Place of time.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
9711052575 – This is his mobile phone number. Call him now.
The extremely frail Javed Husain Khan sells second-hand Swiss watches—for a bargain. The Delhi Walla wrote about him way back in 2012. I’m again reminding you of this watchman because he has moved his stall. It’s no longer a street-side shack in central Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. It’s now a cutesy hole-in-the-wall in New Markazi Market, a basement lane of small shops in the same neighborhood.
At Mr Khan’s, as I wrote earlier, you get old hand-wound Swiss watches for cheap. He has almost every Swiss brand – Nino, Henri Sandoz, Titoni, Favre-leuba, Titus, Roamer… and yes, if he really really likes you, he might even show you an old Rolex or an old Omega.
Mr Khan charges a fairly decent amount for these watches. If your arm really deserves a Swiss, you would not insult him with bazaar behavior. So, please don’t bargain with the gentleman. A similar watch of the same vintage would cost more than twenty times that amount in a showroom.
“I have dealers in various cities like Calcutta and Lucknow who obtain these watches from families willing to old sell things they no longer need,” said Mr Khan.
A native of Rampur in Uttar Pradesh, Mr Khan also repairs these old watches. He is usually seen working alone intently over family heirlooms, mending this or that tiny part of an old Swiss. The elderly man’s trademark eye-glass would make anybody else appear like a pirate, but he remains the very portrait of gentleness. And he speaks so softly, in such a dignified way. Mr Khan is a true sophisticate. Come to his shop; you don’t even have to buy his watches. Just to watch him work would be worth the time.
Our dream Switzerland