Background Note Contd...
The dream became a reality in 1961, when the government owned Hindustan Machine Tools Ltd. (HMT), entered into a tie up with Citizen of Japan, to set up the first watch factory. Citizen also trained select Indian people from HMT at its watch manufacturing facility in Japan.
The first watch model manufactured by HMT- the Janata model- was gifted to the senior most employee of the company by Nehru. In the next ten years, HMT's production increased to 15,000 - 20,000 mechanical watches every month. The early 1980s saw a technological revolution, with the invention of the integrated chip in the US. Digitals were in demand and LED (Light Emitting Diode)2 watches gained in popularity. Japanese companies took over the manufacture of LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)3 for digital watches. There was a discernible shift in focus from mechanical to quartz watches in the international market. The Swiss watch industry declined because of its attachment to the mechanical watches. HMT made the same mistake in India.
Titan came into existence in July 1984, as a joint venture between the Tata Group and the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO). When Titan entered the market, the industry consisted of the organized segment dominated by HMT, the unorganized segment consisting of small, local players and the grey market. HMT, which was entirely focused on functional needs, manufactured only mechanical watches. The small time players lacked the nation wide sales and support network which HMT had...