Kikuo Ibe, inventor of the G-Shock watch, has a drive to innovate and push boundaries that is intoxicating. Despite his small frame and faint voice, the words he speaks, although few, radiate enthusiasm. “I knew (the watch) would make such a big impact on the market,” he says softly. During a presentation he recently gave at G-Shock’s Soho store, Ibe projected an image of himself as a superhero onto a screen. He calls himself the “Super G-man.” His alter ego inspires everyone in the room to “never give up!” His drive keeps him going, motivating him to push limits, to test and retest and to turn fantasy into a reality.
What’s Ibe’s latest challenge? A pure Gold G-Shock watch. “This is a concept model that we have to try,” he explains. Ibe has decided to turn the most malleable of all metals into a shock absorbing watch. His goal is to make G-Shock “the strongest brand in the U.S,” and he will not back down from difficulties.
I recently met the engineer and discussed everything from what it inspires him to his favorite superhero.
The aesthetic of your product is vibrant and edgy. What inspires you to keep in touch with all the latest trends?
I tend to be interested in everything, not only music or art… everything.
How would you define your work?
Happiness. My work is defined by everything little thing that make me happy.
Which watch is your favorite model?
The first model.
Your work has a fluid understanding of gender, how come?
Our members and I are trying to challenge new technology with new materials, new designs, everything. As a result, we produce so many products… and unbreakable is everything to us, even breaking gender-boundaries. For G-Shock it’s almost common sense, technology is the priority.
What do you strive to accomplish next?
Recently we have developed a GPS watch where you can receive any signal anywhere. Everybody could be a space-traveller in the near future.
Who is your favorite super-hero?
Leonardo da Vinci.
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