Marking The Hours With Mr Kikuo Ibe, Father Of G-SHOCK

Marking The Hours With Kikuo Ibe, Father Of G-SHOCK On 40 Years Of The Brand, Industry Trends & More

19 Dec 2023 |
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In an industry where watches were treated as delicate jewellery, one man had a shockingly durable vision. Engineer Kikuo Ibe dreamed of creating the world's toughest watch - one that could withstand the roughest conditions and keep on ticking. After years of testing prototypes that repeatedly failed, in 1983 he finally unveiled his revolutionary creation: the first-ever G-SHOCK watch.

The First G-Shock

This timepiece could survive drops from 10 meters up, submersion in water, and even vibrations and centrifugal forces. It was unlike any watch the industry had seen. Today, we sit down with the tenacious innovator who shattered conventions to introduce the ultra-durable G-SHOCK, pioneering a new world standard for watches. The unrelenting Kikuo Ibe shares the electrifying story behind one of the 20th century's most resilient inventions and 40 years of the G-SHOCK brand.

G-Shock Watch

THM: What was the inspiration behind creating the first G-SHOCK watch?

Ibe: During my childhood years, my father gifted me a watch. Unfortunately, I dropped the watch and it broke into pieces. This incident caused him to think about making an unbreakable watch and this is how the first G-SHOCK watch was conceptualised.

G-Shock Protection Case

THM: The triple 10 concept was remarkably ambitious when G-SHOCK launched. As an engineer, what structural and component innovations were required to achieve these robustness benchmarks that other watches at the time could not match?

Ibe: Yes, it stands for 10-meter free-fall endurance, 10-year battery life, and 10-bar water resistance. Back when the watches were created, we did not have a testing mechanism. I would throw the watch on concrete to check its toughness at a distance of 10m. This is how the concept came about. Now, the water resistance has increased to 20 ATM.

G-Shock Watch Details

THM: Partnerships now span leading fashion labels, sports brands, music artists, etc. What is your vision for G-SHOCK collaborations? Is there any particular one that stands out to you as elevating the brand to new heights?

Ibe: Yes. G-SHOCK has done several collaborations and India must watch out for several more collaborations in the near future. My most favourite one was with the NIGO X Ibe collaboration which marked 35 years of the brand.

G-Shock Watches
THM: An AI-created Gold G-SHOCK recently auctioned at the Philipps auction fetching a whopping amount. As the pioneering creator of the G-SHOCK, what was your reaction to seeing one of your durable creations auctioned for a premium price point usually reserved for fine Swiss watches?

Ibe: It was a gold watch that was created for the auction. Philipps Watches approached us for this creation and the entire engineering and internal components of the watch were made new.

Gold G-Shock

THM: Does it surprise you that collectors are now bidding so competitively on unique G-SHOCKs?

Ibe: Due to the 18 kt gold watch, it became a highly luxurious product and created a buzz amongst collectors. G-SHOCK realized the need to collaborate with technology in today’s time and it was a great step in the realm of G-SHOCK.

Ibe believes India is a great market for their watches and this SHOCK THE WORLD tour in India will only amplify the brands' voice further.