Review: HMT Sona

HMT Sona - not just a pretty face ...

The HMT Sona is made in India. The case is 23.5 kt gold plated, it has 17 jewels, and it beats at 18,000 bph / 5 bps.

You can pick the up used on eBay for £10 to £25. This one was sold as serviced, and there certainly was no oil and torque spared.

It’s a pretty watch, very thin, if you like golden mens’ watches.

To be honest, you can’t really go wrong paying that sort of money. They sell new for around $45.

I picked mine up used as I wanted to have a good look inside, anyway.

To take the watch apart, you have to take the bottom and the glass off. They snap off easily, and I wasn't the first one to do this 🙂

The hands come off easily enough - the hour hand sits very close to the dial

Bottom plate view

Top plate view. Oil everywhere

Bottom plate cleared

The transmission wheel screw came off easily enough, but the barrel screw was totally overtightened and snapped when I tried to take it off (both screws open clockwise). That is the end of this watch, as I'm not going to buy spares for a £ 13 watch ....

Balance wheel and balance cock

Most screws were totally overtight - I barely managed to remove them

Top plate cleared - you can see the 0231 - this a an 0231A movement

Close-up of my snapped barrel screw

Pallets - nice finish for that sort of money

Escapement wheel

Escapement wheel with focus on the pinion

Detail of the jewelling

Overall, impressive for that sort of money! Shame that the guy who “serviced” mine was a bit heavy-handed when it came to tightening screws and to oiling – yes, I’m looking at you, “sareemaster”!

Still, it would have done ok if I wouldn’t have taken it apart -until you wanted it serviced. Considering the price, I’d totally recommend this watch. You can also get it in silver with the same movment – called the HMT Janata.

And the story continues 3 months later

51 thoughts on “Review: HMT Sona

  1. Hello everyone I have a hmt sona watch of my late grand father … I want to know some thing about my watch that in which year this was manufacture and what does 015 – 10 no stands for it was embroidered on the back of watch all details are below which are at the back of watch please let me k know if any one finds

    GP, hmt, WFT, Stainless steel, BACK, 2092764, 015-10

    These are the details at back of my watch .

  2. How do I adjust the hands on my Sona. The winder will neither pull out nor push in. I paid £18 for this information last night but I think I have been Scamed./


  3. I just got my HMT Sona today from this eBay guy in India.
    Great for $9.50 shipped.
    If runs a couple minutes fast daily.
    Once I set the + / – it should be OK
    Very thin 17 jewel winding vintage watch for next to nothing.
    I’m in the USA. It took 40 days to arrive but with the turmoil in India I’m happy it came at all.

  4. What colour dials do the hmt SONA come in? I’ve seen a pink/orange/purple dial that I’m interested in, but expert advice on ‘ebay’ suggests that bright coloured dials are not hmt factory made?!

  5. I just recieved my third HMT. I’ve noticed this third one has a very very tight crown (for the winding mechanism). I can’t seem to figure out what exactly is causing this, do you have any idea?

    Thank you 🙂

  6. Watch Guy,
    Very informative, thank you.
    Yet, I have problem trying to remove the stem to my ruxton railroad.
    The little screw that has (in other watches I’ve worked on) truns and 4I can’t seem to apply enough force to collapse the screw without stripping the slot in it’s head…any thoughts? For once the stem can be removed I can attack the stem (winding or not winding) gears if there, at all, or what condition my condition is in.

    • We avoid pocket watches here as much as we can 😉 The setting lever screw should move, though… On some pocket watches, the movement slides out with the winding stem still in place, but that’s not necessarily the case with yours. Never done a Ruxton Railroad, so I’m afraid I can’t help you there.

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  9. Hello,

    I just got one myself, I was wondering how you managed to open it…

    There is a indent between the top and bottom part of the watch, do you jam something like the cornet of a credit card in there and the 2 pieces will unsnap?


  10. Hi Christian,

    I saw somewhere, I’m trying to find the site again, that the HMT watches with engraved details on the back are not authentic but instead some sort of clone with the authentic ones having the details sort of embossed into the metal? Could you comment on that?



      • Maybe other factories in India wanting to capitalise on HMT’s home-grown success…?

        Although… google images seems to suggest there are a fair number of case-backs that are both pressed AND engraved – not sure what that does to the theory 😉

      • Hi,
        This eBay guy located in India sells all his watches as replacement cases- backs – straps and crystals. Movements are original and recently serviced.
        This is his eBay name.
        The $ is so tight in India he paid $4.50 to ship my $9.50 purchase.

  11. Just wanted to say that we are lucky to have someone like you, that is willing to share his knowledge. Thanks

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  13. Hi. My HMT sona runs a little fast. How do I open the back of the watch in order to adjust the watch ? Is the sona a screw-on back , or snap-on back ? Thanks for help.

  14. Hello, is it difficult to remove a dial from the movement, once I remove the watch hands (with tweezers I guess)? I mean is the golden dial connected with glue or screws onto the movement? I ask because I have a spare clean JANATA movement (HMT caliber 020) that I’d like to fit into my SONA (whose movement got dirty – stops and starts randomly) and I don’t want to damage the dial. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Jasmin,

      You don’t remove the hands with tweezers, but with levers. Don’t forget to protect the dial with some paper or plastic foil, so you won’t scratch it. The dial itself is held to the movement by two screws, that hold the dial feet. You unscrew those, and the dial comes off. A good watch to practice on!

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  16. On the pic with caption ‘The transmission wheel screw came off easily enough, but the barrel screw was totally overtightened’ you show back side of watch. Please explain me how to adjust the + / – settings (what part do I move, in which direction and by what ammount) so that my SONA stops running too fast. Over every 24 hours it acumulates some 3 minutes too many so I have to set it correctly in the morning before hand-winding it. I heard that I should not be moving the watch hands backword because it damages the watch movement, so every morning I move its hands forward for 12 hours minus 3 minutes. Watch repair shop is miles away. Sorry for my bad English.

    • You have to move the regulator – that is the part that pinches the hairspring. Away from the end of the hairspring makes the watch faster, towards it slower.
      You can turn your watch back to adjust it.

      • Thank you very much sir Christian! You are absolutely correct, I got confused because my regulater lever points in wrong direction (not stands in area between + and – but looking like is rotated extra 180 degrees). So, your solution works, I only moved regulator little bit, now Sona runs 20 seconds a day (each 24 hours) too fast, that is perfectly fine, I’ll adjust it once a week at most, maybe even just every second week. Glad to see your Sona is back and working. 🙂

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