OceanicTime Archives

2021-09-14

Ikepod SEAPOD [UFO WATCH]

Here’s a blast from the past, the Ikepod brand is back! 

I must admit I had not noticed the brand’s comings and goings over the decades; mainly because they were only ever known for the one diver’s model, the Seaslug from 1994 (image very bottom courtesy of Antiquorum).

This was a couple of years before I even got into watches, but for some reason I do recall it (the Seaslug that is); perhaps I came across it on my many Google explorations. 

Anyway, skip forward some 27 years and we’re all a **** of lot older and Ikepod is making its second foray into the diver’s watch segment, but have they done any better or worse?

Designed by Fabrice Gonet, the new Seapod adopts the lesser-known flying saucer shape from the 1960s and 70s. Actually; Aquastar, Jenny, Memosail, Philip Watch (Jenny), Richard (Jean Richard), Seiko, Tissot all had models with funky UFO-shaped cases. 

There was an even earlier watch – perhaps the first ever flying saucer-shaped wristwatch, a 1950s Rolex, the ref. 9083, nicked the ‘UFO’ – although it wasn’t a sports / dive watch like those mentioned above.

So there was once a tradition of adopting such an odd shape for a dive watch, an odd shape that would in fact resist pressure a whole lot better than any watch with flat case sides, btw, but that’s another story. 

The new Seapod’s saucer-shaped case has been made from Stainless and measures 46mm in diameter with a water-resistance of 200 meters. 

Diver’s features include: a screw-down crown and case-back, a diver’s bezel with elapsed time scale and a sapphire glass.

There are three Seapod variants each of them has their own distinct look: the S001 Zale has a brushed steel case with a matte black dial and contrasting orange hands and indexes, 

the S002 Jacques is also in brushed steel with a black dial but has vivid blue hands, markers and matching rubber strap, the S003 François has a black PVD case, white hands and markers.

There are no prices for guessing that the ‘Jacques’ model is named after the French naval officer, explorer and underwater filmmaker who co-developed the Aqua-Lung, pioneered marine conservation and was a member of the Académie Française – 

Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the man the legend may he rest in peace.

So, how about the ‘Zale’ variant? I couldn’t find anything on the Ikepod website, but assume it’s a tribute to Zale Parry who is known for her films, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964), Sea Hunt (1958) and Underwater Warrior (1958). 

In the 1950s when recreational diving was first emerging she was a pioneer as well as the beautiful face of the sport. She is alive and well aged 88.

The muse for the François version was a bit of a head scratcher. I first thought it was François Dorado, another underwater photographer from the golden age of scuba diving and a member of Cousteau's team for many years. 

But then I saw this on the François product page “Forever in the world of silence for François de R, a Seapod in his name like a tribute.” 

This led me to François de Roubaix, a French film score composer who tragically died in a diving accident in 1975. This version honors his memory.

Meanwhile, I'm not sure how they arrived at this conclusion but someone from Highsnobity pegged the former Canadian Olympic high diver, François Imbeau-Dulac as the ‘François’ that the black PVD Seapod was named after. C’mon, dude! 

I digress, I have another quote from the Ikepod website taken from the top of their homepage which says;” We are a Swiss design brand.” 

This is perhaps a reminder that while Ikepod boast Swiss designs, it doesn’t mean that they actually make ‘Swiss made’ watches?

So it is no surprise that the new Seapods are Japanese powered via Miyota 9039 automatic movements. 

The 9039 caliber is hacking and was purpose built as a ‘no date’ movement so not stripped of this function; it never had it in the first place. 

The 24 jewels caliber has a beat-rate of 28.800vph (4Hz frequency) as well as a power-reserve of 42hrs and a sweep seconds hand.

All three versions have domed sandwich construction dials with 3D applied dots (blue/orange/white) – luminous back-plate – minute flange – hour and minute hand with luminous insert – non-luminous seconds hand – and Ikepod Seapod printed on them. 

On the reverse of the Seapod is a mineral exhibition case-back so that you can view the 9039 with its IKEPOD custom rotor.

The watches come on silicone divers’ straps but there is an 290 CHF optional Stainless steel link bracket. 

MSRP is 1,450.00 CHF (blue or orange) or 1,550 CHF (black PVD). Deliveries will be made after September 20th.

Thoughts? I like these flying-saucer shaped watches but I am patiently waiting for Aquastar to re-release theirs, please. 

I also appreciate the subtle references to those great names from the past although by today’s standards these watches aren’t even ISO-certified so I’m not if J-YC (if he were alive today) would even consider a new Seapod for diving.

I mean that bezel could do with a bit of grip on it and that seconds hand needs some lume on it, too. Imo I think the Seaslug looked better plus it had grip on its bezel. 

And now for the big fat elephant in the room – the pricing on these is bordering on daylight robbery; I mean 1’450 Swiss francs for a Japanese movement and mineral back seems a bit askew to me, no? 

But what do you think? Let me know in the comments.

8 comments:

  1. Definitely a fun watch. I don't mind the price tag as we are always paying for more than the sum of it's parts. I bet these will be a steal on the secondary market.

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  2. The orginal Seaslug is one of the coolest dive watch ever made. This one is far from that!

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