Every now and again, you’ll see something pop up on the watch forums, and you think “Why not? I’ll take a flier on that one.” That’s what happened to me when I ran across someone selling HMT Pilot watches, direct from the factory in India.
HMT (also known as Hindustan Machine Tools) has been making watches since 1961 – so they’re definitely not a newcomer on the scene. While I’ve not seen (to date) a larger retailer offering these here in the States, it’s not that surprising to find a plethora of models up for sale on eBay or any number of watch forums.
Having seen these pop up time and again, it started to stick in my mind, and when I saw the Pilot model on offer (quite reasonably, at $35 shipped), I figured it was high time to pick one up, and see what all the fuss is about.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Pilot is how small it is, compared to the watches we’re used to seeing. The case measures in at 35mm in diameter, and the whole thing is rather thin, due to the the manually-wound movement. It would be even thinner, but you’ve got a high-domed plastic crystal up top.
Given the dimensions, and just the overall style of the watch, this is very much something many would consider to be a “retro” sort of style. For me, I just like the plain simplicity of the piece. Given the high polish on the case and black dial, this worked rather nicely for me as a dress watch, and slipped under the cuff with no issues whatsoever.
Time will tell how long-lasting the movement is, but for now, I’m happy with the purchase. I did manage to get a ding in the crystal already, but that’s more my fault, than the watches. I think this would be good if you’re looking to get an affordable mechanical for someone as a gift, or you’re just looking to scratch the itch to get something new into your collection, without breaking the bank.
If you’re interested, drop me a line, and I can put you in touch with the person I bought mine from.