The main risk to traditional watch making isn’t any economic uncertainty or supply line issues but instead the surge of non-traditional watches. If you walk through your local supermarket or down any given street you will see people still wear watches, but they are wearing smart watches. The Apple watch has taken over a huge swathe of the market, and it is easy to see why. The design, whilst plain, is inoffensive and the watch comes loaded with functionality. Everything that is on your phone can now be on your wrist. Every email, text, meeting and call is now more accessible than ever. It is difficult to overstate how many features the average smart watch has. They put some gadgets from Q Branch to shame. So whilst I prefer mechanical watches I do get why the smart watch market has grown quickly and substantially.
The issue I run into with smart watches can be summarised into two points. One, they need to be charged to often and two, you have to replace them frequently. I have seen many people complain that they are lifeless compared to a traditional mechanical watch, but people say the same thing about quartz and I disagree with both points. The character of a watch can come from memories attached to the watch. So even the blandest and simplest watch can be full of life if the right memories are attached to it. The real issue in my opinion are these two points, battery life and inbuilt redundancy. That is why I am very happy to see traditional watch making taking on the smart watch market.
Whilst hybrid watches are fun they run into the same issues as the Apple Watch and Samsung Gear, the real solution is what Sequent is doing. For those of you who don’t know, Sequent is a smart watch brand which creates self-charging watches. Similar to how an automatic watch keeps the watch powered by a rotor a Sequent watch keeps the battery powered from the wearer’s movement. It is similar to a traditional rotor, only it generates more energy and that energy is converted into electricity. Thanks to their supercharger technology, you don’t have to charge your watch each night like a normal smart watch. That covers the first issue and the second issue by extension. Sequent is a very eco minded company and don’t put inbuilt obsolescence into their watches. This extends the life span of their watches compared to their competitors. They also off set the carbon required to produce all of their watches. It takes 8.7kg of CO2 to create one Sequent and they offset 90kg per watch.
So if the Sequent watch covers what I consider to be the two biggest issues with Sequent then what is left. Simply put, all that is left is preference, for instance I like the more traditional layout of the Sequent with their super luminova filled markers and hands, but I get the appeal of an Apple Watch. The clean rectangular face, whilst not overly imaginative, does have a futuristic look to it which is cool in a gadgety sort of way. There is also the question of functionality. The more power draining ability of the Apple Watch or Samsung equivalent does lead to more functionality at the cost of battery life. The Sequent though is no slouch with all the functionality required of a modern smart device. As well as premium materials like titanium and sapphire crystal, the watch has many fitness tracking features.
Everything from steps, calories, blood oxygen to sleep tracking. From wake up to bed your Sequent can track your health and exercise. It pairs to your phone through the Sequent Oxygo App meaning you can store all your data in an easy to read place. In many ways Sequent does seem to be the bridge between traditional watch making and new world technology. Smart enough to please the modern technophile whilst robustness enough and charismatic enough to keep the traditional watch fan on board.
Sequent is a brand that you should definitely keep your eye on. Whilst the top end of the market will be dominated by some form of mechanical movements for the foreseeable future. The usual suspects creating thinner and more impressive movements in a race to the top, the entry and mid-range watch market is facing down the Silicon Valley threat. It has driven many out. Seiko for instance raised their prices and invested heavily in R&D for better movements and other established brands embracing the hybrid or full smart watch to stay afloat. Sequent however came up with something new. I have a feeling more brands will take a similar route, not abandon traditional watch making but instead modernise and experiment.
Regardless of what comes next Sequent will always be able to say they did it first. Who know, perhaps in years to come Sequent watches will be collectable in the same way the first automatic chronograph or deep sea dive watches are. History tends to reward innovators.
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