Before we review Montblanc’s Summit 2 smart watch, a word about pens. Yes, that’s right, pens.
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There are two kinds of men: those to whom a pen is just a pen, and those who believe that a pen is so much more. The second group are men who are capable of imagination, understanding that a pen puts thoughts into words, and turns their words into reality. They are believers in design; they know it makes a difference. And what’s more, they know that an object can be imbued with history and significance. For men like these, a utilitarian Bic isn’t enough. They buy, or are gifted with, pens that are far more than mere writing instruments. A Montblanc pen is likely to find its place in this man’s shirt pocket, something the German company has been famous for doing since the beginning of the last century.
Now, as it goes with pens, so goes with watches. You could buy something simple that tells the time and looks cool on your wrist for a few thousand bucks. Or you could buy a timepiece that tells the story of your own journey in life and lauds your achievements.
And, as it goes with watches, so goes with smart watches. You can strap an electronic, plastic fitness watch to your wrist, or you could buy a smart watch that’s so much more. Enter the Montblanc Summit 2.
Smart Watch, Meet Luxury
When Apple threw down the gauntlet to Swiss watchmakers with more “premium” Apple Watch straps, this is what they were talking about—or hoping to achieve. In comparison, Montblanc’s Summit 2 makes the Apple Watch feel like a kid’s Ben 10 Omnitrix toy.
Out of the box, the Summit 2 looks every bit the luxury smart watch it’s touted to be. It’s milled from a hefty chunk of stainless steel (or steel and titanium), which gives it a pleasant weight without being heavy. And its greatest trick? It wouldn’t look out of place beside your Omega or Rolex, provided that neither are too blinged out.
“Trick” is a huge understatement, of course. It’s no small achievement for a smart watch to be able to go toe to toe with a luxe timepiece. And yet, somehow, the Summit 2 pulls it off. Because of how fast technology changes, you probably won’t be passing it on to the next generation, but others may be forgiven for thinking it’s that kind of watch. The trick is in the invisible: the attention to detail, the fine materials, the thoughtful design.
The circular face of the watch is sapphire glass—the same kind of glass luxury timepieces use. There’s a generous amount of screen space here, and oh what a lovely screen it has. The AMOLED display is bright and crisp, and it stands up to bright sunlight.
The size of the watch bears special notice. By no means is it a chunky monkey timepiece meant for shock and awe. But Montbanc has found a sweet spot in size because it isn’t small either, and yet looks comfortable on smaller wrists. (It is, in fact, a unisex watch.)
The crown is a lovely piece of machinery with smooth action for scrolling and a button. There are two other buttons as well. By default, one is set up for Google Pay, and given that local establishments have yet to adopt either Google Pay or Apple Pay, this renders the button next to useless. Thankfully, the buttons are programmable.
The leather strap is a statement of intent. Make no mistake, gentlemen, it says, this is a luxury watch. And this “fancy” strap successfully further sets it apart from your teenage son’s smart watch. The mechanism is well thought out—once you figure it out. Strap adjustment can be a head-scratcher, requiring a high IQ and advanced spatial reasoning.
Let’s not forget, this is a smart watch that runs on Google’s WearOS. Under the hood, it’s powered by a Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset with 1GB of RAM. For now, these topshelf chips make the Summit 2 one of the most powerful smart watches available.
Never mind that processor speed isn’t the end-all and be-all of a smart watch. It feels nimble and responsive. And should you need it, there’s a generous 8GB of storage available as well, for your tunes, apps and whatnot. Knowing that no corners were cut in the electronics department makes a difference.
In this day of charge-every-day mobile phones, the Summit 2, likewise, requires docking on its magnetic, braided USB charging station every day. This can feel odd if you’re coming from the world of charge-never automatic timepieces, but trust us, the Summit 2’s battery does the job. From almost empty (33%), we charged it at 3:51pm and it was fully charged by 4:31pm.
You can, conceivably, use the Summit 2 as a fitness watch. Its heartrate monitor works well, and there’s GPS if you want to track your run. So yes, it all works admirably. (And yes, you can switch that strap for something more practical with minimum fuss.) We just don’t see anyone actually using this watch for gym workouts. After all, you could run a marathon in your brogues, but would you?
Montblanc’s Summit 2 isn’t any ordinary smart watch. It exists in a space somewhere between luxury timepiece and techy smart watch. And for what it is, it succeeds. It comes at a price point far above that of your average smart watch. Admittedly, it’s not for everyone. To know if it’s for you, you have only to ask yourself one question: Are you the kind of man to whom a pen is just a pen?
Montblanc is available at Rustans Makati, Rustans Shangri-La, Rustan's Cebu, Greenbelt 5, City of Dreams and Resorts World. For more information, visit Montblanc.com.