Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

The Pink Dial of the Bangalore Watch Company MACH 1 Silk Scarf

A celebration of Indian women in commercial aviation.

| By Rebecca Doulton | 3 min read |

Founded in 2018 by Nirupesh Joshi and his wife, Mercy Amalraj, the Bangalore Watch Company (BWC) proudly flies the Indian flag with watches promoting Indian aviation, cricket and even India’s influential space programme. The MACH 1 is the BWC’s collection of modern pilot watches inspired by and often made from material retrieved from fighter jets and carrier planes of the Indian Air Force. The latest model, which celebrates Indian women in aviation, is the MACH 1 Silk Scarf, a 40mm unisex model with a light pink dial.

While India might not be your first reference when it comes to watchmaking, it would be unfair to overlook the mighty Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) watch brand set up in the mid-1960s and modelled on the Soviet system of autarky. Using technology and training from Citizen in Japan, HMT churned out over 115 million watches until it was shut down in 2013. Although there are other middling, generic brands like Titan and Fastrack, Bangalore Watch Company is proud of its Indian heritage, flaunting national achievements in aviation, space exploration and cricket.

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The MACH 1 was launched in 2019 as a pilot watch collection with an inaugural model inspired by India’s first supersonic jet fighter, the MiG 21 Type 77, followed by a model with a light blue dial echoing the colour of officer’s shirts in the Indian Air Force. Earlier this year, the BWC released the more compact MACH 1 Admiral with dials made from the anchor of the INS Vikrant R11 aircraft carrier.

The MACH 1 Silk Scarf does not reference a famous Indian fighter jet or an aircraft carrier; instead, it pays tribute to women in commercial aviation. The backstory here refers to 21-year-old Salra Thukral, who became the first Indian woman to obtain a commercial pilot’s license in 1936. Following India’s economic liberalisation in the 1980s, thousands of women were inspired by Thukral and found jobs in aviation as pilots, ground crew and air traffic controllers. According to Mercy Amalraj, co-founder of BWC, “15% of all commercial pilots in India are women. This number is surprisingly three times higher than the global average”.

Similar in build to the MACH 1 Admiral, the 40mm stainless steel case has a thickness of 10.8mm and a water-resistance rating of 100 metres. The dial is protected by a flat sapphire crystal with two layers of anti-reflective coating. The caseback is screwed down and decorated with an aviator’s scarf (the name of the watch refers to the silk scarves worn by pilots in the early days of aviation, a tradition that lives on as part of flight crew uniforms today).

Given the unique backstory, BWC has created a new light-pink shade called Aerobloom for the dial treated with a slightly grainy texture. The matte black hour and minute hands and the Arabic indices and yellow plots on the sloping minutes track are treated with Super-LumiNova C3 that glows green in the dark. Like other MACH 1 models, the silhouette of the central seconds hand traces the shape of a red MiG, and the tricolour (Indian flag) fin flash – used to mark the nationality of a military aircraft – is featured on the dial at 9 o’clock. At 6 o’clock is a rectangular date window with a black background.

Hidden beneath the caseback is a Sellita SW 200-1 automatic with a frequency of 28,800vph and a relatively limited power reserve of 38 hours. The MACH I Silk Scarf is paired with a high-quality oil-pulled leather strap with a pin buckle. It retails for USD 1,050 and can be reserved on today.

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