HMT Limited a.k.a Hindustan machine Tools Limited founded in 1953 in Bangalore. It started with manufacturing mechanical tools and soon expanded into horology.

HMT Bhavan (left top) & HMT Heritage Centre

With Independent India, they planned to start making watches to make watches for Independent Indians. This dream was difficult because it was a new free country with less buying power, they had to find a way to produce affordable, accurate and durable watches for the Indian market.

HMT collaborated with Japanese watch giant Citizen and named the watch line Janata which means Citizen in Hindi.

The launch of the first hand wounded watch was done by Honorable Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Hon'ble Jawarharlal Nehru & HMT Janata (1st hand wound watch by HMT)

1972, HMT procured Watch Plant 2 with the help of Citizen Japan and in 1975 HMT Limited became 100 independent manufacturing 100% of the mechanical parts.

At this moment the demand for HMT watches rose day by day which made them the Largest watch manufacturing coming in India.

People standing in queue to buy HMT Watches outside Bangalore outlet.

They introduced Quartz in 1980’s which were simple, less complex and more reliable. Owning an HMT was a part of social status for many Indians that time.

They mass made watches for Railway Officers, Airforce, Army Officers which made them one of the historic Indian Watch companies.

Vintage HMT Janata (left), HMT advertisement (middle) & New HMT Janata (right)

1990s-2000s HMT faced a challenging time manufacturing watches, there were times the production was halted several times. Apart from production issues, liberalization policies in India changed which led to promote foreign brands. International brands had superior marketing strategies & skills.

The company was struggling to sustain and in 2016 Government of India announced closure of HMT Limited with recurring losses since the 2000’s the last three units of the company were closed – HMT Watches, HMT Chinar Watches, and HMT Bearings.

In 2019, after shutting for three years HMT Limited have started re-making the watches and selling it only online on their website and their store HMT Building, Bangalore.

S Girish Kumar the Chairman & Managing Director of HMT said, “We are making about Rs 5 crore in terms of revenue from the watches. We are selling it only online. We saw that there was a demand for mechanical and hand-wound watches. We had the technology and the technical knowledge to create these watches and decided to restart in a small way this year”

“About 50,000 watches have been manufactured this year. We are looking at 20% growth in the watch division year-on-year. We sell watches in the price range of Rs 600 to more than Rs 20,000,” he added.

HMT mentioned on their website that they have sold over 100 Million watches since they have started selling watches.