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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Montblanc Unveils Its First Smartwatch

Jérôme Lambert, in his last act as Montblanc’s CEO, unveiled the luxury brand's first smartwatch in collaboration with digital giant, Google, during an event Thursday in London.

The Montblanc Summit smartwatch features a slightly curved sapphire glass, which the company claims is a “world first” in smartwatches, steel and titanium cases, a choice of straps in a variety of materials and colors, a responsive and fluid user interface using Google Android Wear 2.0 that is compatible with iOS and Android smartphones, the ability to download thousands of apps, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor designed specifically for wearables, providing what Lambert says is at least 20 hours of battery life. This includes blue tooth compatibility with smartphones, which users of smart watches complain is a drain on the batteries of both the smartwatch and smartphone.

One of the most important aspects of the Montblanc Summit is its classic analog design, modeled after the Montblanc 1858 Collection. It is targeted toward millennial consumers with a taste toward a vintage watch look. The price also is geared toward younger and entry-level watch consumers at 890 euros ($956). A personalized dial can be created for a minimum of 15,000 euros.

The Montblanc Summit will first be launched in May exclusively on the online men’s fashion eCommerce website, Mr Porter for two weeks before being available on the Montblanc website and all Montblanc retail stores.

Photo by Anthony DeMarco

Lambert said with this new watch, the Montblanc Timewalker e-strap, the brand’s first entry into the digital wearable category in 2015, will be phased out. “It was a first generation connected product. Now I’d say we are entering fully in this new direction.”

Lambert says the Montblanc Summit, with its pre-installed apps and functions, makes life easier for business, fitness and travel. The avid runner, fast-paced executive and a global traveler says he been using the new watch to measure his heart rate and endurance as well as for business and travel needs, such as quick access to his schedule, a worldtime function for different time zones and a barcode integrated function that can scan digital boarding passes at airports.

He suggests it could do the work of the watches he now uses in his world travels.

“I’m moving around with three watches out of my fine watchmaking timepieces, he said in an interview Friday. “When I’m running, I need something to run with; and when we go to places that are a little bit more casual I need something other than my expensive watch or a very high complicated watch. That’s a dilemma that fits me. There are some elements I don’t want on the phone and I don’t want to open from the phone so I direct that to my watch.”

He says the watch also is handy to find information quickly when traveling to places that aren’t familiar; and in keeping information available while on the phone, instead of pausing the call to search for it on the phone.

Side view of the Montblanc Summit smartwatch

Lambert says its “quality perspective,” with its curved sapphire glass, case finishes, and dyes and materials used for the straps are all compatible with traditional fine watchmaking. This, he says, differentiates it from its competitors. This is in addition to the personalization features in terms of its look (a choice of dials) and functionality.

“It’s a very addictive watch,” he said. “It’s very easy to have the full calendar in front of your eyes and your hands and know when your meeting is and what it is about and not lose phone contact.”

The Montblanc Summit is large at 46mm but its very light on the wrist. It comes with a choice of four different materials and sizes: black PVD coated stainless steel, a bi-color stainless steel case with a black PVD coated stainless steel bezel, stainless steel case with satin finish and a grade 5 titanium case also with a satin finish. Each timepiece is fitted with a pusher in the design of the crown from the 1858 Collection. The classic watch faces are a digital representation of the 1858 Collection. They include complications like an automatic with date, small seconds or chronograph. The small seconds and chronograph can be combined with digital complications providing information, such as appointments or fitness goals. For those who prefer a sportier look, there’s a TimeWalker Urban Speed watch face with an automatic date or chronograph complication. The dial also comes with color options.

The Montblanc Summit is available with interchangeable straps in a variety of colors and materials

The watch comes with eight removable straps. The rubber NATO strap is available in black, blue, green or red. I tried this on and it had a very light nylon feel. There’s also a black calfskin leather strap, a brown or navy blue Sfumato calfskin leather strap from the Montblanc leather factory in Florence, and an alligator strap. 

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