If anybody thinks that Marc Newson’s first watch design was the Apple Watch they’re lacking one thing, as this prolific designer has been energetic within the watch world for greater than three a long time (see Talking With Marc Newson: Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Favorite ‘Clock Designer’ Styles New Atmos 568).
Granted, Newson’s physique of horological work won’t be as important as that of say Eric Giroud, however neither has it ever been the previous’s core focus.
Newson’s horological profession started in 1986 with the Massive POD Watch, a 60 mm behemoth designed to be worn over garments and displaying the time by way of disks marked with dots. A 12 months later, the Large POD Watch was joined by the Small POD Watch, and Newson even went on to create a wall clock in an analogous type.
The designer’s mark on the watch world grew to become extra distinguished when he joined entrepreneur Oliver Ike to kind a watch model known as Ikepod. As a result of Newson was, and nonetheless isn’t, actually a part of the watch scene, his designs weren’t certain by a predetermined mindset from the business.
Since Ikepod was a brand new model with out a historical past Newson may create his personal playground, and that’s precisely what he did. Ikepod’s watches had been completely unconventional and modern on the identical time.
Maybe the perfect watch with which to find these features with is the Ikepod Megapode.
Ikepod Megapode: giant is an understatement
The Megapode does justice to its identify as a result of it’s certainly mega!
That claims one thing as a result of it was launched in 1999 when the world was already getting used to bigger watches.
Nonetheless, with a diameter of 47 mm the Megapode was in a league of its personal. Luckily, this was carried out with function and never for sheer shock impact.
Regardless of making some attention-grabbing selections, Newson used the area to benefit: he positioned the elementary timekeeping features in the midst of the watch, but gave them brief fingers.
Visually, this made the wristwatch look smaller in addition to simpler to learn as there was not one operate dominating the face of the watch. This format additionally allowed Newson ample room to combine an under-glass slide rule bezel.
The Megapode is stuffed with seemingly small particulars combining to make a big affect like the form of the fingers and little hen etched into the crown. The hen is a hemipode, a hen of the suborder Turnices, which incorporates a number of forms of quails.
There may be additionally a small porthole window Newson designed on the again of the watch, permitting views of the stability wheel. This can be enjoyable, however pointless. Nonetheless, it adjustments an in any other case large case again into one thing a little bit bit extra attention-grabbing.
Excellent world traveler
If you’re questioning why the Megapode pictured is just not utterly blemish-free, the reason being that it’s my private journey watch.
Over time, a collection of watches have served me on my travels, and with each one in every of them I zoomed in ever nearer to what I think about the right journey watch. Sure, I may purchase a Casio G-Shock and name it a day, however I’m merely an excessive amount of a watch snob for that (and never afraid to confess it).
My largest subject was that each time I discovered a brand new journey watch that appeared to swimsuit my wants higher, there at all times appeared to be a tradeoff.
In a twist of irony, I by no means went in search of the Ikepod Megapode, but it surely discovered me when supplied by a classic watch supplier as a swap for the Rolex on my wrist.
Sacrilegious to many maybe, however to me it was probably the greatest offers that I ever made as I had discovered my excellent journey companion, and it’s so good that it even regularly graces my wrist when I’m not touring.
What makes this watch so excellent?
Because the resident gentleman of Quill & Pad, I largely write about modestly sized gown watches, that are my major ardour. A 47 mm watch doesn’t belong on my wrist, but the Megapode is by some means totally different.
Newson designed the case to be as clean as a pebble, and that makes that the watch sit on the wrist not like another watch I’ve each worn. The second you place it on it appears to shrink.
It by no means turns into small; it merely turns into comfy. The crowns and pushers are out of the way in which, however straightforward to function when required.
Whereas Ikepod additionally made the Megapode in metal, the titanium case may be very mild, growing sporting consolation.
The overwhelming majority of the Megapodes had been fitted with rubber straps, which have closures very like the one now obtainable on the Apple Watch. A really comfy selection, however the bracelet is a murals in itself by way of match, end, and design, making it essential.
Once more, for the present bracelet on the Apple Watch Newson took loads of inspiration from his earlier work.
Whereas Newson is just not your typical form-follows-function sort of designer, the Megapode is certainly very sensible with shows for chronograph, date, and second time zone, of which the final two could be set by the crown. So that you don’t must push little case correctors within the airplane to set the time or right the date when touring overseas.
The crown and pushers are additionally positioned on the left aspect of the case for further consolation.
The recessed crown on the suitable operates the slide rule, which is positioned beneath the domed sapphire crystal. As I don’t use this, the overwhelming majority of its features are misplaced on me. Nonetheless, I do discover it very helpful to for calculating foreign money alternate charges overseas.
What strikes you?
An Ikepod was by no means cheap, and in that mild the selection of motion is likely to be a bit crude because it runs on a strong, however uninspiring, modified ETA Valjoux 7750, but it is a motion that I’ve come to like through the years. After I was nonetheless in school and my ardour for watches was operating excessive, I wanted, after all, to have a mechanical chronograph in my assortment.
Whereas I’d dream of a motion like a Frédéric Piguet Caliber 1185 or a Zenith El Primero, these had been financially out of attain for me, so the 7750 grew to become my pal, primarily powering Tissots and Hamiltons.
What the 7750 lacks in refinement, it makes up for in reliability. The motion can take a beating, and when push involves shove it could simply be repaired at modest expense. Ikepod makes use of a modified model with a second time zone indicator that’s chronometer licensed by C.O.S.C. Not a necessity, but it surely does present that the 7750 is able to exact timekeeping when effectively calibrated.
For me, this mixture of qualities makes it a really appropriate selection for a journey watch.
Promoting and surviving
What’s attention-grabbing about Ikepod is that all the watches throughout its heyday had been restricted editions. This Megapode was a part of an version of 9,999 watches ̶ per dial colour. As Ikepod by no means had a really giant retailer community, and its costs nonetheless required a considerable funding for most individuals, I at all times questioned if the corporate bought that lots of them.
Whereas even pre-owned Ikepods are solely present in restricted provide, I do see a terrific number of serial numbers on them, together with some very excessive ones, indicating that they may have bought fairly decently.
That by itself is stunning, as commercially Ikepod has identified nice ups and downs over its many lives. The model was usually saved from the sting of chapter by yet one more proprietor keen to place cash and energy into resurrecting what was nonetheless a singular model.
Newson himself known as it quits in 2012, and whereas the model could seem presently dormant, behind the scenes there may be loads of work happening to relaunch it later this 12 months underneath a brand new proprietor.
I can solely hope that underneath its new stewards Ikepod will once more discover success because it stays a ravishing model with distinctive watches, filled with character with out neglecting performance.
For extra info, please go to www.ikepod.com.
Fast Info Ikepod Megapode
Case: 47 mm, monocoque titanium with titanium bracelet
Motion: automated Caliber ETA Valjoux 7750, four Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 40-hour energy reserve, C.O.S.C. chronometer certification
Features: hours, minutes, seconds; date, chronograph, second time zone, slide rule operate
Limitation: 9,999 items on this configuration
Authentic worth in 1999: 6,900 German marks (in Germany)
* This text was first printed on April 18, 2018 at Ikepod Megapode: Marc Newson’s Smartest Watch (And Perhaps My Smartest Rolex Trade).