Who will buy a watch that needs to be wound daily? Amol Shetye, an architect who designs commercial spaces recently bought himself a Pilot for Rs 750, a manual wind-up model with a black dial. He loves the way the second hand moves continuously unlike the staccato movement in a quartz watch. Models such as the Pilot, Janata, Sona, and several others made by state-owned manufacturer HMT have been relaunched thanks to increased demand across the country. With the market flooded with quartz watch models, both home-grown and international, buyers looking for simplicity consider the models retro-chic. Amarnath Bharati, HMT’s regional manager for Maharashtra, says, “It is a new fashion to wear simple, retro designs.” Shetye has another reason: Such watches are environment friendly as they have no batteries. Although the government does not allow HMT to advertise, sales increased 40% last year to Rs 20 crore. However, the company has annual losses of more than
Rs 250 crore, primarily due to a bloated workforce. This also makes production sporadic as there is often not enough cash for spares and raw materials. The government is planning a special retirement package for redundant employees. That should free up more funds for manufacturing. How’s that for a timely move?

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