De Fifth Wrist.
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India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru believed that building watches domestically was a national imperative. Thus, Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) was founded as a state-owned enterprise to ensure an adequate supply of economical watches. The watches were made by the millions, in classic designs, at prices that many people could afford.
The subject of this review, the HMT White Pilot Limited Edition, is one of the rarest of HMTs produced. Like all hand-wound HMTs, this 34mm watch features a 0231 hand-wound movement, which was manufactured using machinery that the Indian government obtained from Citizen in 1961. The watches remained in production for many years, and in 2013, Prateek Shujanya organized a group purchase of HMT Pilots for fans on the WatchUSeek Affordable Watch Forum. Unlike HMT Pilots past, this watch features striking blue hands, as well as an etched caseback, declaring that it was produced as a part of a limited run of 500 watches.
The HMT White Pilot Limited Edition was originally sold for $35, and rapidly sold out. Fortunately, I was able to obtain one from its creator through a trade. While I have many HMTs in my collection, this one is particularly special to me because the watch community played a role in producing it, and because I had the chance to get to know the person who brought it into being. Sometimes, the story truly does help make the watch.
As shown in the photos, the dial has a pleasing embossed honeycomb texture, as well as polished, Explorer-style numerals. The blue hands contrast pleasingly with the white dial. It fits compactly on the wrist, and is comfortable to wear. The 18mm drilled lugs suit most straps, and make for easy strap changes. The watch comes from a simpler time, and features an acrylic crystal. The movement does not hack and is unfinished. That said, the watch from a build standpoint, is very similar to a Junghans Max Bill, despite being less than a tenth of the price. Nonetheless, this is the only limited edition watch currently in my collection, and is certainly one of the most special.
- Pleasing dial layout with 3D elements
- Sharp contrast between the blue hands and white dial
- 18mm lugs and a 34mm case, for maximum comfort and versatility
- Acrylic crystal can potentially scratch
- HMT’s 0231 movements are prone to failure, so durability may be an issue
- Hand-wound, but not too thin
- Quality 0%
- Style 0%
- Value 0%
- Wearability 0%
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