Watch Out! - The HMT Pilot Review

HMT was an Indian watch manufacture with factories in Bangalore, Kochi, Hyderabad, Pinjore, and Ajmer. At one time, the company was the country’s largest supplier of wrist watches. HMT also dealt in several other areas, making equipment for metal processing, tractors, printing presses, etc. The majority of the company was shut down in 2016 due to failing business.

In 1961, HMT began a watch manufacturing facility in Bangalore, partnering with Citizen Watch Co. of Japan. Over the years they expanded the manufacturing capabilities; essentially creating their own HMT movements. One of the most common movements seems to be the HMT 0230/0231, which was essentially a clone of the Citizen 0201 movement.

The HMT Pilot is one of the popular designs they created over the years. While called a Pilot, it doesn’t match up with the designs of most Pilot watches over the years. At 35mm in diameter, with only the 12 position as printed Arabic digits, the watch is more of a dressy vintage watch.

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My watch sold as New Old Stock - and while it definitely looks unworn, it is also evident that the dial is a repaint.  That said, the whole watch has a decent, vintage look to it. It may have been assembled out of leftover parts stock from the factory closures.

On mine, the crown sticks out a little bit - the threading may need to be cut back slightly to get the crown to fit properly. 

When I received my watch, it would not run. I was surprised at this, but since I’ve had a little practice on an ETA movement, I cracked the back open to find a pallet fork that was not mating with the balance wheel. A little nudge, and it started right up. 

Look at that vintage style movement!

Look at that vintage style movement!

The watch is light and thin, thanks to the hand winding movement. Winding is smooth and lets you know when it’s fully wound. 

The movement is essentially a 1960s design, running at 18,000 BPH. It sports a Citizen designer Parashock shock absorber for the balance wheel. The power reserve is around 38-40 hours. 

The back of the watch is a press fit, with a small O-ring to help resist moisture. 

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In keeping with the vintage design, the crystal is domed acrylic. This polishes up very nicely, with a slight magnifying effect around the edges. Inside, the seconds hand is bent slightly down to fit properly. 

This is a unique and uncommon piece of wrist wear that would pair really nicely with a leather strap, with an easy-to-manage 18mm width.

I’m pretty excited to have this piece in my collection; my first handwinder that has vintage styling and heritage, while still essentially being new. 

The best part for me was the price: $32, with free shipping.  Since the dial isn’t truly original, a lot of fun could be had customizing this or swapping dials to get a lot of style miles out of this watch.

Book Review - Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans

For Christmas, my wife Sarah (who knows me all too well) gave me this book, which I dove into with great excitement and interest.

In their fascinating historically focused books, Kilmeade and Yaeger have hit upon a recipe for an engaging narrative. They weave their story around some of the most interesting characters - people we’ve all heard of, but the story takes us through a segment of their life that is little considered by the mainstream.

In this book, the central character is Andrew Jackson, who would eventually be the seventh President of the United States. During the War of 1812, considered by some to be a second War for Independence, Jackson worked hard to defend the port of New Orleans. This critical port was ideally placed for a young nation to grow. Losing it to the British, who might keep it or hand it back to other European powers, would eliminate the possibility of further westward growth of the United States, and also severely limit ocean-going commerce during and after the war.

The exciting narrative, with an incredible supporting cast of characters including Davy Crockett, will captivate any reader. The suspense is built by a careful introduction to the reader of the background and geographic importance of New Orleans. From there, scenes of battle, intrigue, and even piracy give a Technicolor spectacle that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The War of 1812 comes to live in this exciting narrative.

The Kohler Sink - 1 Year Later

It’s a cold day here at the homestead! Roughly 12 degrees or less on the thermometer, lots of wind and snow.

I realized the other day, we are coming up on a 1 year anniversary with our new Kohler kitchen sink. Last year, Sarah brought up the idea of replacing our kitchen sink. I was all for it, the old one was stainless steel and starting to look its age. With our hard water, it really adds to the dingy look.

You can read about that adventure here.

In the intervening year, Sarah put up a nice curtain to mask the under sink area, since we had to remove the cabinet doors. This is a nice touch that can be updated seasonally, adding color and personalizing the kitchen.

The biggest challenge has been keeping a white sink clean! We have found that Bar Keeper’s Friend is truly a lifesaver when dealing with the various marks that come from the pots, pans, and silverware. These marks look like scratches, but the enamel itself is not damaged. A quick scour with the Bar Keeper’s Friend will remove those marks very quickly. To avoid staining, we simply use bleach - a soft-scrub bottle with bleach will help keep the enamel clean and bright.

Kohler provides a small packet of paste cleanser that is specially formulated for their enamel products. My thought is that this is probably the best cleanser for the sink; but I haven’t got around to buying any yet, and the cleaners we’ve been using just work so well we’ve had no reason to change.

One year on, things are looking as sharp as ever. The hard water does a number on the hand sprayer, but thankfully those are cheap to replace when the time comes. Frequent vinegar usage will help keep the buildup to a minimum. A water softener is somewhere in our future, but there’s a few other things to do first.

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