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Affordable Watches


GottaB

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Throwback to my first ever mechanical watch, a reissue of the HMT Pilot Limited Edition. HMT (Hindustan Machine Tools) was an Indian government-subsidized watchmaker known for making affordable, reliable mechanical watches starting in 1961. They were manufactured completely in India, with an in-house HMT 0231 movement developed in collaboration with Citizen and licensed from the latter's 0201 Parashock movement. HMT watches were absurdly popular in India even through the quartz crisis, due to import tariffs keeping out foreign watchmakers. But in 1991 those tariffs were lifted, and soon after a new watchmaker named Titan flooded India with cheap quartz watches mass-produced in Chinese factories. HMT couldn't compete, and despite releasing their own short-lived quartz lineup, they suffered massive losses and eventually went out of business.

Today's generation in India is completely unaware of HMT for the most part. This watch was a gift from my in-laws, who live near the last remaining HMT factory in Bangalore and were able to acquire this piece when they were selling off existing stock after the factory closed for the final time. It sold for 3663 rupees, or $48.84. 36mm diameter with a domed acrylic crystal. Not the fanciest watch, but it holds a good deal of sentimental value.

(apologies for the sasquatch arm 😬)

 

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This thread inspired me. I posted a Casio I bought a couple of weeks ago on Amazon. Was about a $100 watch. After posting on this thread and reading through it I decided to return it to Amazon and get something that I have always wanted. Shipping says it should get here today. Seiko Samurai Prospex SRPF03. I can't wait.

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On 1/8/2023 at 3:05 PM, tx 3 putt said:


post pics 

I’m stuck on a blue Tudor Pelagos 42mm with a black rubber band 

Love my OG Pelagos that I bought from a sanctimonious SOB.  Best part about them is that they really dont show wear.  Titanium is legit.

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15 hours ago, satyanash said:

Decent but very overpriced. For $500 you can get a Max Bill, for $700 you can get a C63 Sealander... that's the quality you should expect in that price range.

Thanks Satya. I know absolutely nothing about watches except that there is a pricy watch called Rolex. The only time I have worn a watch (besides Apple watch now) was during my undergrad days in India (good old HMT). This question was for gifting a watch to a relative.

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13 hours ago, AeroHorn said:

Edit: Didn't read your post before replying. Everyone had HMT and I remember by dad had a Citizen watch.

Their website looks like it is stuck in 1990s too. Official Web Site of HMT Watches by HMT Limited | Buy online

HMT is stuck in a bygone era. In the '70s and '80s crowds of people would line up outside HMT showrooms with recommendation letters from politically connected friends/relatives in order to be able to buy watches. Obviously that's no longer the case, people have other options now that the Indian economy isn't closed off to the outside world anymore. The HMT ABD still has a supply of previously manufactured 36mm cases and 0231 hand-wound movements that they're sloooooowly assembling and selling off through their broken website (which does not ship outside of India) and a few showrooms scattered around Bangalore. Their prices for the original Janata, Pilot, Kohinoor, Jhalak, and Vijay models are cheap as ever but the QC is more hit or miss than it was after the layoffs and factory closings. They're also making and selling some quartz and automatic models in larger 40mm+ cases with imported off-the-shelf Miyota movements.

Sometimes, for a large enough group order they'll make and sell custom 'limited edition' versions of their watches according to customer-given specifications. That's how the Pilot 'White Dial' Limited Edition first came into being back in 2013. There are also a ton of crappy fake HMT watches with repainted dials and cannibalized movements floating around on eBay for ~$15 a pop.

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Two brands I can definitely recommend I the $750-850 range are the Direnzo DRZ04 and the Orion Hellcat.

I also highly recommend the Formex Field on the adjustable strap - sub-$1000.

Another microbrand I like for under $1k is the Straum Opphav.

Finally, if you like a cushion case, I love the Duckworth Prestex. I think it's sub $750.


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Another watch I would highly recommend although I don't own one yet is the Delft Watch works Oostsport. One of the owners of the brand has another line of watches that are much higher end. But he's a fantastic watchmaker and this is a great looking watch.

About $800Screenshot_20230118_105256_Chrome.jpg

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On 1/17/2023 at 8:59 PM, Constant said:

1DA414CD-1A98-4E9E-913A-A6EC8855EC7B.thumb.webp.01ad7d280be00b992ce71c983238c3e1.webp

Pre-ordered this Hoffman 40 mechanical panda. 

Let us know how it ends up. I'm usually leery about Chinese-made Kickstarter watches with bold marketing claims but this one does seem more legit.

 

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I will add there's nothing wrong with making watches in China, as long as they're honest about their product.

Quote

Precision: -20/+40 seconds per day

Stuff like this for example. Losing ~30 sec. per day is not tremendously precise, it's standard for the cheap Miyota 2036 movement they used. It's cool that you can upgrade to a Seagull though.

Edited by satyanash
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16 hours ago, satyanash said:

Let us know how it ends up. I'm usually leery about Chinese-made Kickstarter watches with bold marketing claims but this one does seem more legit.

 

Yeah, I’m not expecting anything super special, but the look just caught my eye right. Ultimately saving up for my next holy grail-  the moonwatch. 

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I've really just been wearing my speedy since the pandemic started. I bought that Casio F-91W to wear while cycling, which opened the door for other watches to hop on my wrist and I'm remembering how much I love this Stowa Flieger 36. On the edge between this thread and the other, but I paid $750 for it used and they're talking about Pateks in the other thread so I'll call it affordable.

 

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It had been keeping shitty time (2012 watch never serviced) so I had it serviced alongside my pogue, but still hadn't put it back on. At about -3 seconds a day. Time seems to move quicker when this big white second marker is just smoothly sweeping along the outer edge of the dial.

Edited by Celery Man
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I've really just been wearing my speedy since the pandemic started. I bought that Casio F-91W to wear while cycling, which opened the door for other watches to hop on my wrist and I'm remembering how much I love this Stowa Flieger 36. On the edge between this thread and the other, but I paid $750 for it used and they're talking about Pateks in the other thread so I'll call it affordable.
 
3BF3EF07-A2D2-426D-87C8-6C32F9279BC4.thumb.jpeg.8e6b8dacd65aa3786fb81f4df501ebea.jpeg
It had been keeping shitty time (2012 watch never serviced) so I had it serviced alongside my pogue, but still hadn't put it back on. At about -3 seconds a day. Time seems to move quicker when this big white second marker is just smoothly sweeping along the outer edge of the dial.
Gorgeous watch! I've kind of been considering sun $1k as affordable. I realize it varies from person to person, but that's a great watch at $750.
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