Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Time With: Mr Ibe

When Mr Ibe created the G-Shock 30 years ago, we can only assume he had no idea how huge, and what a key part of popular culture, he had invented. Worn by everyone from Eminem to Kanye, Tinie Tempah (who shouted it out in 'Pass Out') to Justin Bieber, we caught up with Mr Ibe to find out some more about the past, and next, 30 years of G-Shock...

Great inventions usually come from personal experience. What inspired you to want to make the toughest watch of all time?
My father bought me a watch and I had it for quite a long time. But then it fell from my wrist, and it broke. So I wanted something that was rough and tough that couldn't be broken. I saw a girl in the park, bouncing a rubber ball, and it gave me the idea to create something that would not break easily. So that was my first inspiration.

The brand evolves all the time. What continues to inspire you in terms of design and technological innovation?
My motivation is trying to put new technology into a fashionable watch together, and at the same time try to over-achieve in terms of the audience's expectation. That is the motivation to create new technology, new toughness, new fashionable watches.

How do you feel about the global success of G-Shock; from Japan to the UK and beyond?
The first thing is that it's an honour, to have a product that is be understood from Japan to around the globe. I'm also happy and honoured to work with media who help me communicate and spread to the audience what I've done and what we're continuing to do.

What is the secret to G-Shock's 30 years of success?
My key concept is continuing new technology and new fashions. Merging them together is the key to continuing.

The ethos of G-Shock is "Never Give Up". When was the last time you faced the impossible and how did you overcome that?
The first and last toughest challenge was creating the G-Shock. I wanted to give up so many times, but I didn't. So the point of that is, if you don't give up, you can achieve something. So never give up.

Of all you've achieved with G-Shock, what are you most proud of?
30 years ago, the Casio watch wasn't for young people. Then you had the G-Shock which was very much fit for young people. So making the digital watches available for a wider audience was a challenge, and something I'm proud we have achieved.

Which is your personal favourite G-Shock?
The first one! The DW-5000C, the first shock-resistant watch. We did 200 prototypes before we created a watch that could withstand a drop from the top of a very tall building.

What have been some of the toughest challenges you've faced in your own life?
In Japan, there's a TV programme that put the G-Shock under a test. They used a steam-roller and that was tough - was the watch tough enough? Not even a steam-roller could break it. It's still working now (laughs).

What special detail would you like to add to the watch to make your life easier?
A translator (laughs). I'd like a watch that could take what you say with a mic and earphone, link it to my watch, and then translate the data for me. Sometimes I struggle to communicate with other people within G-Shock, so if I had that, I'd be able to communicate more widely with people all over the world.

What are your hopes for the next 30, 90 etc., years. How do you see the brand developing?
With many phones having clocks, like the iPhone, the Blackberry, other devices, some people no longer wear watches. I want to create something that can link a smartphone, with things like a translator, to the watch to make life easier and smoother with new features.

If anyone can do it, Mr. Ibe can!
Thank you very much

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