Cheap Watch No1 – HMT Pilot

I am going to start off this blog with a unique watch.  HMT is a company most people have never heard of.  They are an Indian company who has been making watches

HMT Pilot on Wrist - Cheap Watches
HMT Pilot on a Wrist

since the early-1960’s.  They initially had a lot of help from Citizen Watch Co.  in getting started.  Citizen helped them design their movement, and it has basically remained the same very since.

HMT began life as the watchmaker for the Indian army.  They continued to do so for many, many years, while also reproducing their military watches for the general public.  They are a division of the Ministry of Heavy Industries in India.

HMT Pilot - Cheap Watches
Common Dial design Government announced that they would be closing HMT watches, but the outcry was so huge, they have continued to make watches, in smaller quantities, for public purchase.

The HMT Pilot is a classic HMT watch.  It is small, measuring about 35mm in diameter, around the outer edge of the case.  It is made of stainless steel, and has a plastic lens.  There are generally only black faced Pilots, but there are a few exceptions.  Yellow, orange, red, blue and green are also in circulation, but much less popular.  The face usually has a Arabic numera
l at the 12 o’clock position and index marks at the 3,6 & 9 positions, with small illuminated dots at the remaining hour marks.  The bands are usually leather, and have a buckle style clasp.  The movements are always the hand wound movement.

The Pilot has been in production since nearly the inception of the company, with only small changes in the design, making it extremely difficult to determine the actual age of the watch you might end up purchasing, if you decide to track down a Pilot.  I tell you this, because it will be nearly impossible for you to buy a new HMT pilot.  Inventory is scarce.  But, sites like Ebay will have dozens of Pilots for sale.  There is a word of caution for this though.  There is a good chance that if you find one that is called rare or unique, and is a color other than black, you are probably looking at a refurbished watch.  This is not the end of the world, because you can often pick up one of these “rare” Pilots for around 15 dollars.  If you find one that has not been tampered with (which is highly unlikely) you can expect to pay something closer to 50 dollars.  That is not a hard and fast rule.  My HMT Pilot cost 19 dollars, and appears to
be original.

HMT Pilot Insides - Cheap Watches
HMT Pilot with the back off, showing the movement

The point is, this is a cheap men’s watch that, no matter what the color is unique, and it a mechanical movement, and has a story behind it.  I love my HMT.  It keeps decent time, and I know that with it being a mechanical movement, if I would like it to keep a little better time, I can take it to a watch repair shop and they would be able to tighten things up, maybe replace a main spring, and the watch would be like new.

The point of me starting this blog is to give people some unique opportunities to find watches you would not be able to purchase in Walmart.  It will not (generally speaking) be a Chinese watch that will more than likely be broken in a couple weeks.  It will be something that you might even be able to give as a heirloom someday.  And that is something that is extremely uncommon with watches under 2000 dollars in today’s market.

So, check into HMT.  They have other watches which are also nice options and are often available on Ebay as well.  You might find something you really like, and something nobody in your circles will have ever seen before.

HMT Pilot Back - Cheap Watches
The Back of the HMT Pilot

2 thoughts on “Cheap Watch No1 – HMT Pilot

  1. Pilot was unarguably the most famous horse of HMT stable. Later HMT produced many various as well and it was remained most sought after watch from HMT. In hot condition like India, these mechanical marvel were able to run for 30-40 years very easily without losing much time and without much maintenance and over all it was very wallet friendly.
    Its sad to see closing down of this company, but I am a proud owner of at least 40 HMT watches. In absence of proper horology institutes and inclination towards horology it finally came to graveyard.


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