For millions in India, a choice was unheard of. Milk was from Amul, footwear from Bata, and scooters from Bajaj.
It was the 1960s, an era of State-sponsored rapid industrialisation, tight restrictions and towering duties on imports, and decades of now hated 'License Raj,' an elaborate system of issuing licenses to select few, for private enterprises to produce anything in India.
All controlled and masterfully laid out by the Soviet-inspired Planning Commission led by the vision of Nehruvian Development Economics.
Milk, footwear, scooters, or wristwatches.
It was during these few decades that some of India's most cherished watch brands were born. State-sponsored Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) was set up in Bangalore to focus on precision manufacturing, followed by another brave private venture in Bangalore with Swiss partnership: Hegde and Golay.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, a handful of young workers peered over their workbenches, assembling the minutiae of what would become the only timekeeping instruments millions of Indians would ever know: anniversaries, weddings, promotions, new jobs, and birthday presents. It was always an HMT or Hegde and Golay.
The stories of these dedicated men and women behind the manufacturing of the first watches made by India are as intriguing as the watches themselves.
Meet, The Keepers of Time.
Full story here.