On the wrist, the Montblanc Summit wears even larger than the 46mm diameter would suggest: its very long lugs make it look much taller (longer?), and hence make it extend far beyond the edges of smaller wrists. For your reference, I have no problem wearing a 44mm Panerai as it is large but is just the perfect fit, and while the Summit is technically only 2mm wider, it wears much, much larger than that. Proportions remain intact, so if you have a larger wrist, the watch will look good (further improved by the fact of it being so thin for such a large case). I do, however, wish that there was a smaller version so I could at least consider wearing the Summit, which, unfortunately, is not the case as things stand right now.
For one, I would love to see how this watch fairs under everyday conditions and, second, despite its massive size, I did find it remarkably comfortable. I’ll go so far as to say I have never worn a watch that looked so out of place on my wrist and yet was so comfortable. There are two main reasons for this and none of them is what you’d expect.
First, the case-back has a protruding bit housing the heart rate sensor. Montblanc say it’s there to ensure that the sensor is as accurate as it can be by keeping it in contact (or at least very close) with the skin. Because it is exactly in the center and because the large case even in steel was relatively light, I have not felt one tiny bit of uncomfortable pressure from it even after about 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted wear. In fact, because most of the case was ever so slightly elevated from the skin, it let in air a bit more, making for a more comfortable feel.
Second, Montblanc has done an OK job with the leather straps and an even better one with the elastic, rubberized 2-piece Zulu straps. They had just enough elasticity and a soft enough touch to make them sublimely comfortable – I would consider wearing them in the summer on other watches. Quick release pins have been added to all strap variants of the Summit to make for a relatively hassle-free strap changing system.
As for the dial options, there will be about 8 or so of them loaded onto the watch from the get-go and you can install more onto your watch via the complementary app. As for options, first there are the vintage 1858 inspired ones, both three-hand and chronograph versions, then the Timewalker in similar configurations, along with a few generic digital options, and whatever else you download to the watch. It would be a cool thing for Montblanc to add new dials every now and then.
Interaction with the watch is really straightforward. You have the ability to use the touch screen and a single pusher set inside the crown at 3 o’clock. By making swiping gestures on the screen you can change the dials (swipe right or left on the main dial) and by swiping vertically you can get to either quick settings or notifications. The pusher will either get you to the app drawer or let you move back by one screen, ultimately bringing you back to the watch dial.
The fact that there is a nicely machined crown that does not work – as in it doesn’t even turn – felt quite weird at first and took me a while to forget how it was there but cannot be used. It is fixed to the case and while the relatively large screen provides perfectly enough space for hand gestures, part of me still wishes there was something that could be done with this crown (whereas, say, on the Apple Watch the digital crown is handy because otherwise you’re hiding an even larger portion of the screen as you interact with it).
So, all this technical stuff noted, how does Montblanc’s (and Richemont’s) first smartwatch measure up against the competition? Montblanc was clearly adamant about using the latest technology hardware – not always a given with Swiss watch brands – and that resulted in a snappy, hassle-free, up-to-date user experience over our two or so hours testing the different versions. The only area of compromise really is with the size. At this point it is simply going to be too large (as in too long lug-to-lug) for a considerable portion of their target audience, not to mention the idea of a version catered for women, which is a shame because it really is up there with the latest and best in terms of technology.
With the unmistakably Montblanc 1858-inspired dials and case there is a fair bit of “Montblanc-ness” left in there as well, rendering the Montblanc Summit recognizable and unique enough to justify the name.
Prices for the Montblanc Summit will start approximately at $890 for the all-steel variant and top out at around $1,090 for the solid titanium version, making it considerably more than the Gear S3 but considerably less than the TAG Heuer Connected Modular. In all fairness, that is competitive and reasonable pricing by luxury watch brand standards and is in line with Montblanc’s more recent (and commendable) strategy of bringing its prices to a more competitive level. montblanc.com