There was a time when HMT watches used to be a status symbol in India. Fathers used to hand over their watches to their sons and it was always kept in the family as a tradition. Well, times have changed. With changing trends and people adopting technology at a great pace, and with International brands gaining wide number of buyers in the country, HMT has faded in value in recent times.
Like the saying goes, HMT is now just another analogue watch in a digital era. In an age when technology has come down enabling people to wear high performance tech on their wrists, fathers now buy smart watches and Apple Watches for their kids and the glitter of the gold and silver crowns don’t appeal any more.
In the year 1961 HMT set up its first watch manufacturing Unit at Bangalore in collaboration with M/s Citizen Watch Co., Japan. The first batch of Hand Wound Wrist Watches manufactured at this factory was released by the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru.
The company has seen great times running its course. In 1972 HMT addeda set-up next to its factory in Bangalore to produce additional watches. In 1975 it expanded further to add mainspring, hairspring and shock absorber components to its production range.
Additional facilities were later set up in 1978 and 1985 to produce more watch components. The Watch factory at Tumkur was partially converted to manufacture Quartz Analog Watches in collaboration with M/S Citizen Watch Co, Japan. To cater to the Niche market, a specialized watch case manufacturing facility was set up at Bangalore in 1983.
Since 1985, HMT Watches have created a wide variety of Floral Clocks, Solar Clocks, International Clocks and Tower Clocks. Everyone who has visited Lal Baugh must have seen the garden clock there; again something that holds HMT dear to Bangaloreans.
In the year 2000, HMT Watch Business group was restructured as HMT Watches Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of HMT Limited.
In a sad state of events, government has decided to wind up the company which has been incurring losses since 2000 and has been unable to generate adequate resources to pay salaries to its employees. As on March 31, 2013, the company had 1,105 employees.
The company’s net loss rose to Rs 242.47 crore in 2012-13 from Rs 224.04 crore in 2011-12. At the end of March 2012, it also had government loan, including budgetary support for salary and statutory dues, amounting to Rs 694.52 crore. (As reported on financialexpress.com)
So long so good.
India will surely miss you, HMT [The Time Keepers Of The Nation] !
image courtesy: wikipedia.com