Odhavji Raghavji Patel, seen as the father of India’s wall clock industry, passed away at Morbi in Rajkot district of Gujarat on Thursday.

He was 88. His last rites were performed on Friday morning.

He is survived by four sons.

His company’s brands in affordable products—Ajanta and Orpat, the latter after the founder’s initials, O.R. Patel, and Oreva, after Odhavji and his wife Revaben’s initials—revolutionised the wall clock industry in the country.

Patel, a science teacher at a school for 20 years, turned entrepreneur at the age of 45 with Rs 1 lakh in 1971. He launched a partnership firm, Ajanta Transistor Clock Manufacturing Company, giving birth to the famous brand, Ajanta Quartz.

However, he continued to love teaching and was associated with many educational, social and cultural organisations. He also worked ceaselessly in water-harvesting in the parched Saurashtra region.

In the next four decades, Ajanta became the world’s biggest wall clock manufacturer and, along with the tiles manufacturing clusters, put the town’s name, Morbi, on global industrial map.

Patel revolutionised the Indian wall clock industry with the introduction of quartz technology in 1988 and digital quartz in 2005, imported from Japan and Taiwan.

Of the 10,000-odd workforce at Ajanta Group, about 80 per cent are women as the founder believed that their focus and tenderness provided precision to the making of clock. More than 100 buses now ply between the Ajanta factories and some 190 villages to ferry these women, mostly under 25 years of age.

With a turnover of nearly Rs 800 crore, the Ajanta Group now manufactures home and electrical appliances, calculators and ceramic products, besides the Oreva brand snacks, at their plants in Morbi and Kutch. The Group manufactures around 150 models of clocks and timepieces, educational toys, electric lamps and e-bikes.