Casio G-SHOCK is 30 years old. Time flies. The ever popular line celebrated this anniversary with a limited edition Frogman watch and an awards ceremony/shindig at the London Film Museum. With the help of Dazed and Confused, new talent from the fields of Fashion, Music, Art & Sport were given a hearty slap on the back. Even better, the after-party welcomed Ghostface Killah, a man offering all kinds of life lessons and advice via his twitter feed, who could forget his wise words on dental hygiene not so long ago. Anyway, we took a minute to sit down with the legendary Kikuo Ibe, better known as ‘Mr Ibe,’ the engineer who kicked it all off. ’Project Team Tough’ formed in 1981 with Ibe’s dream to create a tough as nails watch, ‘a watch that doesn’t break even when dropped.’ 200 experimental prototypes later, it was a child’s bouncing ball that lead to the finish product. We’ll let the man himself fill you in on the rest, our Q&A featured after the jump.
SL-Can you tell us a little about your design background?
KI-My personal design background is in engineering, I studied this so I do not consider myself as a designer.
SL-How and when did you first get involved with Casio?
KI-I knew that Casio was a creative company and they were looking for engineers at the time. I felt that they were an open minded company and because of that they would give me the opportunity to create some really interesting products.
SL-Tell us a little about the original idea behind the first G-SHOCK watches?
KI-The main idea behind the creation was of course the toughness of the watch. One day after I had broken a watch my father had given as a gift, I saw a girl in the park playing with a ball and it gave me the idea to create a durable watch that would not break so easily. By using a hollow structure like a bouncy ball and the module suspended inside, this would create a cushion and prevent internal damage of the watch. That was the beginning point.
SL-What sets them apart from other hard-wearing watches?
KI-The main reason I think is because G-SHOCK incorporates technology as well as fashion. All the parts used to make up the watch are strong and durable in order to create the strongest of watches.
SL-What are G-SHOCK’S most important features and why do you think it has retained its popularity for so many years?
KI-Above everything is the fact that it’s hard-wearing. I think the watch meets all aspects of the consumers needs because it covers so many bases.
SL-Can you tell us a little about the current design process behind creating a new G-SHOCK watch?
KI-The watch needs to be shock resistant and able to withstand tough terrain, then Influence is taken from other everyday products and surroundings which could be anything, of course the first was that bouncing ball.
SL-What inspires you?
KI-My main inspiration is the audience and working out exactly what they need. I want to over achieve their expectations, to listen to the customers, take on the brief and then go above and beyond their requirements and create that wow factor.
SL-Do you have a favourite model?
KI-This would be the DW-5000C, the first shock resistant watch. After the 200 prototypes made, we finally created the unique concept of a watch that could be dropped from the top of a building and still not break. The original means a great deal to me.