Having been resurrected three years ago, Ikepod is returning to collaborations with contemporary artists, this time for Megapod designed together with Tom Christopher, best known for his paintings of New York City streetscapes.
Based the automatic model launched last year, the Ikepod X Tom Christopher Megapod is a 200-piece edition sold exclusively online, reflecting the reborn Ikepod’s focus on affordable watches sold direct to the consumer.
The Tom Christopher Megapod is the brand’s first artist collaboration since the Jeff Koons and KAWS watches created by an earlier iteration of the company. To recap, the brand was originally founded by Swiss businessman Oliver Ike and industrial designer Marc Newson in 1994, but failed to achieve commercial success despite its distinctive designs, in part due to high retail prices that resulted from its small production and high-quality components.
It closed its doors in 2006, before being revived by art collector and dealer Adam Lindemann, whose influence helped gets Mr Koons and KAWS on board. But the brand continued to focus on pricey watches, and went bust once again in 2012. Now owned by a pair of Swiss entrepreneurs, the latest iteration of Ikepod is very much sticking with entry-level watches.
Having been the brainchild of Mr Newson, and then backed by Mr Lindemann, Ikepod’s idiosyncratic timepieces were long popular with certain well-heeled fans of contemporary art. Kanye West, for instance, sported an Ikepod on the cover of GQ.
With that, along with Ikepod’s current focus on affordable watches, in mind, the Tom Christopher collaboration makes perfect sense. Mr Christopher’s colourful, expressionist style creates a striking dial motif, while not adding significantly to the price of the watch since his works range in price from several thousand to the low five figures.
As a result, the watch is compelling also because of its price. In contrast to the earlier iterations of Ikepod – both of which went bust – today’s Ikepod offers watches priced mostly under US$2,000. Though it’s largely made in China, the Megapod retains the design of the original-generation watches, which is the focal point of the brand in the first place.
The Tom Christopher Megapod costs a reasonable US$1,700, putting it within reach of most enthusiasts. It’s unusual in its price range, being one of the few artist-collaboration watches in the entry level price segment.
The dial of the new Megapod features Skaters in the Sky, a painting Mr Christopher created specifically for the collaboration.
Rendered in lively colours, Skaters in the Sky depicts quintessential elements of New York City – skaters, birds, and skyscrapers – all representing the constant motion of the Big Apple.
Style wise, the Tom Christopher Megapod preserves the “UFO” case originally designed by Marc Newson, which has no lugs and a circular, satin-brushed finish.
Although the watch has a diameter of 46 mm, it wears smaller due to its lug-less design, thus making it suitable even for smaller wrists.
Though the Megapod very much echoes the look of the original, its construction has simplified. Now the case has a conventional screw-down case back, instead of the one-piece monocoque case of the original, which required lifting a tightly-fitted bezel to remove the movement.
Visible through the screw-down back is the Miyota 9039 produced by the movement maker owned by Citizen. Though a low-cost calibre, it is a top-of-the-line offering from Miyota, explaining the 4 Hz balance frequency, 42-hour power reserve, and hacking seconds. It’s even decorated in a basic form, with Geneva striping on the bridges and the Ikepod logo on the rotor.
Key facts and price
Ikepod X Tom Christopher Megapod “Skaters in the Sky”
Diameter: 46 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 50 m
Movement: Miyota 9039
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours
Limited Edition: 200 pieces
Availability: Now on Ikepod’s web-store
Price: US$1,700; or CHF1,500
For more, visit Ikepod.com.
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