In 1997 there was an uproar in watch market that extended into the fashion and design world. Ikepod had a new approach to watch design. The cases are circular with rounded edges and instead of the usual lugs, the strap is inserted into the Pod. The very limited editions of the unique artisanal watch designs became an instant legend. Unfortunately, economic challenges and quality issues forced the celebrated newcomer to fold. Since then, Ikepod fans had to scour the niche collector’s markets for the rare watches.
Now, the vintage watch from the future is back with two passionate French men who have set out to revive the brand that has inspired many with its creativity and disruptiveness. They retained the original design and removed the details that had caused some to doubt the practicality of the watch. Quality issues have been eliminated with the simplified mechanics and composition and the focus of the new line is affordability and reliability.
Emmanuel Gueit, a Swiss design superstar, developed the new Ikepod dials. The new cases, which of course retain their Pod design with the unique rounded edges and inset bands can now be opened on the bottom for serviceability. The use of this feature will likely be minimal as the quartz movement from Miyota is known for its quality.
Before launching the new line, the savvy businessmen tested their product on Kickstarter in 2018 and was met with big success. More than 700 buyers were quick to pre-order the new, more reliable and more affordable version of the iconic design. The new Ikepod offered two models:
This two-hand model is a direct descendant of the essential original Ikepod Horizon collection. It now comes in 42mm keeping in line with our times. Same as its big brother the Chronopod, this minimalistic model is powered by a famously reliable Miyota quartz movement. A smart decision of the design team was to forego the second hand to increase the appeal to lovers of mechanic timepieces. The case measures 42mm across but it wears like a smaller watch because there are no lugs and no edges. The rubber strap further enhances the wearing comfort.
The excitement about Ikepod watches is in the detail. The dials come in options from semi-glossy white to brushed metal to black bubbles. All have that extra something that sets them apart, all without being flashy or attention-seeking. The Duopod is a watch for all occasions at a great price point £595.
The Duopod's big brother is a chronograph with a 24-hour dial. Straight from the Hemipode line, the watch retains its original 44mm size, but it feels more like 42 mm on the wrist because of its high comfort rating.
The dial has the typical Ikepod minimalistic optics that manage to arrange the various functional displays with plenty of space for easy readability: a seconds register at six o'clock, the 30-minute totalizer at nine o'clock, and a 24-hour dial at three o'clock.
The best thing is its price point. The unique look and improved quality is now affordable at £725.
Both Duopod and Chronopod dials were designed by Emmanuel Gueit – the famed Swiss designer behind the Royal Oak Offshore and the redesigning of the Rolex Cellini. Versatile and collaborative, he puts his acute sense of design and watchmaking expertise at the disposal of the best of brands and Ikepod is proud of the result of its new Gueit dials.
These crowdfunded campaigns raised CHF 500,000, which enabled the 'start-up' to further develop.
The Launch of the Megapod
In 2020 Alexandre Peraldi designs for Ikepod. After Emmanuel Gueit's pod-like capsule concept for the Duopod and Chronpod, Alexandre Peraldi has designed the dials for the MEGAPOD.
Alexandre spent most of his career in the Richemont group. He has faithfully captured the essence of the first Megapods and has revived the new Megapods with a unique attention to detail.
Recognising that the historical IKEPODs were fantastic but expensive, Ikepod continues to make its creations affordable.
The latest models are a clever reinterpretation of the original 1997 Megapods and have returned with their pure forms and lean design; less is more.
The brand prides themselves on providing excellent value for money, the new Megapods are proudly produced in HK and retail at £1,150 – because style is not a question of price.
Ikepod released some great artistic collaboration in the past with Jeff KOONS and KAWS circa 2011. The Kaws even broke the bank during a Phillips cross-category auction sale in HK last year rocketing at CHF 37 000. The IKEPOD team love art and design so 10 years after the first collabs, it’s time for another.
IKEPOD X TOM CHRISTOPHER
Who else could produce artwork for the automatic Megapod but Tom Christopher? Tom Christopher is more than a painter. His work his about street anthropology and urban geometry.
From the first glance, you can really feel the NY vibe and from a second, a broader human experience. Christopher’s joy and optimism transcend his work. Just like names are given to streets, titles are given to describe moments. Moments of life suspended in time and signposted in colour, black and white.
The paintings call us to contemplate the characters and their destinies. The light has something magical about it. Christopher invites us to see the city trough his own eyes: strong lights, strong colours and each detail assembled to create a comprehensive whole. Like all the best components of a watch, put together to create something special. The idea behind this collab is to promote a painter who is still affordable, even if already in public and private collections. And Ikepod didn’t want to ask for a reproduced part of an artwork but something specifically designed for the watch dial.
The initial 50 pieces have sold out. 200 in total will be made of. The IKEPOD X TOM CHRISTOPHER watch is the 46mm Megapod (feels like 43 on the wrist, no lugs). Miyota 9039 Movement. 5 ATM, 42 hours power reserve, sapphire glasses and see-through open back, signed by the artist on the back. It retails at £1275.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR IKEPOD?
Exciting launches are planned for 2021… Watch this space.
For more information, see thedevoygroup.com