Brian M. Afuang

Tech Meets Tradition

Montblanc brings design code of its 1858 Collection to the new Summit 2 smartwatch

MONTBLANC has channeled the design elements defining its 1858 Collection — timepieces referencing the year in which Minerva, the historic Swiss movement maker that was integrated into Montblanc’s business a decade ago, was put up — and used these to lend classical looks to the new Montblanc Summit 2 range of smartwatches. Now, while the first version of this device also leaned on vintage aesthetics, the latest one, as far as trompe l’oeil touches go, is a lot more evocative of the brand’s history.

The first Summit piece came out in March 2017, garbed in a 46-millimeter steel case. So while its dial was capable of displaying a facsimile of Montblanc’s 1858 or TimeWalker models, its scale simply gave away the illusion. The Summit 2 fixes this by coming in a more manageable 42-millimeter case that’s made of steel, black DLC steel, or a steel-and-titanium combo. A sapphire crystal still covers its dial. Taking the visual trick a step further is the new pair of “pushers” flanking the “crown” (the former can be programmed to perform select functions, the latter rotates to scroll through menus). And, get this; while depicting an 1858 chronograph on the dial, the display can also be configured to show more than a thousand different combinations of customized indicators, backgrounds, hands and “complications.” That there are 11 strap options available to the watch — calfskin hide, Milanese bracelet, rubber or nylon — only extend the variety with which the Summit 2 can be personalized.

A major upgrade in the Summit 2 is its Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset, which, Montblanc promises, makes the watch quicker to respond to inputs. Plus, it extends the watch’s battery life. Fact is, a fully charged Summit 2 can last an entire week without recharging if it’s set only to tell the time. It could a run a couple of days less in ambient mode, or when the dial is constantly visible. But if all functions of its Wear OS are running, then expect to charge the watch daily.

The Wear OS, compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones, allows the watch a Google Assistant, which can manage a host of tasks, as well as sync calls, messages, calendars and other data supplied by the smartphone it has been paired with. The Summit 2 obeys some voice commands and can issue default replies. It can also perform fitness tracking duties via apps meant for running and other training programs, as well as heart rate monitoring. A 5 ATM water-resistance rating means the Summit 2 can be taken for a swim. GPS comes in handy for navigation.

And then there’s the new TimeShifter app, which Montblanc pitches as a great tool for jet-lagged travelers as it issues instructions and updates based on the user’s sleep patterns and time zones. The Travel Info app, exclusive to Montblanc, should guarantee a traveler makes excellent use of the extra time he or she has gained as a result of not having to suffer any jet lag.

True to the vibe of the 1858 Collection then, this is simply keeping with the spirit of exploration.