Thursday, October 23, 2014

My SSLC gift ... HMT Vijay ... 30 years ago ...

Ever since news broke out that HMT Watches is shutting shop, there has been a slew of articles in major newsmagazines about HMT watches…nostalgic articles about how HMT was the one and only watch that was available and how people placed orders for specific models months before and how sturdy these watches were and how they have lasted decades without repair and how the time-tested hand-winding mechanism gave away to the more glamourous Titan quartz watches…and so on and so forth and there was also lament that things could have been better if the whole enterprise was managed well…

And of course, on the Internet, there are pages and pages of pictures of people displaying their HMT watches, their first watch, their wedding watch, their graduation watch and so on…suddenly there is a lot of interest and people are queueing up to grab whatever they can and HMT have almost tripled their prices…

And it looks like most people in India in their late 30s and above have their own HMT watch story…and here is mine…

As was the custom in many South Indian families, I got my first watch when I was in the 10th class…the reason, I think, was that you wrote a ‘public exam’ when in 10th class and that students needed to manage their time and needed a watch…I too got one, but how well I managed my time and whether I passed out with flying colours is a question that is moot…maybe I just ‘passed out’…

On the 1st of January 1983, I got my HMT Vijay black dial mechanical hand-winding watch…my father got it for me…I was studying in Milagres High School in Mangalore at that time…this was the only watch I had till almost 1998 and used it every day… sometimes I wore it while I nodded off and saw the watch ticking away merrily in the morning…for 15 years me and my Vijay were inseparable, and then my brother gifted me a Titan watch and I used to wear these two watches alternately…and slowly, Vijay went into its box and I got another Titan as a wedding gift…and the earlier Titan went into its box…

Some five years back, my youngest brother, who is a watch fanatic, and I were talking watches…I had been to a Titan showroom and seen some automatic watches and told him about the various models and how expensive they were and all that…he told me that HMT has a blue dial & blue strap automatic model which is very good, and not expensive at all for an automatic watch…and this opened up my second and continuing affair with HMT watches…and prompted me to take out my first HMT watch, Vijay, from its box…I wound it up and it started tick-tocking like a dream and keeps time smoothly …


And here I would like to show some pictures of my iconic HMT Vijay NL hand-winding mechanical watch, which is now 31 years old … and still running strong… I wear it occasionally now, now that it has become an antique and is very precioussss...


Yeah, this is how Vijay NL looks...simple...and sturdy...many of my classmates were sons of fathers working in the "Gulf" in high paying jobs, and they had Casio and Ricoh watches, and I used to look longingly at those watches...now I am glad I got this watch...


A close-up of the face...taken without flash...


Another close-up...this time with flash...


The back...the serial number printed at the back tells the manufacturing unit where the watch was made and also the year of manufacture, so some HMT watch enthusiasts say... 


Haan...can you see that pin?  he he...I don't know what that is called, but that link came out and I didn't have the patience to get another one fixed or maybe when that happened I didn't have money or something...anyway, I put a pin into that slot and bent it upwards...this must have happened twenty years ago, I don't remember exactly, but the pin has stayed on...


Three decades of scratches...if only random lines could speak...!!!  


This is the front and back of the 'Certificate of Guarantee' book ... 


This is the 'Certificate of Guarantee...'  see the date?  1 - 1 - 83 


The receipt ... watch purchased at Vaman Nayak Sons, Mangalore ... for a princely sum of Rs. 258 ... that's my father's name there on top ... he paid for it!! 

6 comments:

SUDARSHAN CHAKRA said...

In these days of fast track watches ,where you are suggested to change your watches like you do with girl friends, here is a man who stayed with a watch so long and writes an emotional blog about it. Does he belong to the past or the past trying to redefine future?

winding river said...

Thanks Madhav ... for your response and especially your 'stentorian' question ... a little bit of both I suppose ... your visit is much appreciated...

Jai

abhishek sharma said...

i graduated last week and my mother gifted me a watch that used to be owned by my late grandfather who passed away in 2006....an HMT Vijay just the same as yours ... i got it rebuffed and and new strap ...the watch works perfect and looks cool too me ...
i feel so proud adoring this magnificent timepiece on my wrist . planto wear it everyday .

Jayasrinivasa Rao said...

Thanks Abhishek for visiting ... and for this very sweet anecdote about your grandfather's watch ... and yes, your grandfather's Vijay is a proud thing to own and use ...

llTROLLYWOOD ll said...

How to find the manufacture date from the code that's behind the watch sir??

mike969696 said...

Normally, though not by any means always, it is the last two digits of the caseback code which tell us the year of manufacture, which in this case appears to be 1981. Note that in recent decades, a large inventory of cases had been manufactured and stored in the Chinar plant. The last of these cases, which seem to date from 1998, which have been used in the manufacture of many hand-wound watches assembled during the last three or so years.