Montblanc Summit hands-on review: Last night, luxury "writing instruments, watch, jewellery and leather goods" maker Montblanc lifted the lid on its first smartwatch. It's called the Montblanc Summit and we were present at the London launch to see how it stacks up against more affordable and other, equally luxurious alternatives alike.
Montblanc Summit: Specs at a glance
|Screen size||1.39-inches (circular)|
|Case options||PVD black steel, Bi-colour steel, Stainless steel or Titanium|
|Strap options||Black calfskin, Navy blue rubber, Green rubber or Brown sfumato|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100|
|Extras||Domed sapphire glass, IP68-certified, optical heart rate sensor, quick-release straps|
Montblanc Summit: Hands-on review
Whilst the Summit is the brand's first true smartwatch, it has dabbled with wearable technology before, most notably with 2015's e-Strap - a supplementary connected digital display that augmented your otherwise analogue timepiece. This time around Montblanc has teamed up with Google and Qualcomm to put much of the same hardware that we've already seen from the latest wave of Android Wearables into a luxury item aimed at those with considerably larger amounts of disposable income than most.
Aside from the Montblanc name, the Summit's appeal comes in the material choices, build quality and customisation options offered up by the company. It's one of the larger 2017 Android Wear smartwatches, packing a fully circular 1.39-inch AMOLED display set within a 46mm casing that's 12.5mm deep. At launch, the casing itself can be had in three different configurations of stainless steel or comes hewn from titanium, which we'd opt for as it makes for a less noticeable feel against your wrist, the trade-off being that choosing the fancier material results in an even higher price tag.
Each casing is paired to a specific strap, but thankfully Montblanc has settled on a relatively commonplace 22mm quick-release mechanism, so you can throw on any compatible strap that takes your fancy - particularly useful when you consider that bands from Montblanc start in the hundreds and go upwards.
If you're not enamoured by the titanium casing and brown sfumato leather strap combination (as featured in the hands-on video below), the PVD black steel and black calfskin band pairing looks to be the next best option. There's also a bi-coloured steel body with a navy blue rubber band or a straight stainless steel skew that comes with a green rubber band. The general form of the casing gives the Summit a look not all that different from the LG Watch Urbane, albeit with more subtle rounding; a blend of polished and brushed surface finishes, and a distinctive (sadly non-rotating) crown with the brand's signature snowflake logo on it.
Montblanc says the Summit's design is heavily inspired by "classic neo-vintage styling" as found on its 1858 collection, which appears (at least with regards to the casing) to be characterised by hard chamfered edges with top-notch polishing and surface treatments.
As we touched on earlier the innards of the Summit are almost identical to the rest of the new crop of Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches we've recently been introduced to, namely in the form of the LG Watch Sport and the Huawei Watch 2. Montblanc's influence on the software side only goes as far as offering up seven unique watch faces, which again share design influences from the 1858 collection, namely in the hands, fonts and layouts, however, with Android Wear 2.0 being what it is, you can swap out the default complications for anything you fancy.
Montblanc unveiled the Summit just days after rival luxury timepiece expert Tag Heuer launched its second Android Wear-powered premium smartwatch, the Connected Modular 45. The Summit starts at a lower price than Tag's new wearable but not by all that much. If you like the look and feel of the Summit, then make it your next wearable, otherwise the LG Watch Sport is the next best option, as whatever it lacks in aesthetics, prestige and reputation it makes up for in packing superior hardware and NFC for Android Pay, a notable omission on Montblanc's new device.
The Montblanc Summit is set to launch in May this year with pricing starting at €890 (expect the same figure in GBP for the UK) and it'll be available at selected Montblanc boutiques, to begin with.