Swiss watch brand IKEPOD is back, but it has an all-new direction than it did nearly 25 years ago when it first launched in 1994. That new direction: Affordable watches. For those who most likely won’t remember, but have heard of and maybe even collected, Ikepod was a brand designed originally by Marc Newson in collaboration with Oliver Ike. The pod-like designs were an immediate hit and, despite prices in the thousands and tens of thousands, sold like hot cakes to a cult-like following. I not only remember the launch of the collection, but also I had an active role in its launch in the U.S. market. Back in those days, I was also writing press releases for brands, and Ikepod hired me to write all of the English press releases for its US debut in 2001. It was a wonderful time because the timepieces were so defiantly different than anything else on the market at the time. From Hemipode Tourbillons to Isopodes and even the square-shaped Manatee, the watches caught on and had a nice run for a number of years before the company went bankrupt, had several failed resurections and was subsequently sold in 2017. Now, as Ikepod relaunches via crowdfunding on Kickstarter, we’re getting a modified blast from the past.
The new Ikepod has new owners and there is no further involvement with Newson who left the brand in 2012. The three new owners (including watch veteran Christian-Louis Col) purchased the company in 2017 with the intention of creating a known name now in a value package. The new elliptical watches with patented original round pod shapes, house quartz movements (assembled in Hong Kong). Designed by Emmanuel Gueit, the new watches are a fresh expression of a vintage yet beloved line. There are two models, both quartz, with mechanical versions on the drawing board for 2019. They use the original Ikepod rubber watch straps that are still produced today.
The two Ikepod models include the Duopod 42mm stainless steel case with Myota movement and original UFO shaped logo that retails for $590, and the 44mm Chronopod chronograph with 30-minute and 60-second counters that retails for $725. Both feature the iconic Hemipode “2008” logo on the crown.
The big question, of course, is whether or not today’s consumers want a revamped watch from the 1990’s that was only popular for a few years. Especially given the fact that the watches are priced at under $1,000. Does this kill the mystique of the pod-shaped design, or simply make a cult-like watch more affordable for those who always wanted an Ikepod and never got one? It will be interesting to witness how the new Ikepod fairs.