There was nothing flash about the speaker at the podium, save for a large red paper heart that was pinned to his polka-dot dress-shirt. Known internationally to timepiece aficionados, vintage collectors, and lovers of haute horlogerie, Kikuo Ibe is the creator of the G-SHOCK digital watch and an industry trailblazer.
‘An Evening with G-SHOCK’ tour began the previous night in Toronto, with the 66-year old as the main draw for an evening that included a showcase of local DJ’s and Canadian musical talent.
Taking the stage in Vancouver, Ibe greeted a diverse crowd at The Venue on Granville Street, with a shy smile and a quirky 20-minute Powerpoint Presentation, which he narrated from a series of cue cards.
The appreciative audience laughed each time Ibe reinforced his story with his mantra “never give up!” A 3-word phrase to which he says owes his success and happiness. Animated and entertaining, Ibe completed his presentation with a slight bow and a wave.
Ibe told of his life’s devotion to creating for Japanese brand Casio. In 1983, he and his team began to doggedly develop a prototype of a smash-proof digital watch. It was an unfortunate accident a year previous that served as the impetus for the project. Distracted, Ibe crashed into another pedestrian, which resulted in his watch, a gift from his father to fall and break on the pavement.
As a mid-level engineer, Ibe was obsessed with designing a watch that would survive a 10-metre fall onto a solid floor and would keep working underwater. The resulting prototype was named ‘G-SHOCK,’ an abbreviation of ‘gravitational shock.’
Marketed initially as a timepiece for those in physical labour jobs such as construction, manufacturing, policing, and emergency services, the G-SHOCK watch has survived for decades in hundreds of incarnations and is beloved by many. Ibe fondly says that his creation “is accepted by fashionable people, clubbers, and young people.”
Ibe’s presentation was followed by a fan meet-and-greet, where he autographed a litany of items and posed for photographs in his signature crossed-arm stance showing off his white G-SHOCK watch.
In line with his quirkiness, Kikuo Ibe owns only three of the watches—white, red, and black—all versions of the original designs. Each only worn in its assigned season: red in the winter, black in the spring and fall, and white in the summer.
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Communications, publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, and multiple digital lifestyle blogs. She is a content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist in the luxury lifestyle niche. She is a regular content contributor to Retail-Insider and has a vast freelance portfolio including Boulevard English & Chinese editions, Indulge, and Montecristo Magazine. When not attending high-profile events in Vancouver's 'Luxury Zone’ or on assignment abroad, she is honing her plant-based cooking skills and caring for her rescues. firstname.lastname@example.org
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