KOCHI: Before electronic watches came to the fore, mechanical watches were the fashion statement. TimeGrapher, a community of watch collectors and enthusiasts based in Thiruvananthapuram, launched a series of mechanical watch ‘Nazhika’ that features Malayalam numerical script. Nazhika was the traditional measurement of time among Malayalis — one nazhika is equal to 24 minutes and one vinazhika is equal to 24 seconds.
The vintage collection has also incorporated an inner track that consists of nazhika-based time reading. “Back in the days, Kerala used to measure time relative to sunrise. People stopped using nazhika and vinazhika because it was a complex system. Our new line of Nazhika watches have both the 12-hour format and the nazhika reading,” says Sohan Balachandran, founder of TimeGrapher.
Every component of the watch is made from upcycled materials. To make it more eco-friendly and cruelty-free, Nazhika has used synthetic leather for the strap. The raw materials are sourced from Lucknow, Mumbai, and Kolkota. “TimeGraph came up with this collection to help local artisans who were rendered jobless due to Covid. We use HMT mechanical components sourced from Lucknow in the watch,” says Sohan.
The pie pan dials are made from brass. “The dials of the watches are handpainted by artisans in Rajasthan. TimeGraph team member Artist Dilip Maniyappan designed the dial, and created the custom Malayalam numerals used in the watch. Nishad S N helped execute it. “The backside is made of transparent glass, so you can see the movement of the watch entirely. The orange track above the numerals shows the nazhika. Each time the hour hand touches it, one nazhika has passed,” says Sohan.
Nazhika series is the first to feature an all-Malayalam numerical script. “I’ve seen them once in a book. Not many people know that the numerals existed. We sought help from Desamangalam Ramakrishnan, former Kerala University Malayalam HOD to get authentic information on them,” says Sohan TimeGraph has made 40 units so far. The parts are assembled in Mumbai. The calibration and quality check are done by local artisans in Thiruvananthapuram. The zero-profit project is not meant for revenue generation, said the founders.