Features Monday, April 27, 2015 - 05:30
Since 1952 Kismet Watch Company has been a witness to the changing times in Bengaluru. The shop in Majestic is one of the few authorized service centres for cuckoo clocks in India.   Cuckoo clocks, which have a unique feature of striking the hour with a cuckoo’s call, are traditionally manufactured in the Black Forest in Germany.    Hundreds of such clocks from across the country are brought to this shop for servicing. The shop has nine technicians and they all go to Germany once a year for training. They even import the spare parts of the clock from Germany.   Kismet has a wide array of cuckoo clocks- each one with a different theme- from Romeo- Juliet to woodcutter, see- saw and even table cuckoo clocks. Many of these clocks have been around for decades and if they could talk are sure to have many stories to tell.      “These clocks have a lifetime of more than 100 years. One of the clocks we have is from 1912,” says Pankaj Parekh, owner of Kismet.    In an era of digital clocks, there are many who'd still rather choose a cuckoo clock to adorn their houses. “Buying cuckoo clocks is almost like a craze. We receive several orders for these clocks and import them from Germany,” he says.     The shop sells around 100 clocks every month and receives at least 300 of them for repair related services. While the price of these clocks range anywhere between Rs. 14,000 to Rs. 3 lakh, the cost of repairing them is around Rs. 3,000. According to Pankaj, cuckoo clocks need to be serviced once in four to five years.     Kismet Watch Company was set up by Pankaj’s father, Anantharai Parekh, in 1952. In 1992, they received a Cuckoo Clock for repair, but they did not know how to repair it. When they wrote to the manufacturers, Black Forest Clock Association (BFCA), the latter not only provided the spare parts but also offered Pankaj training for three weeks in Germany.      They have been the authorised service centre for BFCA for about 12 years now and have been the official importers for five years. To further expand his services in the city, Pankaj is planning to open a house of 1,000 clocks in Jayanagar or Indira Nagar in the coming six months. He also hopes to open service centres in other metropolitan cities in the coming year.   Every machine evolves over time, but the cuckoo clock is a unique timepiece that has remained almost untouched by the wheels of change. “The clocks have been the same for the last 150 years and they will continue to remain the same. BFCA wants to keep the tradition going,” says Pankaj, who has received training from Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program (WOSTEP) and has a degree in watch specialization.      The only innovations they have brought are in terms of diversity in designs with added elements to the clocks and these too, are well within their tradition of using wood to make the clock.   "Over the years, however, duplicates from China have entered the market, but they are nowhere near the original ones," Pankaj says signing off.   (All photographs by Benita Chacko)      
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