G-Shock Inventor Kikuo Ibe On G-Shock History, Japanese Culture, & Space Travel

G-Shock Inventor Kikuo Ibe On G-Shock History, Japanese Culture, & Space Travel

G-Shock Inventor Kikuo Ibe On G-Shock History, Japanese Culture, & Space Travel Feature Articles

Kikuo Ibe may not have a watch brand named after himself but he has to be one of the most well-known and respected influencers of the watch industry. We have covered an extremely wide range of Casio G-Shock watches here on aBlogtoWatch, and yet, in line with Japanese watchmaking culture, it is exceedingly rare that we are given proper insight or interesting droplets of information.

That, however, is exactly what has happened with this recently released official video titled "The Story Behind G-Shock." In it, Ibe-san explains why and how the G-Shock came to be and how he and his team could overcome the innumerable challenges that it meant to develop the world's first "watch so durable it wouldn't break even when dropped" in the early '80s – that was Mr. Ibe's mission statement after he dropped and broke a watch he received as a gift from his father.

G-Shock Inventor Kikuo Ibe On G-Shock History, Japanese Culture, & Space Travel Feature Articles

G-Shock Inventor Kikuo Ibe On G-Shock History, Japanese Culture, & Space Travel Feature Articles

After two years of painstaking trial and error, and at a time when he was nearly ready to give up, he came upon a child playing with a ball – and that, as he puts it, resulted in a dramatic shift towards the solution. Fast-forward to today, and innovation couldn't be further from stopping at Casio, as Ariel found out during his in-depth Casio manufacture visit here.

G-Shock Inventor Kikuo Ibe On G-Shock History, Japanese Culture, & Space Travel Feature Articles

As G-Shocks continue to merge durability and toughness with the latest technology, and as they become tougher and more focused on meeting the requirements of yet more specific use scenarios (firefighters, rescue workers, fighter pilots, different types of divers, and more), Ibe's advice to people – and, he adds, to himself – is to "never give up and overcome any hardships to reach their goals."

G-Shock Inventor Kikuo Ibe On G-Shock History, Japanese Culture, & Space Travel Feature Articles

On a personal note, my favorite bit of this candid interview was how he humbly avoided reflecting how the historical significance of G-Shock will play out and rather looked forward, imagining being in space with a friendly alien with both of them wearing G-Shocks. G-Shocks may not yet be going to space but they probably would fair well there too.

G-Shock Inventor Kikuo Ibe On G-Shock History, Japanese Culture, & Space Travel Feature Articles

A rare and more concrete thing to learn was Ibe's appreciation of how Japanese culture incorporates the notion of how there is strength hidden in being elegant. While that in itself makes total sense when said out loud, to project that onto a watch – and especially a G-Shock – is much more unusual. While G-Shocks push to continue to succeed with a young demographic has resulted in some decidedly bold and colorful pieces, you can still easily find some genuinely elegant G-Shocks out there.

G-Shock Inventor Kikuo Ibe On G-Shock History, Japanese Culture, & Space Travel Feature Articles

Ibe points out that "the duality of toughness and elegance has inspired the design of G-Shock" – and with that we have arrived at an important point: this Sunday we'll run Ariel's feature article where he tells us what it was like to hang out in Tokyo with G-Shock and Casio lead designer, Mr. Ryusuke Moriai, and to learn how various historical and modern elements of Japanese culture continue to define G-Shock design. Look forward to that on Sunday but, until then read up on G-Shock watches here if this little video has put you in the mood. gshock.com

  • SuperStrapper

    A legend in his own time.

    Is that a pun? If yes, intentional.

    • Raymond Wilkie

      You’r pardoned. 🙂

  • gshocker

    does anybody know which reference he is wearing? I like the rectangular white..

    • Phil leavell

      I believe limited edition vintage ladies White

    • SuperStrapper

      Ignore the haters.

      Looks like a 5600-a

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Looks like the Casio Watch G-shock 200m White
      Product Code 22-39060

    • David Bredan

      I’m pretty sure the correct reference is G-5600A-7.

