Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dissapointing trip in quest for some HMT watches

A fellow member on a watch forum wondered if I could help him find three HMT watches - a black Kohinoor, a white Sona and a white 'art deco' Janta. The Sona wasn't a problem as I already have a BNIB lying around, so I thought I'll visit a small watch shop from where I've purchased a couple of HMTs before. Its normally the smaller shops that stock HMT watches as the others don't bother stocking anything below the usual Titan, Citizen and other quartz ones.
I got there and the guy instantly recognized me. I asked him for the watches and he started looking for them. He had a few HMTs lying around and I was expecting the Kohinoor to be available easily, but there was none to be found. At least he assured me that he would definitely manage to get me one in a day or two, however he mentioned that the prices have gone up for these manual HMTs by about Rs.80-90 ($2 USD). I'm not sure if he was really being honest or just trying to pull a fast one at me. Regardless, I told him to get one for me and left to check out a few other shops nearby.

I checked out 5 more shops, but none of them had any HMTs. They all told me that the company no longer makes these manual watches and besides, not many people buy them. This was the second time I was told this. Most people really don't care for these mechanical movements anymore and just go for quartz which means bad news for the company and us watch lovers. Its sad knowing that it isn't going to be very long before they completely disappear from the shelves.

So unfortunately, I couldn't find what I was looking for, but I did see a few el cheapo TAG Heuer, Rolex knock offs or some might call them homages (as the names were different).


Anonymous said...

It's truly sad to see that HMT mechanicals are disappearing from the market. They are great value and also beautiful, interesting pieces of watchmaking history :-(
With the current revival of mechanical watches a good management could do very well... I hope HMT will find a manager as good as Hayek was for the swiss.
In the meantime I'm happy to get some of this gems for my collection! I'm so fascintad by their 60s-70s vintage look it really seems a miracle to find them in current production...

Thanks for the help!

crazyfingers said...

Hey Gianfranco,
Its a pleasure helping out a fellow watch lover. Plus I get to have fun shopping for them! :)
I agree with you, HMT could really do well with good management. I also think they should check out sites like WUS and see for themselves the love for their watches from people not only in India, but all over the world as well. I hope we can see all those wonderful classics in watch shop displays again.

pinaki said...

I do not know where you live ,but I am in Calcutta and there are two HMT company showrooms here , as in every city in India . DO NOT buy HMT from ebay/internet sellers . Get an Indian friend . I Buy HMT watches only from HMT showrooms.Once I bought one black kohinoor and a quartz HMT from one shop in RadhaBazar street in calcutta (kolkata) which is THE watches & timepieces market/bazaar/street here .Both were later found to be franken-watches with non HMT dials and hands,leaky cases paired with hmt movement .Check the HMT showroom in your city .They also give hefty discounts twice annually and the few remaining old staff are happy to help you when you visit .HMT kohinoor is listed at Rs 800.00 and readily available in four dial colours - white/black/gunmetal-grey/gold . WHen there is discount ( monsoon or republic-day month ) ,it is 25%-15% off , i.e Rs 680.00 . A Titan steel watchband of worse quality alone is Rs 350.00 here . All ladies mechanical watches and Braile watches ( for the blind) are at 50% off permanently now. HMT still retains 500+ visually-disabled (blind) craftsmen on their watchmaking staff .

crazyfingers said...

Hi Pinaki and thanks for your input. Its really helpful for people, especially from outside India who are looking for HMT watches.
I live in Mumbai and I agree with you that buying from a HMT showroom is the best way to go. Unfortunately, sometimes its just impossible to find some models there and you have to resort to buying from another place. I do make it a point check the movements and the watch after buying the watch to make sure its authentic.

Designer Watches said...

HMT watches are good. I like the design and styles of the latest collections.

Anonymous said...

If you happen to live in Bombay, i advise you visit the World Trade Centre in Cuffe Parade. HMT has had a showroom there for years on the first floor. Wonderful sevice, a fine array watches, and bets of all, they even fix and restore old HMT watches for you.
best wishes,

crazyfingers said...

Hi mcbuddha, thanks for that info :)

I remember vaguely someone telling me about it a couple of years ago, but I never took out the time to go there.
I'll try making a visit on a free weekend to have a look, and maybe pick up a watch or two :)


Philip said...

I'm not a frequent visitor of this page, but I'd definitely love to hear the story of the HMT Kohinoor (Its history and so forth?) I couldn't find it on the HMT website, and don't have anyone nearby who knows abut it either. Could anyone help me out here? And I'm really looking forward to buy one..

crazyfingers said...

Hi Philip,

Thanks for visiting IWB :)

HMT Kohinoors have been there for quite a few years (like some of the other HMT watches). In the true HMT spirit, they were designed to be simple and as someone from HMT once told me, 'last a lifetime'.

The Koninoor is named after the Kohinoor Diamond'- a very precious Indian gemstone and now a part of Queen Elizabeth's crown. The watch has a case diameter of 35mm and a manual 17 jewel movement. I've seen them in two dial colours - white and golden. They have small lume dots on the dial and tiny lines on the hands. I've only seen them on metal bracelets and doubt they come with a leather strap directly from HMT.

The last time I bought one in 2010, I paid under $20 USD for it. I've seen a white dialed one on the sales forum for about $40 USD (including shipping) on Watchuseek. I had one on our sales page a while ago but unfortunately misplaced it. It was a golden dialed version.


Philip said...

Hey CF,

Just wanted to let you know that I bought one (finally) from an HMT showroom in Cochin, Kerala. It cost me ~18 USD. Proud of my new watch! :)

crazyfingers said...

Hey Philip,

That's great to hear! Congratulations on your new HMT :)


himanshu joshi said...

i am posting ver late on this blog. The HMT watch making company is closing down soon but the HMT mechanical model is still available online on its webpage one can directly purchase through the company itself