“We realised that the Swiss watch industry was paralysed when it came to smartwatches,” Sequent SuperCharger designer Adrian Buchmann tells monochrome-watches.com. “One of the main issues with smartwatches is their battery life. People buy smartwatches, they like the idea, but they get tired of charging them continuously.” And that’s where product developers go wrong . . .
They create a new product to fix a problem with an existing product – without focusing on why someone bought the existing product in the first place.
Dyson’s clever one-click bin-emptying design for its V7 model solved a schmutz problem with gravity-powered, hands-free dirt disposal. But first and foremost, it’s a powerful vacuum (hence the reminder at beginning of the demo video).
The new Sequent SuperCharger solves the smartwatch charging problem by teaming-up with hyphen-averse Kinetron, makers of “customer specific motion based energy harvesting systems to enable self powered intelligent products,” inventors of “the world’s first self-charging electro-mechanical embedded system.”
Kinetron’s miniature “mechatronic” machine keeps Sequent’s smartwatch juiced using the same principle powering an automatic watch: a spinny thing (a.k.a., rotor) motivated by the wearer’s movement generates kinetic energy.
“Its 100% autonomous, sustainable and really fun to feel the mechatronic pulse that makes sure you’ll never run out of power,” Sequent’s website boasts. I’m not sure about the “fun” of a constantly pulsing watch, but sure, smartwatches require docking/charging and aren’t environmentally friendly (if only because they’re upgraded and discarded regularly). But . . .
People buy Apple, Garmin, Fitbit and other rechargeable battery-powered smartwatches despite the docking/charging
first world problem issue. In the main, buyers don’t give a rat’s ass about their smartwatch’s environmental impact. What they do care about: applications. Their utility and ease-of-operation.
Upon launch, the watchmaker’s new SuperCharger will offer sleep and activity tracking (steps, calories, kilometers), heart rate monitoring (on the 12 more expensive models) and GPS tracking. Coming soon: health coins (“to support your individual health, or the health of the planet”) and a “motivation coach.”
“When the Apple Watch launched in 2015, it had 3,000 apps available to download,” cnet.com reports. “Today, there are more than 20,000 apps — 21 of which are built into the wearable.” In case you didn’t keep track of the apps in the list above, Sequent’s going to market with four. Three if you don’t opt for the top-of-the-range SuperCharger Premium HR.
Worse news: none of the four apps are displayed on the watch. You have to sync your SuperCharger to your phone and view them on a bespoke ‘phone app. Good news: none of the four apps are displayed on the watch.
While I’m no fan of power reserve indicators, the new Sequent Supercharger is a good looking timepiece; certainly more comely than its predecessor (below). Version 2.0 is a wearable 42.1mm, the indices are applied, the crystal isn’t vintage style and it’s round. So there is that.
“The goal for this year is to sell 15,000 watches,” Adrian Buchmann proclaims. “It is small for the electronics industry, but we start to get interesting volume. Our goal is to reach 50,000 to 100,000 watches per year for Sequent.”
Considering the SuperCharger’s $388 to $499 price points and previous software issues, I don’t think so. Then again, this is Sequent’s second go-round; there must be some kind of market for this thing. And Kinetron’s auto/quartz mechatronic movement is cool. Maybe someday it’ll power a “proper” smartwatch. Today isn’t that day and this hybrid watch isn’t that watch.