  • Phil leavell

    I have no idea who or what sent me this site but I am thankful. Kikuo IBE story and Innovations to the watch world should humble the watch snobs. Over 50 years only afford the cheap knock-off watches and a few of the brand names like Casio citizen the ill thought watches. Not knowing at the time so many people thought something that was so wondrous to me working hard all my life sending my children University reaching retirement I can forward a little more and all I can say is kudos to the Japanese watchmakers it always delivered an excellent product at a reasonable price point don’t ever lose that Focus in the end it’s going to be the little guy that keeps these companies float . Spending his hard earned money. I personally love value for my money and have try to instill that to my kids. I found poverty no disgrace just a damned inconvenience

    • Sheez Gagoo

      I used to be a watch snob. I’m already humbled.

    • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

      Thank You.
      A very eloquent testimonial.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Gawd, i don’t know where to start here ! Lets start with a few very random statements
    ” We are all born with equal time ” …..eh ?
    ‘ If used wisely you can create quality ” …Erm……….no
    ” Elegant G-Shocks “…. ( Oxymoron )
    ‘ I try to use my time wisely “…..who doesn’t.
    He wants to meet an alien who lives on a planet with the exact sun moon time cycle. If a being managed to traverse space faster than light speed, i would hope they had something a bit more advanced on.
    2 years he spent thinking how can i make this durable ? Eureka ! wrap it in thick black plastic…….genius !
    This line of watches are about a subtle as a brick with all the finesse of a Sherman tank. They are in plain speak just awful looking. The pic below backs me up.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ab8ca6bea652288c75f9720de5b625c4640ae8b25e2f40dbf466192a393906e7.jpg

    • Sheez Gagoo

      You always used your time wisely? I once experimented with the worst fart spray in history of mankind and I had to leave my flat for a week. Decontamination took me another week. You can`t tell me that you never experienced a similar event.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Funny you should mention it , sometime ago i had a similar experience with a tropical fish tank and a length of hosepipe.

      • IG

        Is this spray available on the Net?

        • Sheez Gagoo

          Yes, it’s called Liquid Ass.

          • IG

            Thanks, looks promising, and there are multipack deals!

          • Sheez Gagoo

            You`re welcome. I`m always glad to help. Don`t underestimate it like I did. Warning: Can cause a night in a police station.

    • JimBob

      MUD RESIST

      • IG

        TOUGH MOVEMENT

    • BJ314

      Not sure why everything thinks the GShock’s durability was as simple as “thick plastic”. If it were “that” simple another brand would have superseded them by simplifying making a more attractive watch encased in “thick plastic”. As it is, GShock’s changed what we expect from tough watches and are far more advanced than a heavy application of polymer.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        That may be the case ( no pun intended ) but it’s still a really ugly watch to look at. that is of course just my opinion , Can’t deny 70 million sold. So did cabbage patch dolls

    • Phil leavell

      Yeah the watch looks pretty dorky backed up against a suit jacket. Put a guy in a bathing suit and a girl in a string bikini with that watch on his wrist hanging over her everyone would love it

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Not everyone.

    • Well said Raymond.

  • TrevorXM

    The devil himself.

  • Mark1884

    I like G-shocks and respect the work of Mr. Ibe. But, lets be clear……. we are talking about a plastic cased digital/analog watch.
    He talks about his place in history…… He made a cool watch, but did not cure cancer.
    Sure he did usher in a new era in durable inexpensive digital watches. These watches transformed into so many themes and variations. From my own all digital 1980’s work watch to the Hammertone model.
    Still….. they are plastic cased battery operated movements, not mechanical works of precision, art and design.
    I do not mean any disrespect towards the G-Shock line, but I want to keep them in perspective.
    They make a durable watch that has become fashionable and “cool” to wear.
    I do not think of myself as a watch snob………..well maybe sometimes.

    • SuperStrapper

      You don’t have to cure cancer to secure a spot in history. Considering that cancer has yet to be cured, it like you’re suggesting no one is et historic for anything.

      As polarising as G Shocks are, it can’t be denied that they remain among the top iconic watches ever released. 4 out of 5 cancer patients agree.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Iconic ? more like chronic

        • SuperStrapper

          Iconicism is largely unrelated to like/dislike, and is rarely too subjective.

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Don’t talk all munbo jumbo. Still doesn’t change my opinion. Moving on…………

          • SuperStrapper

            Enjoy your weekend,

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Easter weekend here ( holiday fri-mon ) lots of eggs given. Have a good one.

