Guardians of Time: Did you know of NL Roy & Co, the oldest watchmakers in Lucknow?
In the relentless march of technology, some arts and crafts, some traditions are bound to fade away. Barely surviving, on the verge of extinction, lies the art of watch-making and repairing.
Facing innumerable tides of time and rising above the evolution, here is one such timekeeper of Lucknow. While exploring the streets of Hazratganj, we came across what is touted to be the oldest watch shop in Uttar Pradesh — NL Roy & Co. This is where antique clocks and vintage watches whisper tales of an era bygone!
Established in 1911, this shop existed even during the British rule and speaks volumes on horological excellence.
All about the time-hallowed NL Roy & Co
Rajeev Roy, representing the fourth generation of watchmakers in the family, carries forward this legacy with pride.
"Watch comes under luxury. There was a time when watches came in gold cases. People would spend a lot on one watch and the industry was very much balanced. In the 70s, the Indian government launched HMT (Hindustan machinery tools), then came Tata, Titan, Timex and so on. All these names flourished in front of our eyes.
This was followed by online businesses and webstores that were, undoubtedly, our biggest competitors. We still managed to hold our own during this time but it was the lockdown that made things beyond difficult," Roy articulately traced the timeline of this age-old shop.
Beyond the realms of horology, NL Roy & Co's contribution and constant support to the Subhash Chandra Bose-led Indian National Army (INA) during the struggle for independence is a testament to their unwavering commitment to the nation's cause.
A beacon of tradition and craftsmanship
After being presented with an incredible job opportunity in Amsterdam, Roy made the difficult decision of turning down the job in order to persevere and carry his family's rich legacy forward.
"I can open any business that could be more profitable than this but NL Roy & Co is like a family heirloom. I cannot possibly make a name of 112 years with any other business - it'll take another three generations to do that. And if I work for myself, I would be selfish. I'm lucky enough to get this opportunity and responsibility and I want to carry on the heritage shop."
An existing loyal customer-base still visits the shop, seeking not just impeccable timepieces but also a connection to a rich heritage. If you find yourself in the lanes of Ganj, do visit this beacon of tradition and craftsmanship to get acquainted with the vintage shop of Lucknow.
Location: 65, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Hazratganj