Meet Gul Kakar: the lonely clock collector of Pakistan

Hundreds of antique clocks can be found in Gul Kakar's collection in Quetta, Pakistan
Hundreds of antique clocks can be found in Gul Kakar's collection in Quetta, Pakistan   -  Copyright  BANARAS KHAN/AFP or licensors
By Theo Farrant  & AFP

The tick-tock of hundreds of antique clocks fills a small hall in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta.

This room is a safe haven for 44-year-old Gul Kaka, who swears he will spend all the time he has left caring for them.

Delicate wristwatches, weighty pocket pieces and battered table models clutter every surface, while the pendulums of wall-mounted and standalone grandfather clocks sway as their deep bongs mark each new hour.

"I know their language. They tell me their problems, and I understand," he says.

'For as long as I am alive, I will take care of them'

AFP Photo
Kakar's passion for clock collecting started 18 years agoAFP Photo

Kakar's collection, some of which dates back to 1850, is housed inside the city's police headquarters compound.

The tight security may contribute to the lack of traffic, though Kakar admits he has found few other aficionados to admire his museum and there are hardly any visitors.

"People in Quetta don't show much interest," he confesses.

Kakar's obsession began decades ago, when two family clocks fell out of order and were sent for repairs.

"I started taking an interest... then I got the idea that I should get more clocks."

Soon he began collecting in earnest and his museum today is the result of more than 18 years of scouring the internet for antiques – even persuading friends overseas to buy secondhand pieces and ship them to him.

What will happen to the clocks eventually?

When asked for a rough estimate, Kakar says has lost count of how big his collection is - or how much he spends on it.

Though income from a family-run landholding means a "major portion" of his police salary ends up here, in this room.

He admits, however, that nobody in his family shares the passion, and that after his death, the collection may simply be sold.

He is ready to donate everything if an official or the private sector steps in to fund a museum in his name.

Check out the video above to see Kakar's spectacular collection of timepieces.