100 Talk The Talk: Kikuo Ibe

The in­ven­tor of the Ca­sio G-shock talks about the iconic watch’s evo­lu­tion and its rel­e­vance to­day

World of Watches (Singapore) - - Contents - IN­TER­VIEW AND WORDS BY JAMIE TAN

The in­ven­tor of the Ca­sio G-shock talks about the iconic watch’s evo­lu­tion and its rel­e­vance to­day

“The key traits of a Ca­sio G-shock are also its great­est strengths – tough­ness and wa­ter re­sis­tance. This will never change. To achieve the shock re­sis­tance that the line is known for, the first G-shocks were cased in resin, which acts as a cush­ion. The first all-metal G-shock, the MR-G, couldn’t have this cush­ion­ing ma­te­rial, so we ap­proached the prob­lem from an­other an­gle and set­tled on shock-dam­p­en­ing bumpers, like a car’s. With the MT-G, we de­vised yet an­other struc­ture – in­ter­nal this time – which ab­sorbs any im­pact at spe­cific points in­stead. All G-shocks are shock­proof. The dif­fer­ence be­tween them lies in how this is achieved, and we have im­proved this over time by de­vel­op­ing bet­ter struc­tures in suc­ces­sive it­er­a­tions.

“The G-shock was first in­tro­duced in 1983, and turns 33 this year. The orig­i­nal au­di­ence that the watch was in­tended for has grown up, but we want them to re­main G-shock fans for their en­tire lives. This means of­fer­ing more so­phis­ti­cated prod­ucts, which is where the pre­mium line comes in. This range of time­pieces will con­tinue to evolve as their wear­ers move into sub­se­quent stages of their lives. For now, we are fo­cus­ing on ad­dress­ing the needs of busi­ness peo­ple with the Global Time Sync func­tion. “En­ter­ing the pre­mium mar­ket to tar­get a ma­tur­ing au­di­ence is good busi­ness for Ca­sio, but it’s also im­por­tant to ad­dress younger users. For this group, we will con­tinue to have most of the mod­els in resin, be­cause it is eas­ier to have colour vari­a­tions with it. We will also use dig­i­tal and hy­brid dis­plays, un­like the pre­mium line that uses ana­logue dis­plays ex­clu­sively. Of course, there are young peo­ple who feel that they don’t need watches be­cause they have smart­phones. I un­der­stand this. What we have to do is to de­velop time­pieces that aren’t just fun and con­ve­nient to wear, but also ca­pa­ble of re­plac­ing a smart­phone. You might wear a watch dur­ing a run, and choose not to carry your smart­phone with you, for ex­am­ple. What if the watch can also con­nect to your phone au­to­mat­i­cally af­ter the run to up­load the ses­sion’s data, then dis­en­gage to re­duce bat­tery us­age? This is just one ex­am­ple, but it shows how a watch can re­place a smart­phone in some sit­u­a­tions, con­nects to it only when needed, and fit into a per­son’s gen­eral life­style and make things more con­ve­nient. Things must go be­yond just telling the time. “In the past, a watch was some­thing frag­ile that had to be han­dled with care. That was a widely held be­lief, but I’ve bro­ken that no­tion with the G-shock. What’s next? I’m try­ing to defy com­mon sense again, but let’s keep things a se­cret first, un­til it’s ready.“

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