Hyderabad: Unlike bigger cities like Bombay, where can hunt in areas like Chor Bazar and find local vintage watch repair stores or dealers, the same cannot be said for our city here. Even the online market space for horology lovers is filled sellers from other cities.
Finding something similar in Hyderabad turned out to be rather difficult. While one can always go to the known stores like Kamal Watch or Ramesh Watch (or any of the bigger stores on the Abids road), it took me a few weeks after a lot of searching to finally find what I was looking for.
In fact, it dawned on me to ask the owner of Mahbub Radio in the Old City if he knew any of the old watch experts. After all, the Chatta Bazar area also at one point of time had close to a dozen watch stores (most of which except ones like Mahmood Watch have shut however.
Enter Bombay Watch Co, a 55-year-old watch service store that can pretty much fix anything and everything to do with horology. Run by Mohd Abdul Kareem Khan, who is over 60 years old, the shop, is one of the few places in Hyderabad that also sells vintage watches.
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From old models of Favre Leuba to the now in demand HMT mechanical models, Bombay Watch Co has everything. When I visited the store a few weeks ago, I spotted different models of old watches ranging from Tissot to Henry Sandoz. While one can look at the many online sellers, going to a watch store and geeking out over these old time pieces is a very different experience.
“I had gone to Bombay and worked there for two years in my youth to learn how to repair and service watches. I learnt my craft in Bhendi Bazar. I came back around 1976 and then set up my shop here. We fix everything. You can get us any watch or clock and we can repair it,” said Kareem Khan. Today he runs Bombay Watch with one of his sons Mohd Rizwan Khan (26).
At a time when fashion watches are sold everywhere and are an easy buy, the demand for old or vintage watches he says is in fact growing. “Lot of people still like old watches and Bombay Watch is known for selling old time pieces. Quartz watches that are made now are not so good in terms of quality,” he opined.
A quartz mechanism is essentially a battery-powered watch, which is not as complicated as a mechanical watch or an automatic watch. Mechanical watches do not need batteries, as it runs on a series of gears and a main spring, all of which work when the machine is winded (typically an old mechanical watch works for 24 to 48 hours after being fully winded). One can find a rather impressive collection of mechanical time pieces at Bombay Watch (subject to availability).
An automatic watch on the other hand is also a mechanical watch, but with a rotor which self winds the watch based on hand movements. It basically will run forever for as long as it is worn. Typically, automatic watches last for 40 plus hours after it is taken off from the wrist.
“We even fix 100-year-old clocks and watches. There are watches here that as close to a century old as well,” quipped Kareem Khan. Those interested in checkin gout vintage watches at Bombay Watch Co can easily find the place, which is located a stone’s throw away from the famous Subhan Bakery in Nampally.