Montblanc was one of the first luxury brands to enter the smartwatch fray, starting with an e-strap accessory in 2015 and then introducing the Summit smartwatch in 2017. Last year’s upgrade, the Summit 2+, enabled direct cellular connectivity, which means you can stay connected even when separated from your smartphone. The follow-up this year is the Summit Lite, an eco-friendly aluminum-cased version with a fresh, casual design, at a great price point — better than the Summit 2+, in fact, which is steel, along with several new fitness-focused apps that are proprietary to Montblanc.
The Lite in the name is a reference to the case, which is lighter than steel because it’s made of aluminum — recycled aluminum, in fact — finished in either matte-black or silver-gray. The box it comes in is made of 100% recycled paper, also eco-conscious.
The case is 43mm, and theoretically, that would make it a man’s watch, but I wore the Summit Lite for a week, and it didn’t feel any bigger on my wrist than my 40mm daily wear. This is at least partly due to the flexible rubber strap that is form-fitting and hugs the watch to the wrist. Plus, the large case makes for a bigger screen, which is an important necessity for a smartwatch; you want to be able to read it at a glance. The readability is further enhanced by the fact that the apps are arranged in an arced scrolling menu rather than on a grid that crowds everything onto one screen all at once, the way a lot of smartwatches do. You can scroll by rotating the central crown or by touching the screen. Using the crown is better since your thumb can block the screen if you do it manually.
When you press the middle button, it shows the apps list, while the top and bottom pushers can be customized to launch functions or apps. Although the screen is plenty bright, it has a light sensor, so it will adjust brightness automatically if conditions dictate. It is covered in scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass, a mainstay of smartphone and tablet screens. It has a crisp 1.19-inch AMOLED display, and if you scroll within the Daily Style mode, you can view several options for Montblanc’s distinctive collection of dial styles to dress up your screen. Montblanc says there are thousands of potential dial configurations.
The Summit Lite’s software is powered with Wear OS by Google, including its full ecosystem of apps and services, which in itself can summon a host of fitness apps. Beyond that, though, there are four proprietary Montblanc apps: a Cardio Coach that offers workout recommendations based on personal fitness levels, along with live coaching advice — it tells you what you should aim for in terms of heart rate intensity and duration for your next activity; a Sleep Tracker that measures sleep stages including REM sleep, quality of sleep and efficiency; a Stress app based on heart-rate monitoring that can trigger advice to do breathing exercises or help dictate workout strategies; and a Body Energy app tells you your energy levels based on the other three elements — sleep, activity, and stress level. This is plenty of information, and very useful for someone tracking fitness goals. It can tell you how much energy you’re using, how much you’ll need, and when to push it.
The battery gives you a day or a day-and-a-half, and when you are running low, there is a battery-saver mode, letting you view the time only. When battery-save mode kicks in (automatically when the battery runs low), smartwatch functions are disabled automatically, which extends the battery further. The tracking is consistent, either way. I have been riding my stationary bike rather than running, lately, so I was comparing the Summit Lite’s readings to those on my bike panel. The stats for heart rate and calorie count ran slightly higher on the watch, but it was more consistent, so I’m going with the watch.
The Summit Lite is water-resistant to 50 meters, which makes it a sports watch, and it means you can use the functions while swimming. It comes with both a rubber and a textile strap. The beveled lugs soften the design a bit and add a nice luxury touch to what is otherwise a functional, modern sports watch. The Summit Lite is priced at $860, so it’s a great value compared to other smartwatches, including the $1,170 Summit 2+ in steel. All told, it’s an essential supplement to any luxury watch collection for people who need detailed tracking of their workouts. You can learn more at montblanc.com.