Montblanc Summit Review

Holidays for me are increasingly about turning off and tuning out, so taking a smart watch on holiday was probably not the ideal context for writing a comprehensive review. With an entire week spent lazing by the pool and rarely venturing outside the hotel, there was not much in the way of activity to track and the motivating “summit” graphic used to record my levels of activity remained empty.

The summit of laziness

Montblanc Summit at the beach in Majorca © Paul O'Neil

But like most smart watches, the Montblanc Summit comes into its own when you are travelling. Because I use a Google Calendar and the EasyJet application, the watch kept me constantly updated on where I needed to be and when I needed to be there, even sending me handy hints like which luggage carrousel to head to for my bags. In this respect the watch is an extension of your smartphone and will therefore be as useful to you as your smartphone is. In my case, unfortunately, after reading an insightful article on how apps are designed to get you addicted, I took a severe approach to how I allow my phone to handle notifications, whittling the disturbances down to the strict minimum. But features like to Google Assistant and the voice-activated Google translator are perfect for the international globe trotter who needs to buy a coffee in Italy or a train ticket in Japan (I imagine the former would be a breeze, but would advise some caution for the latter). Handy pre-loaded apps like Foursquare and Uber drum home the point that this is a watch for the upwardly mobile and tech-savvy.

I’m a firm believer that smart watches, especially those produced by established luxury watch brands, should still be exemplary in their time telling capabilities. The Montblanc Summit excels here, leveraging the brand’s heritage to offer classic Minerva-inspired chronograph dials and the sportier Timewalker dials from this year’s latest models on its 1.39 inch AMOLED display, which is protected by a sapphire crystal. But just like the mechanical incarnations these dials only work well on an aesthetic level with the corresponding case and strap, so the beautiful 1858 chronograph configuration looks a bit odd with the black PVD case and red rubber NATO strap that I tested. This innovative strap, combining the qualities of rubber with the suppleness, comfort and security of a NATO strap, works much better with some of the other permutations available. With three different cases (all-black PVD, brushed steel and balck PVD and all-steel) and a choice of colourful rubber straps and classic leather straps, there are enough possibilities to cater for even the most demanding tastes.

The Montblanc Summit finds itself in a crowded marketplace, competing with very similar offerings from TAG Heuer and, more recently, Louis Vuitton. While each has its own unique characteristic (modularity for the TAG, travel-linked special features for the Louis Vuitton and that cool strap for the Montblanc Summit), the Summit’s biggest advantage by far is its price: at under 1,000 Swiss francs it is far cheaper than both its main competitors.

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