Ikepod, created by Marc Newson in the 1990s, had its share of former glory and a solid fan base, and it has all the chances for greatness under new management. Christian-Louis Col, a French entrepreneur with a wealth of experience and an incredible passion for Ikepod, restored customers’ trust and attention when he introduced a new business concept for the brand in 2018. We welcome his desire to produce quality watches with recognisable and timeless designs at more reasonable prices, such as the new Ikepod Seapod Bronze collection.
The Ikepod Seapod collection was introduced in 2021, and it was one of the most ambitious and successful attempts of the new Ikepod, with the DNA of the brand manifested in full. In the 1990s, Ikepod released a diving model, the Seaslug. In nature, sea slug, a mollusc or invertebrate (gastroPOD!), exists in bizarre forms. The Ikepod Seaslug watch, as well as the object of Newson’s adoration, also turned out to be very odd and unusual for diving watches – imagine, the diameter of some models was only 37-39 mm, but they left quite a mark.
The Ikepod Seapod is a fashionable interpretation of the traditional diver watch design offered by Fabrice Gonet. Gonet made a name for himself as a designer creating watches of often mind-boggling costs, ranging from super-complicated tourbillons to futuristic “wearable devices” for telling the time (Louis Moinet Astronef, Bianchet Tourbillon, DeBethune DB28GS, Rebellion watches, MCT, Slyde, MB&F). His goal when working on the Ikepod Seapod was to create a modern and inexpensive diving watch, which was challenging.
The Ikepod launched the Seapod collection last year with great success. The Seapods significantly expanded the tribe of enthusiasts who like Ikepod thanks to the attractive design and the incredible power of appeal found in its shapes. Fabrice Gonet, of course, was “inspired” by Newson’s “molluscs” and followed the desire of the new Ikepod to gain a foothold in our minds as a brand, which makes watches in streamlined, like alien ships, or like coastal pebbles, smooth convex cases, he grasped correctly.
The first Ikepod Seapod references came in stainless steel cases measuring 46mm in diameter and about 17mm high. Dimensions for the new limited edition Seapods are the same as for the stainless steel versions. The recent smaller-watches-trend is ignored at Ikepod… But the Ikepod case does not have lugs for the strap, and the strap (or bracelet) is attached directly to the body, so the watches don’t seem quite as massive as their description suggests (see it worn below on Brice’s 16.5cm wrist…)
The three new limited edition Seapod models come in bronze, with green, grey or dark blue dials and on matching silicone straps, and with a GMT function – which is new to this collection but also pays tribute to the Seaslug watches. The bronze Seapods feature a seamlessly integrated unidirectional rotating bronze bezel with minute markers common to all versions, a screw-down crown, water resistance up to 200m, and a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating. There is luminescent material on the hour and minute hands, the triangle tip of the GMT hand, indices on the dial and the zero mark of the bezel.
The Seapod, like a Seaslug, has a “porthole” on the caseback, through which you can see the movement. The rotating bezel blends perfectly with the rest of the case, serving the shape design in the best possible way. The dial markers and the hands are reminiscent of those of the progenitor, the Seaslug, and the crown – but these are not exact copies, of course, but an excellent interpretation.
To keep the retail price of Seapod Bronze at a reasonable level, Ikepod chose to offer these limited edition watches equipped with the Japanese Miyota 9075 with a “true GMT” function. (The main hour hand is independent and allows easy setting of the current time while changing time zones). The Miyota 9075 is part of the 9100 series of calibres that the company offers in a “premium automatic” category. It is a self-winding GMT calibre with 24 jewels; it has a power reserve of 42 hours, operates at 28,800 vibrations/hour and is, in fact, exclusive to Ikepod and very few other selected brands.
Bronze is a popular material across watch brands because the marketers convince us that each bronze case gets a unique patina, so your watch is unique by association. The bronze case will get a deep patina due to environmental contact. The kind of alloy used in the Seapod Bronze line is the so-called unstabilised, so expect some rapid and severe oxidation. Reinforce your feeling of exclusivity by knowing that Ikepod will produce only 50 watches in each colour combination.
Ikepod customers can be roughly divided into two categories – the first unconditionally like the design. The second group is looking for “something special” in the watch to capture the senses and the mind. The Ikepod Seapod Bronze mini-collection will most likely satisfy both.
The price for all three new Seapod Bronze references is EUR 2,600 – a bit high but explained by the new function, the limitation and the material. Each edition is limited to 50 pieces, already available (green named Yves after Yves le Prieur, blue named Sylvia after Sylvia Earle, and grey named Archi for Archimedes). For information, please visit www.ikepod.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.