The Elektron and SuperCharger 2.3 watches represent the latest generation of movement-powered hybrid smartwatches from Sequent. These are high-end quartz watches with some fitness-tracking and smartwatch functionality. The form factor and overall concept are more rooted in the world of traditional timepieces than modern electronics. At this point in the development of Sequent products, the watches are very comfortable to wear and practical to live with. They contain the “heart and soul” of a traditional classic timepiece but are full of technology that is entirely contemporary. Sequent’s 2.3 family of watches isn’t for everyone, but as is the case with the niche-friendly industry that is timepieces, there is a market out there for this pretty nifty product.  In this review, I look at the two main flavors of this latest-generation Sequent product, which include the semi-opaque-faced Elektron 2.3 Transparent Blue with the titanium case, and the solid-faced SuperCharger 2.3 Blue in the blue case. Sequent produces a small number of other dial colors and case styles, but each contains the same Sequent 2.3 timepiece technology.

One of the most innovative things about the Sequent SuperCharger watch family is the technology it developed in order to generate power. Sequent does include a charging module dock for the 2.3 watches, but many people will not need it. In addition to the battery being able to last for up to a year when fully charged, the system generates electricity with the motion of your wrist. It uses the same principle as how a rotor in an automatic mechanical watch moves with gravity and motion to wind a mainspring. Instead of the rotor turning to operate a winding system, the rotor acts like a magnetic electricity generator. Magnets in the center part of the weighed rotor move against a copper coil. This motion pushes electrons into the copper wire thus creating a current. That current then moves to the battery. In principle, this is the same as what Seiko developed with its Kinetic movements – but on a different. What I believe is the major difference between the Seiko Kinetic and the Sequent system is the amount of power the electronic system is supposed to both use and generate. The Sequent Elektron and SuperCharger 2.3 watches do not have a digital screen, but they have some small lights on the dial, a heart rate monitor, Bluetooth, a blood oxygen sensor, and other tools and sensors that traditional quartz movements did not need to power.

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While I did not use the Sequent Elektron 2.3 (the model I wore most) for workout tracking (or other highly power-intensive actions), I did spend a lot of time with it on the wrist. By pressing the crown twice, you can learn the current battery level. It uses the subsidiary hand and the left 0-100 scale to show you the battery life. This scale is normally used to show what percentage of your daily movement you have completed. This is essentially there to help people get in enough steps and exercise each day. In any event, when I checked the battery life it was always at 100%. I did not wear the watch for months on end, but even if the battery life slowly wears down despite turning off the electricity-generating rotor, you can charge it using the charger. The point that I am trying to make is that the SuperCharger system appears to be much more than just a gimmick that delivers marginal amounts of recharge to the battery. It certainly appears that if you wear this watch on a regular basis, you can enjoy a product with some light smartwatch functionality — that never needs to be charged. I would say that such a selling point alone is enough to capture the attention of many consumers.

The primary smartwatch functions available in the Sequent Elektron/SuperCharger 2.3 begin with basic Bluetooth phone connectivity to ensure that the time on the watch dial is the same as the local time wherever you are. Thus, on a basic level, you will not need to update the time on a regular basis. Built into the watch is a heart rate monitor, blood oxygen monitor, and accelerometer. These sensors in combination with some data from your phone (such as location data) allow Sequent watches – in tandem with the Sequent mobile phone app – to do basic fitness/exercise tracking. Even if you aren’t formally recording workouts, the app monitors this information for when the user wants to know it. Sequent also offers sleep quality tracking for those who want to sleep with their Sequent 2.3 watches on.

A press of the lower pusher on the case tells the watch to do an instant heart rate readout. Once you push it the watch uses the sensors on the caseback to observe your blood for a moment before offering you a read-out on the right-side scale of the subdial. Yes, this isn’t the most precise scale so if you want a more specific number you’ll have to reference the Sequent app on your phone. Otherwise, that is pretty much all the Sequent 2.3 does. It assumes you will use your phone and other devices for complicated calendar and other timing data. It tries to do things your phone cannot (such as heart rate and charge itself), and offers the style and personality of wearing a wristwatch. On top of that, the Sequent watches are all very beautiful in both design (by the talented Adrian Buchmann) and construction. The Elektron 2.3 watches come in natural or DLC-coated black titanium cases, and the SuperCharger series have steel cases. This new generation of Sequent watch is also more modestly sized, and relatively lightweight on the wrist. In most respects, this is a totally modern connected electronic activity-tracking timepiece birthed from love and respect for traditional watches.

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One of the apparent goals of this and other Sequent watches is that to most observers, they look like classic watches, not smartwatches. While you get a bit of a slick view of the circuit board through the semi-transparent dial of the Elektron 2.3 models, for the most part, Sequent’s 2.3 watches look very much like the traditional items they aspire to resemble. There are no digital readouts, all analog hands, applied SuperLumiNova lumed hour markers and matching hands, LED lights that are hidden unless they are lit, pushers and a crown that could easily have been on a mechanical watch, and an elegant, legible dial that isn’t cluttered or overly stylized. Do you also like the fun “AUTO-MATIC” written on the dial? Even the rear of the watch with the electronic parts is carefully designed and constructed to resemble that of a traditional automatic watch as much as possible. The level of effort that Sequent put into merging the worlds of the old and new in the context of horology is very impressive. One thing that seemed like a missed opportunity is a feature to use LED lights either as a backlight or as a system to give the luminant a bit of charge. While the 2.3 dials have lumed hands and hour markers, even though the dials have some lights, none of them are used to help read the time in the dark. I think there is a clever engineering solution to giving Sequent Elektron and SuperCharger watches some LED-assisted lume-charge or backlight system, perhaps in a future-generation model.

No matter the case material, the dimensions of the Sequent 2.3 case appear to be the same — and it is very wearable, in my opinion. The case measurements are 42mm-wide, 14.2mm-thick topped with an AR-coated sapphire crystal, 46.6mm lug-to-lug distance, and it has 50 meters of water resistance. The case uses standard 22mm-wide straps that come on quick-release spring bars. The titanium versions of the 2.3 watches will be a bit darker than steel and lighter in weight. The DLC-coated titanium models (priced a bit more) will be matte black in color and have more scratch resistance than natural titanium.

The definition of what a “hybrid smartwatch” is seems to be a moving and probably futile target. No, the Sequent 2.3 is not a standard smartwatch with a digital screen and phone notifications. Nor it is a standard high-end quartz watch because it talks to your phone and has modern activity-tracking features. This is really a design product intended for the type of consumer romanced by the technological concept, and physical execution – and whose personality prefers to wade in the middle between totally modern watches of today and good taste from the past.

Right at the launch of the Elektron and SuperCharger 2.3 watches Sequent is offering 15 variations of the product. The company obviously has high hopes for this latest-generation product. From a features and technology perspective, it is clear that with further investment (that will be funded through sales) Sequent will logically be able to add more complications, performance, and sophistication to these clever modern watches that are meant to meet the standards of enthusiasts, but are designed for anyone to enjoy. I am curious to know your opinions in the comments below. Prices range from $743 USD for the Sequent SuperCharger 2.3 in steel, $857 USD for the Sequent Elektron 2.3 Transparent in natural titanium, and $909 USD for the Sequent Elektron 2.3 Transparent in DLC titanium. Learn more at the Sequent watches website here.

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