My Father's Airforce watch

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My Father's Airforce watch

New postby aditya » Fri Jul 03, 2009 4:53 am

Hello All,

This watch was issued to my father by the Indian Air Force in 1968-69. I remember seeing it as a child but somehow it found it's way into a drawer and was forgotten till last october. My father & I were looking for some thing and came accross it. It was in a sorry state but intact (except for the crown). Here are pictures of it, as found.

Aditya

hmt_as_found_1.jpg
hmt_as_found_2.jpg
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Re: My Father's Airforce watch

New postby aditya » Fri Jul 03, 2009 4:55 am

I have restored it and it keeps very good time now. Here are some 'after' pictures. The lume from the hands unfortunately flaked off.

hmt_restored_1.jpg
hmt_restored_2.jpg
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Re: My Father's Airforce watch

New postby aditya » Fri Jul 03, 2009 4:58 am

Now the story-

My father flew the English electric Canberra in those days. The Canberra had a clock but no stopwatch. This was required for navigational purposes (so many minutes & so many seconds from waypoint-1 to waypoint-2, 20 degree left turn & then so many minutes & so many seconds to way point-3 etc., etc.). To solve the problem The airforce issued these watches to the crew.

This watch is a special version of the standard HMT watch made in India under license from Citizen since 1962. The extra feature is hacking mechanism. I have attached a picture. It is quite clever, the hacking spring gives a kick to the 4th wheel as it disengages.

So the cockpit clock was used for timekeeping & this watch was used for timing. Also, there is a dark side to the history of this watch. It has been to war in 1971. So it has a very special place in my heart.
I also found a picture, from the early eighties, of my father wearing the watch.

Hope you enjoyed the story :)

Aditya

hmt_hacking.jpg
hmt_period_picture.jpg
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Re: My Father's Airforce watch

New postby Glyn Meredith » Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:46 am

Good story, Aditya. Was it easy to find a replacement crown/stem?
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Re: My Father's Airforce watch

New postby aditya » Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:23 am

Thanks Glyn,

HMT is still in business, probably only because it is government owned. Their sales have been declining ever since the quartz revolution. And their quartz line has never really picked up. I suspect they still sell a decent number of watches in rural areas where people do not want the hassel of having to change batteries.

I think India is the only country where the locally made mechanical watches are considered inferior to quartz. Last october I bought 10 hand wind time only watches for the equivalent of USD65 :D . I got 25% festive discount + 17% quantity break. Of course there is a growing number of affluent & well travelled people who buy the top swiss mechanicals.

Sorry for rambling. To answer your question- yes, I got the spares from the HMT showroom here in Pune.

Aditya
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Re: My Father's Airforce watch

New postby veritas » Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:36 pm

Aditya, hello.Nice looking watch and glad you had it restored.
I was not even aware that watches were made in India.Thanks for making me aware.
Enjoy the watch and hope it gives you good memories in years to come.
Kevin West
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Re: My Father's Airforce watch

New postby aditya » Sat Jul 04, 2009 5:17 am

Thank you Kevin.

Aditya
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Re: My Father's Airforce watch

New postby 4thdimension » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:17 am

Aditya, It seems strange to see the British "Broad Arrow" symbol used on a watch from India in this era.
I am pleased to read a post from Pune! I spent a week in that city back in 1981, and several days on another visit. I have fond memories of my time there.
-Cort
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Re: My Father's Airforce watch

New postby aditya » Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:08 am

Hello Cort,

Thank you for your comments. My theory is this- when the India Airforce approached HMT for these special watches, they or HMT looked at other military watches for 'inspiration' :D . They must have looked at British watches due, no doubt, to a colonial hangover. Therefore the broadarrow. Mind, this is pure conjecture. I have heard that today HMT themselves have no recollection of having made any military watches. I can, however, guarantee that this one was issued to my father by the Airforce.

Nice to hear that you have visited my beloved Pune. You would'nt recognise the place today. it is much larger, with many more people (& all the associated problems) & slowly going the way Bombay has gone.

Aditya
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