Ikepod Hemipode [2/18/98]

Archives September 24, 2002 admin

Repost of Mini-Review

Ikepod Hemipode

Posted by Hans Zbinden on February 18, 1998 at 20:18:04:

In Reply to: IKEPOD, any opinions? posted by D.A. on February 18,1998 at 5:20:59:


I have both the Ikepod Seaslug and the Hemipode chronograph, I posted a short review of the Hemipode on these pages last year, see below



…I have to say, Ikepod watches are an acquired taste, you either love them or loath them. I’m usually attracted to more classic looking pieces and before the Ikepods hit the market, I never really considered buying a ‘designer’ watch.

The brand’s pretty much responsible for my momentary dismal financial situation. I bought a Seaslug in February and two weeks ago, succumbed to the sticky lures of a Hemipod chronograph. Zurich’s only “Slugdealer” had # 0004/9999 on stock and called me ‘just to take a look’. One glance into to the window still 10 ft away from the shop was all it took to know I was in trouble again.

First unique thing about the Hemipode is definitely its case. It’s shaped more or less like an M & M (or like a Smartie for us Euros). It’s aso-called monocoque construction, that means it doesn’t have a separate back but a hardly visible bezel that can be unscrewed with a special tool, so access to the movement is from the top. Also, the case doesn’t really have lugs, the neoprene band sort of flows into the case where it’s attached by invisible screws. Another very nice detail is the small sapphire porthole on the back which lets you only see the balance and its surrounding parts. Bridges and plates are nicely pearled, even though you only see a tiny part of them. The usual back markings with the serial number, water-proofness (50 m) and other details are all engraved around the porthole.

Movement is a Valjoux 7750 with some additional mechanics I can’t recall having seen before. It has a second 24h timezone at 6 o’clock where you’d normally find the chrono 12-hour counter on this calibre. The timezone can be set in half-hour steps (great if you live in Iran) with the push-button at 7 o’clock. The watch comes with the large COSC certificate and has been running ahead about 4 seconds per day. Interesting is that the COSC paper is dated March 1997, apparently they were really struggling to get the watches finished for the Basel Fair in April.

A lot of thought also went into the band, mainly to the part which serves as the clasp. The way the rubber is shaped on this part is highly original and makes the watch even more fun to have, sorry for the lame description, it has to be seen.

I saw pictures of the first prototypes more than a half a year ago and it’s quite interesting to see what was changed in the final version. First of all, the button at 7 was added in favor of the original pusher that had to be set with something pointy. Apart from black, Ikepod bands are also available in orange and lime-green. Both these colors now appear on the watch, thankfully more discreetly than when you have the whole strap in one of these colors. The chrono sweep-second hand and the tips of the chrono-buttons are orange, the tritium on the hour and minute hand are held in this very special green shade. Finally, the POD logo (some sort of snail, or should I say, ‘slug’) made it to the tip of the crown.

The Hemipode is available with a black dial and white helper dials or with a white dial with black ones. Both look equally good but I chose the white one, mainly because I already have so many black-faced watches but also because of the low serial number. (Incidentally, both black and white models are numbered from 1-9999).

I’ve been wearing it most of the time since I got it and it’s passed the two-week novelty test with flying colors, that means I’m not bored with it and I don’t regret buying it, something that has happened from time to time with other purchases. While I doubt the Hemipode will ever become my all-time favorite piece I regard it as a really fun ‘summer-time’ watch, sort of like a Swatch especially made for WIS maniacs…

The designer of the Hemipode and co-owner of Ikepod is called Marc Newson, he’s made an name for himself with radically styled furniture. You can see more of his work at http://www.marc-newson.com/