        • mtnsicl

          Only if you’re an idiot!!

      • Mark1884

        I am not suggesting that only the person who cures cancer has secured a place in history. The guy that invented the toothpick has also secured a spot in history. Yes, Ibe created a historic plastic watch. The plastic watch is still very popular and ever changing.
        So….. yes the G-Shock is the most historic plastic fashion/play/work watch. However, I would not want to wear the historic G-Shock to a black tie affair.

        Also, I hear that the historic G-Shock is now used to treat Cancer. Mr. Ibe himself has created the historic “G-Shock Cancer therapy watch”. Every Cancer watch purchase comes with a recording of Mr Ibe discussing your treatment with friendly aliens.
        P.S. Ironically, the aliens were seen wearing a Rolex.

        • SuperStrapper

          you wouldn’t wear a plastic watch to a black tie affair, and I wouldn’t wear a calatrava while chopping firewood.

          I guess that settles… nothing.

    • Emperius

      But cancer is curable already, just not from the big pharma industry to make it profitable…

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Oooooooh,………………..controversial.

        • mtnsicl

          Only if you’re an idiot!

      • BNABOD

        here goes one of the dumbest comment this site has ever produced. bravo.
        To help you out a bit, there is not just “cancer” but a plethora of them so there is no such thing as a one hit cure wonder (might want to read about solid vs liquid tumors, read about differences between MDS and Ovarian cancer). I seriously hope you educate yourself because we work our ass off every day (in my case in the field of Multiple Myeloma and Melanoma) and hearing crap like this just pisses me off because it is so moronic.

        • mtnsicl

          Bravo for you! Please keep up the good work!

    • BJ314

      I missed the part about how YOU created something that transformed an industry and is sold around the world. We’re waiting…

      • Mark1884

        I read you comment, but only heard blah, blah, blah, childish

  • Juan-Antonio Garcia

    Yeah, not much of a hardcore philosopher here, but he makes some very nice watches.
    For the next promotional video i suggest they hire a nice looking super model in a cool bikini wearing the white G-Shock, and she can talk all about aliens while playing beach volley ball.
    More WOW factor.

    • Sheez Gagoo

      I would maybe chose an other sport than beach volley ball for the bikini model, it`s not really a watch wearer sport. Hayek had to learn it the hard way.

      • Gokart Mozart

        Actually it is a perfect sport for the gshock.

        As gshocks are so big it will probably slide down on to her hand. Basically she will be playing volleyball with her gshock.

        The ball may not go where planned but it would be a real world test of the gshock.

  • Have loved and owned several g-shocks, particularly the GW-M5600 line, but let’s not get carried here. Elegant they are most certainly not. And half of them are barely even legible!

  • DanW94

    Aliens wearing G-shocks…lol, how can you not love the guy! He also looks like that Japanese soldier from Gilligan’s Island who thought it was still WWII….zany….

  • Word Merchant

    All his bluster and cod-philosophy and still Casio can’t better their AX-210.

    • BJ314

      Your comment translated: blah, blah, jealous, blah, blah, nerd, blah, blah, jealous.

      • Word Merchant

        Jealous of what exactly? I’m intrigued.

        • IG

          Sounds like there’s an alleged love triangle between BJ, Ibe-san and you.

          • Word Merchant

            Would certainly make for an exciting Easter.

  • An elegant G-Shock? I must have missed seeing that. And no, I still think a Mr G metal G-Shock is far from being an elegant watch.

    • Sheez Gagoo

      Citizen is worser. The worst are old quartz models (Omega, Seiko) with just three hands, a date but a perpetual calendar. Seemes simple but is from hell. All Casios are more or les the same for setting. Manuals can be downloaded. Not that bad. But pre-internet multifunctional watches are hell. And I have to say, in my watchmaker career I had one broken Casio! A button on a F91 didn`t work! They can be 25 years old but they still do what they have to. Amazing.

  • Mike Darwin Brown

    Watches and Cancer…..come on ya’ll!

  • Ulysses31

    The G-Shock is a triumph of practicality over beauty. It’s tough but then, it’s not that hard to make a piece of rubber absorb shock, and so no matter how much you dress it up, it’s just not that much of an achievement.

    Meanwhile, somewhere else in Japan, Hajime Asaoka built his first chronograph, and it’s rather nice.