“What’s wrong with him why is he buying and collecting all that junk” said the voice at the other end of the phone receiver. “Papa, please don’t say that…those watches are beautiful and are very good” countered my wife. ”So when are you reaching Bangalore” she said trying to change the topic. “Ok we will be there to receive you …good bye” she disconnected the call and turned back to find me in my most amusing mood. “So you heard it all…right…he was just poking some fun on you… they will be reaching Bangalore this Saturday morning”
My father in law’s reaction to my hobby of collecting HMT watches does not surprise me. Especially when he wears an original Rado Ceramica watch. Thankfully my wife is on my side. Finally the fateful Saturday came and we reached the railway station in time to welcome them. After a nice breakfast of steaming hot Idlis and Chai I left my house to catch up with my friends at the HMT showroom located inside the Unity building complex on J C Road, Bangalore. I usually spend a couple of hours most of the Saturday’s at this showroom learning more about the watches and also meeting new and interesting people amongst those who visit the showroom. I met a man of my age at the showroom who initiated a conversation with me by sharing his admiration for the HMT pilot watch that I was wearing on that day. We were busy expressing our love for these watches and sharing our experiences when my phone started ringing. I picked-up the call. It was from my wife “When are you planning to return…Papa wants to speak with you”. I started back for my home though I was not really willing to conclude my meeting abruptly.
I reached home in good time much to the relief of my wife. I was relaxing in my sofa enjoying the cool Bangalore breeze when my father in law took his seat next to me. “ Beta ye ghadi dekhana zara ye babasahab ki hai (son can you please take a look at this watch this belonged to grandfather). I took the watch in my hand to inspect it and to my great joy it was an HMT black dial pilot watch. It had a black nylon strap. It looked battered and it was clearly a daily beater of my grandfather-in-law. The second’s hand come out and was lying inside the acrylic crystal dome on the dial. I rotated the crown to wind the watch and brought it to my ear. The watch was ticking. It was a beautiful coincidence with a pilot on my wrist and a vintage pilot in my hands. Both the watches however separated by the age difference of decades.
He could feel my happiness and said I am happy that you liked it. I called my wife and showed her the watch, she was equally happy. My father-in-law had surprised us both with this watch. I took the watch to the Unity building HMT showroom for servicing where it was serviced and it’s now keeping an accurate time. I was told that the watch was serviced once before in the early 90s. I am now a proud owner of two pilot watches - a grandfather and a grandson Pilot watch.
Major differences between the Vintage and New Pilots
Vintage Pilot had a domed crown as compared to flat head of the new pilot’s crown. The dial of the vintage Pilot had “water protected” printed on the dial
The case back of vintage pilot also had “water dust protected” etched on it. While the latest pilots have 0231 (watch movement) etched on it the vintage one’s do not have the same mentioned anywhere on the watch. The new pilot watch has shock resistant etched on it while the earlier one had “shock proof”. Vintage pilot watch back was threaded and screw off while the new ones have a threaded snap – off watch back