Montblanc Gets Smart
Introducing Montblanc Summit, the brand’s smartwatch with the style of a mechanical timepiece, launching exclusively online with MR PORTER.
Available to purchase exclusively on MR PORTER for the next two weeks, the new Montblanc Summit is something of a departure for the storied brand.
Not only is it the first time that Montblanc, a company best known for its beautiful writing instruments, jewellery, leather goods and fine watches, has decided to dip a toe in the emerging world of wearable tech, the Summit is also one of the first examples of a smartwatch designed by a watchmaker rather than a tech company.
For watch lovers, this will come as nothing but good news. For, as capable a piece of technology as the Apple Watch, the Samsung Gear or any of its competitors may be, these California or Seoul-based tech giants have little experience when it comes to the business of making proper watches.
“So what?” you may well ask. A smartwatch is essentially a smartphone with a wrist strap. But if the continued demand for luxury watches has taught us one thing, it’s that men want more from a timepiece than just a tool that tells the time. They want something that reflects their interest in craftsmanship and heritage, and that looks beautiful on their wrist. Hence why an IWC Portugieser, a Bell & Ross BR 03 or a Montblanc 1858 is able to command a price many hundreds of times higher than a simple battery-powered quartz watch.
The same is surely true of smartwatches. Men expect more than just a smartphone with a wrist strap. This, in a nutshell, was the business case behind the Montblanc Summit, a watch that combines traditional Swiss watchmaking codes with the latest in smartwatch technology.
Powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, running on Google’s latest Android Wear 2.0 operating system and pre-loaded with a variety of apps, including Uber, Runtastic and Foursquare, the Summit boasts all the features you’d expect of a modern smartwatch, but in a package that looks and feels more like a mechanical watch.
Its substantial 46mm case, which was inspired by Montblanc’s vintage-themed 1858 collection of chronographs, features design elements such as a crown that functions as a home button and a slightly domed sapphire glass face, a first in smartwatches. Ten easily interchangeable digital watchfaces come pre-loaded onto the Summit, many of which have been designed to replicate the looks of the 1858 collection.
What you’re getting with the Summit, then, is a smartwatch that offers the best of both worlds. It’s no less than we’d expect of Montblanc, a company that has always been defined by its lofty ambitions – it wasn’t named after Europe’s tallest mountain for nothing. To get a better feel for just a few of the Summit’s many capabilities, we put it through its paces over the course of a single day.
Alarm goes off. Grab the Montblanc Summit from its charging cradle and pull on your running gear.
Swipe left to select the Fitness watchface, which shows your heart rate and daily fitness goals. Log into Runtastic Premium (a three-month membership is included).
Hit the road. Using the in-built microphone, tell Google Assistant to play the running playlist stored in the Summit’s 4GB flash drive. Stream it through your Bluetooth headphones.
Home. Swap the Nato watchstrap for a work-appropriate leather strap. Swipe to replace the Fitness watchface with the Chronograph watchface. Get ready for work.
Use Google Assistant to bring up your calendar. Meeting across town in half an hour. Open the in-built Uber app and order yourself a cab.
Meeting over. Right, where can you get a good coffee around here? Open Foursquare to find out, then use Google Maps to get there.
Emails coming in fast. Time to head back to the office. Order an Uber. Check your messages on the way. Use the Summit’s gesture system to scroll through them with a flick of the wrist. Use ready-prepared smart replies for yes/no answers, or open the in-built keyboard for longer replies.
Reminder: business trip tomorrow. Download your boarding pass to your Summit. Don’t forget to add the destination to your favourites on WorldTimer, Montblanc’s in-built time zone app. Set up WorldTimer as a digital complication so it’s directly accessible from your digital watchface.
WhatsApp notification: Drinks in an hour? Reply OK. Open Maps: it’s walkable. But will you need an umbrella? OK, Google, what’s the weather like? Looks like it should be fine. Speed through the rest of your tasks.
Getting hungry. What’s good to eat around here? Foursquare says there’s a great Vietnamese restaurant five minutes away. The menu only comes in Vietnamese, though. Not a problem. Use Google Translate.
Time to head home. Third Uber of the day? Grab your headphones and put on a relaxing playlist on the way back.
Set your alarm. Place the Summit Smartwatch back into its charging cradle and collapse into bed.