A watch based on the Indian Air Force

When you think of watches, the first thing that comes to your mind is Switzerland or Rolex. However, this is none of them. Say hello to the Banglore Watch Company or BWC. India’s homegrown watch manufacturer.

Started by husband and wife team Nirupesh Joshi and Mercy Amalraj who lived abroad. While pursuing careers in technology, they were inspired by watchmaking’s fine art, quit their lucrative jobs and moved to Banglore, India’s silicon valley. Ironic isn’t it? Moving to India’s tech hub to make an analogue watch?

However, we are more than happy to welcome such niche microbrands. As an Indian, I am more than happy to identify myself with such a brand. So much so that I bought one of their watches.

The watch in question being the BWC MACH-1. An aviator inspired watch based on the theme of India’s first supersonic aircraft the MiG-21 Fishbed. The MiG-21 was India’s backbone fighter aircraft, and only recently it has been retired from service.

Being an aviation enthusiast having a watch brand from my country which pays homage to the Indian Air Force was a no brainer for me. I had to buy it. Banglore Watch Company, like many other microbrands, is only e-commerce based. After visiting their website, I found that the watch is out of stock. They had a WhatsApp number on the website, and I promptly messaged on that. On the other end, the person was more than happy to handheld me through the entire buying process and informed me that the MACH-1 is being produced only in limited numbers. I was pleased to wait for the next batch to be ready and was promptly shipped mine as soon as it was ready. Recently they announced that they would no longer be producing the MACH-1. It will be their last batch. I love that thought process, and I may just have bought a collectable.

Coming to the watch. They have two options for the MACH-1. One is steel, and the other is black PVD. I have a few steel watches so I decided to go for the black PVD case one. It comes with black fabric straps with a leather base. I already knew that I wanted a watch in which I could change straps to match my clothes/shoes/socks, etc. On their recommendation, I bought multiple silicon straps from Barton Bands (again a terrific decision on my part). You can see pictures of my various straps on the watch.

Taking on design elements from the MiG-21, the MACH-1 carries The Indian Air Force fin-flash at the 9H position, a MiG afterburner inspired winding crown, cockpit inspired numerals made of 3D Swiss Super-LumiNova for excellent night-time visibility, and an engraving of MiGs flying in formation on the case-back.

The watch’s size is 42MM, and though that is a reasonably big size for a watch, it sits comfortably on my wrist like a smaller watch. The movement is a Swiss Made Sellita SW220-1 automatic movement calibres. It operates at a 4HZ movement with a 38-hour power reserve with day and date indicator windows.

Adding to another unique aspect of the watch, it comes with a Pelican style case. You have to watch the unboxing video here.

Priced at around $700 I found it value for money for the kind of storytelling and thought process involved in the watch. What could have been done better? Definitely, some finishing touches could have been more premium or of better quality. The original fabric/leather straps take some getting used too and breaking into. The crown’s movement could have been a bit smoother and refined and the overall fit and finish of the PVD case. That being said, I am nitpicking here, and I am totally in love with my watch. I break it out at every instance that I get and love changing the straps, which is super easy due to the quick release feature.

Banglore Watch Company wants to create, design, and launch watches with a theme and a story. Their next watch is themed around cricket. What I am waiting for is their subsequent military or motorsport themed watch. I can see myself collecting their timepieces over the coming years.