Luxury brand Montblanc has already made a few tentative steps into the smart things space. And just as a simpler stylus preceded a fancier note digitizer, Montblanc is now ready to follow up its e-Strap accessory with a fully fledged Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch. It’s called the Summit, and there’s nothing too out of the ordinary as far as components go: A 1.39-inch (400 x 400) AMOLED display sits up front, with a Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip, 512MB of RAM and 4 gigs of storage tucked away behind. Other notable elements include a heart-rate sensor and built-in microphone, but Montblanc is under no illusion it’s pushing the boundaries of technology here. It’s much more concerned with style.
Montblanc says the release of Android Wear 2.0 presented the perfect opportunity for it to launch a smartwatch, since the latest version of Google’s wearable platform plays much nicer with iOS (thus increasing the Summit’s potential customer base). You won’t hear phrases like “wearable platform” from the mouth of any company rep, though. The sales pitch is angled more for the benefit of the fashion and vintage crowds.
The idea was to put Swiss style and the same design language as Montblanc’s 1858 analog timepiece collection into a smartwatch. As you might expect, the Summit includes a selection of exclusive watch faces — primarily digital versions of classic Montblanc designs, as well as the odd new one with stopwatch functionality and the like. Uber, Foursquare and Runtastic are also preinstalled on the wearable (with introductory promotions), for the jet-setting type that likes to stay in shape.
Naturally, the luxury brand used only the finest stainless steel and the top graded titanium to create the four, 46mm diameter bodies. There are silver and black PVD-coated stainless steel models, a silver titanium model, and a dual-color steel version with silver body and a black watch face bezel with second markings. All versions can be paired with rubber, leather or alligator leather bands.
There’s no denying the impeccable build quality of the Summit, which is water-resistant (IP68 rating), by the way. It shows in the brushed metal with satin finish, the elaborate crown that’s actually a button, the lovingly chamfered edges all around, and the slightly domed sapphire glass that protects the AMOLED display. Despite the workmanship, the watches appear to me to be otherwise exceedingly generic, though someone with much better fashion sense than I might care to disagree. With a maximum height of 12.5mm, they’re also excessively chunky, and heart-rate sensor aside they don’t look like the type of wearable that’s particularly suited to running.
Like the recently announced TAG Heuer luxury wearable, money can’t buy you more than a day’s battery life from the Summit’s 350mAh unit. And if you hadn’t guessed by now, you’re expected to pay significantly more for Montblanc’s first smartwatch than Samsung or LG’s latest. Pricing for all the stainless steel models starts at $890 if you can live with a plain leather strap, jumping to $930 for a colored rubber strap or hand-painted navy or brown leather band. The coveted alligator strap ups that price by $50 to bring the grand total to $980. This is the starting price for the titanium model, which increases to $1,020 and $1,070, respectively, as the bands get fancier. UK pricing starts at £765 for a steel body with standard black leather strap.
The Summit will initially go on sale online at the beginning of May in the US and UK, before launching in other parts of Europe, the Middle East, Asia, India, South Africa, Mexico and Australia before the end of July.