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Montblanc Summit: Singapore Price & Review

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Montblanc pens its digital chapter.

You’ve really got to hand it to these Swiss watch guys. As if their patience was not tested enough from centuries of slaving over miniscule mechanisms, now they have to deal with the damn-if-you-do-damn-if-you-don’t conundrum of smartwatches.

Mechanical watch purists may deride traditional watchmaking houses for making smartwatches. But if TAG Heuer’s glowing sales report of its Connected watches are anything to go by (the brand sold almost 56,000 units of its debut model in a year, almost triple of its original forecast), who is to say that smartwatches aren’t something that luxury watch brands ought to be seriously considering?

Montblanc Summit

Which brings us to the Montblanc Summit, which started retailing in Montblanc’s Singapore boutiques this May. The most pressing question for potential buyers, we imagine, would be: how does it rank against the likes of the Apple Watch or the Samsung Gear?

The thing that Montblanc wants us to ‘get’ is that the Summit really is a smartwatch seen through the eyes of a luxury marque. By that argument, Montblanc would want us to consider the look, quality of finish, level of craftsmanship, and brand equity as key differentiating factors – and it delivers on these counts, as the Summit looks and feels more regal that your run-of-the-mill smartwatch.

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The idea of this 'luxury wearable' starts with the watch’s vintage look, borrowed from Montblanc’s classically rooted 1858 collection. The round case is huge – 46mm wide and 12.5mm thick. The size is a bit incongruous considering the watch’s decidedly refined inspiration, but ostensibly necessary to accommodate the tech within. On the wrist, the Summit has the feel of a solid sports watch and is definitely more suited as a casual, weekend accompaniment.

Montblanc Summit

The case’s high-quality finishes are a treat: available in black PVD-coated stainless steel, bi-colour stainless steel with PDV-coated bezel (top), satin-finished stainless steel, or satin-finished titanium. Another detail that alludes to Summit’s high-end disposition is the curved sapphire crystal – a first for smartwatches and a nod to the profile of vintage timepieces. To reiterate the ‘luxury wearable’ tag, customers can choose to upgrade the watch with a calfskin or alligator leather strap made in the Montblanc Pelleteria leather workshop in Florence.

Tech-wise, the Summit delivers the necessary. The watch runs on the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear processor with 512MB RAM and 4 GB storage. It is fronted by a 400 x 400, 1.39-inch AMOLED touch screen display, and stores enough power in its 350mAh battery for up to one-and-a-half day between charges.

Montblanc Summit

When it comes to apps and functionality, the Summit scores with fitness-based features including a suite of sensors (heart rate, accelerometer, gyroscope), waterproofness to IP68 rating, activity tracking app Runtastic, and a specially dial interface that details your daily fitness progress in the shape of a summit. There is also the usual slew of pre-loaded Google apps, built-in Google Assistant for voice-activated demands, and multiple dial interface the recalls the dials from the 1858 watch collection. However, there are two niggling omissions – no GPS and no NFC for Android Pay.

Montblanc Summit

So back to the question: how does the Montblanc Summit compare to the rest of the smartwatch pack? Evidently, Montblanc seems more focused on the ‘luxury’ bit of its ‘luxury wearable’ pitch. While the brand leaves the like of Apple and Samsung in the dust in the luxury aesthetic department, the real challenge here is to also knock it out of the park with tech attributes – not unlike what it is already doing with its mechanical offerings, really.

 Case

46mm, steel or titanium 

 Dial

Curved sapphire crystal

Operating system

Google Android Wear 2.0 with Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor

 Strap/Bracelet 

Calf or alligator leather

 Features

Wi-fi, microphone; heart rate monitor; Google Assistant; pre-loaded apps including Runtastic, Uber and Foursquare; amongst others

 Battery

300mAh

 Price

 From S$1,340

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Last modified on Thursday, 15 June 2017 11:53
Alvin Wong

Editor-in-Chief

Alvin promises not to be a douche when talking about watches. He may have scoured the Basel and Geneva watch fairs for the past 15 years, and played an instrumental role to the growth of Singapore's pioneering horological and men's lifestyle publications, but the intrepid scribe seeks to learn something new with each story he writes.  

Website: www.crownwatchblog.com

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