BENGALURU: It’s a Saturday and Pankaj Parekh and his team are working with clockwork precision. It’s the busiest day of the week at Kismet Watch Company with customers queuing up with their faulty cuckoo clocks and others waiting to pick up their newly-repaired clocks.
Inside the shop, the sound of German cuckoo clocks and hourly chime of grandfather clocks drowns the noise of traffic on the busy KG Road. Standing behind the counter, Pankaj greets his customers with a smile, patiently explaining to them how to care for their cuckoo clocks or the intricate mechanism behind the clocks.
It is this enthusiasm and curiosity that motivated Pankaj, a BCom graduate, to take over Kismet Watch Company from his father, Anantrai Parekh, in 1976. He continued in the tradition of repairing watches and clocks until 1992 when he decided to enrol at WOSTEP (Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program) at Neuchatel in Switzerland. He studied horology, the art of making watches and clocks, and holds the highest degree in the subject. He then returned to his shop in Bengaluru, where he started repairing fine quality watches like Rado, Longines and others.
As his customer base grew, he was approached by several people to repair their cuckoo clocks. “I realised there was a demand for authorised servicing of cuckoo clocks in India and decided to focus on that area,” he says. In 1998, Pankaj wrote to the Black Forest Clock Association, a syndicate set up to protect traditional cuckoo clock-making in the Black Forest region, asking them for training. The association called him to Germany, where Pankaj underwent a three-week training in servicing and repair of cuckoo clocks. “I was the only Indian training there,” he reminisces.
Once he returned to India, Pankaj had charted out plans for Kismet Watch Company. Today, the shops exclusively deals in cuckoo clocks made in Black Forest region of Germany, which apart from being famous for its eponymous cakes and inspiration for Grimm’s fairy tales, is home to the world’s best cuckoo clock makers.
Pankaj is the only authorised dealer of such clocks in India and the Middle East. The shop has gained so much popularity that clocks are couriered from countries in Middle East for repairs, he says.
“We service around 12,000 clocks annually and sell close to 7,000 clocks a year,” he says. All the clocks are imported from Germany and sold in India at the same price, he adds.
Pankaj has a 20-member team, 12 of whom have undergone training at the Black Forest Clock Association. Pankaj himself visits Germany every year to upgrade his training.
Pankaj’s son Vivek is also involved in the family business and has undergone training in Germany.