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Rising demand may pump in new life in HMT watches

By Sujata Sachdeva


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After news of HMT Watches shutting shop made headlines, the company has been witnessing an unprecedented demand for timepieces manufactured by the country\'s first watch-maker. Keeping the memories and nostalgia attached to HMT, the governmentis rethinking its earlier decision and now the loss-making public sector company may get a revival package to tick back to life.

The company is also exploring the e-commerce route to sell the existing inventory. But since the inventory will eventually run out, the government's plan is to let the ‘new HMT Watches’ sell its popular brands such as Sona, a gold-plated dress watch, Pilot, a wind-up model and Janata, the first model named by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Only the Tumkur, Karnataka unit, with staff strength of around 60 will continue to operate while the other factories will close down. The heavy industries ministry will soon take a formal proposal to the cabinet for shutting down six ailing state-run firms, including HMT Watches. Sources claim that the Tumkur unit may get transferred to another HMT group company, which will focus on heavy engineering work.

HMT, which had no rivals at the time of its launch in 1961, set up the country's first watch manufacturing unit in Bangalore in collaboration with Citizen Watch. In fact, it has many firsts to its credit to boast of, from the automatic day-date watch to the first Braille and quartz watches. However entry of several Indian and foreign player in the watch market with new designs and functions as well as modern day production techniques led to the downfall of HMT.