“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.
I’m getting over the “short” battery life of smart watches. I’m used to charging my phone every night regardless of whether or not the battery power is at 99% or 1%, and I don’t see the smart watch as something all that different from a tablet or a phone. I’m not going to complain about a long battery life. I’m sure anyone that can develop a “G-Shock” smart watch with a ten year battery for $50 will revolutionize the category, but right now, the battery life on a Garmin is good enough. If I want a watch that will last longer than two years, I’ll buy a G-Shock or something with an automatic Seiko movement
Except now you have TWO things to charge nightly.
Oh! And, two things (with redundant function) to simultaneously become obsolete / unsupported and disposable within a few years.
Yes there is that, said the man with an Alpina hybrid watch.
Agree that we’ve been conditioned to tend to rechargeable devices. Some people even plug in their cars at night!
Of course you forfeit that sleep-tracking stuff if it’s not on you. My only smart watch experience was that it took maybe an hour a week and could theoretically be maintained by ten minute charges while showering.
Buy two smart watches, problem solved!
Good point about sleep tracking. When are you supposed to charge your smart watch?
All the major smartwatch players were established personal consumer electronics brands before wearables were a product category. And they continue to trade on those brand identities. Apple, creative. FitBit, active. Garmin, adventurous. Samsung, um… technical. Has any new brand actually made headway, regardless of what the thing can actually do? Google makes one of the two bleeping operating systems that matter and the Pixel watch remains merely a rumor. People don’t seem to think of these devices as displacing wristwatches any more than they think of their mobile phones as displacing PDAs, and they’re not evaluating one smartwatch against a hybrid watch against a traditional watch for battery life just as they’re not comparing their iPhone against a PalmPilot or a day planner. Wearables are more akin to cybernetic self-regard boosters that happen to tell time. I’ll bet Apple could sell a precious metal, price-no-object Watch with a lousy battery life and the time display *intentionally disabled* that would sell 15k+ units. ‘People buy smartwatches, they like the idea’ should have been the end of the quote, and the product pitch as anything more than proof of concept. Like you, I see no future for this brand, fiddly bits potentially excepted.
But will there be an exhibition back?
Two things that crack me up on the video “interacting with your smart watch” and they show her looking at either the time or the power reserve, which is all it does alone. That’s interaction?
And “Swiss-engineered” which means “Made in China”
I love how the video derides other smart watches as distracting. Not a compelling argument to say the least.
Forgotten in all of this is that smartwatches actually make more sense than phones for kids. Little apps for distraction and all the tools necessary to make a call or text. For those under 16, the smart watch makes a ton of sense (just not this one).
Yes. Yes it does.
But, the “smart” watch won’t work without being tethered to a phone, eh?
They work on their own line now with cell signal and the parents can set it up on their phone.
Just making sure I understand… You’re saying that Apple watches (and the like) are now independent of a phone? You can make a call from the “watch” without it having a tethered phone nearby? My phone could be at home (or not even have one) and use my “smart watch” to make a call or send a text 50 miles away from said phone?
If so, that’s news to me.
Or… what do you mean “set up on the parent’s phone?”
Yes, I do it all the time and never have my phone with me whenever I have my watch on. My watch has it’s own dedicated line and number.
They can set it up with the appropriate apps and watch faces etc….
OK… But, is ownership of the phone required to activate or use the watch?
Or can you buy JUST the watch and use it as a phone… ala Dick Tracy?
Yes you can.
@Raxer88 I believe you can, yes. This is what all my friends are doing with their kids.
Honestly, I find it sad that your friends are doing that with their kids. But, that’s just my own bias. 🙂
I bought this watch and I am still happy with it after a year, what is more, I have convinced others to buy it – as long as they don’t mind, that they cannot read messages on 1×1 inch display and they are not big sportsmen as well. Counts steps, burned calories, evaluates heart rate, my sleep and I do not need to charge it at all. It looks like a luxury watch, not a product for faceless masses.