Montblanc has announced the Summit, an Android 2.0 smartwatch based on the 1858 collection and priced between the Apple Watch and TAG Heuer Connected
By James Gurney
That Montblanc should be the next off the blocks with a full-blown Swiss smartwatch shouldn’t really be a surprise. After all, the Richemont brand had already experimented with a wearable module that could augment a traditional watch.
More pertinently, Montblanc’s size, audience and style make it the natural choice to pioneer the technology within the group. That TAG Heuer’s Connected proved such a hit can only have added a certain sense of urgency to the project and must have influenced the decision to launch the watch the week before Baselworld (and two days after TAG Heuer’s second iteration was unveiled in Switzerland.
A direct competitor it may be, but it’s no clone. Jerome Lambert and Montblanc have played a cool hand with the Montblanc Summit. Inevitably, the watches share a number of technical features as both run on Google’s Android Wear™ 2.0 OS, the main difference within being that the Summit is built around a Qualcomm processor rather than the Intel equivalent that TAG’s Connected watch uses, but what Lambert seems to believe is that it will be “Swiss-ware” differences that will persuade people to choose the Summit over its competitors.
At €890 (significantly less than the TAG), the Summit needs to offer quite a deal of Swissness over watches from the likes of Samsung and LG, so does it deliver?
As is evident, the Summit presents as vintage style watch with much the same codes as the 1858 collection shown at the SIHH. There’s even a curved sapphire glass screen above the case (which comes in PVD, steel and titanium), which displays a variety of dial designs drawn from 1858 and TimeWalker collections.
Somewhat bizarrely, Montblanc will design a bespoke dial for anyone wishing to part with €15,000 for the privilege of working with the maison’s Creative Director. Naturally enough, Montblanc offer the full range of straps from a rubber NATO to the Sfumato calfskin that they make in Florence.
One notable feature, amid an array of apps for the likes of Uber and Foursquare, is that screen remains “always-on” so that you never see the disconcerting blank watch face that detracts from so many smart watches. The watch will arrive in May in what’s going to be an increasingly crowded field (more smart watches are launching at Baselworld next week).
We have some early on-the-wrist photographs: it’s clearly a big watch at 46mm, but does stand a little lower off the wrist than TAG Heuer’s Connected.
Key features and specifications for the watch:
£765 starting price, available from May, but if you’re in a hurry, Mr. Porter have a two week exclusivity ahead of the roll-out.
Operating system: Android Wear 2.0
Display: 1.4 inch AMOLED display under curved sapphire glass (a world first)
Memory (storage): 4GB
Battery: 300 mAh
Materials: choice of black PVD-coated stainless steel; satin-finished stainless steel and grade 5 titanium
Key functions: Wi-Fi; Heart-rate sensor; Barometer; Ambient light sensor; Microphone. No GPS or NFC capability.