to 500 millisecs.  Outfitted with an amplifier and a speaker, the customised chimes can be heard in a radius of two kilometres. If there is a disruption in electric supply, the clocks readjust the time.

For years, the clock towers in Hyderabad have been dysfunctional landmarks from an era where few citizens could afford a watch of their own. Now, the things are changing. Among the first clocks to be repaired was the Secunderabad Clock Tower which began functioning in December 2020. Months earlier, the team began work on the Moazzam Jahi Clock Tower when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. “We were asked to make the clock work for three months before the contract was given to us. But due to COVID-19 we could not do anything but the clocks functioned smoothly. After a year, we got the contract to fix clocks in other towers,” says Mr Chugani who came to Hyderabad from Hyderabad Sindh as a two-year-old at the time of partition.

 “The old clocks are difficult to manage and require constant maintenance. The spare parts are expensive as each of the geared wheel is as big as a football. These watches work like a dream,” says Mr Chugani. The times they are a-changin.

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