Montblanc Summit 2 first look: A luxury Wear OS smartwatch with fitness skills

Qualcomm's new tech debuts in Montblanc's second-gen Wear watch

The Montblanc Summit, launched last year, left plenty to be desired. Sure, it was a good looking smartwatch, but lacked the luxe we'd expect from the company that knows a thing or two about making desirable timepieces. The Summit 2 is a big upgrade in a smaller 42mm case (last year’s was 46mm) housing a 1.2-inch display, but also rounding out the fitness features with a heart rate monitor, GPS and 5ATM water resistance.

It also starts at £845, so this Wear smartwatch will be butting heads with Tag Heuer, Louis Vuitton and other premium smartwatch makers.

Read this: How Google's new Wear OS won me over

It all sounds great – but the biggest story here is what lies beneath: the new processor. The Montblanc Summit 2 is the first smartwatch to come running the new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip, which Google hopes will reinvigorate Wear OS going into 2019. The Summit 2 also arrives with the latest Wear OS software on board, so for all intents and purposes you’re looking at the first true “next-gen” Wear OS smartwatch.

Montblanc Summit 2 first look: The debut of Qualcomm's new smartwatch tech

We got a demo of the Summit 2 just after Qualcomm announced its new platform, but there wasn’t enough time to appreciate the changes the new platform will bring. Mainly because the 3100 is heavily focused on improving battery life. Yet Montblanc is only promising a day and a half of battery here, and the 15-hour GPS sport mode won’t be available on the watch from launch (Montblanc told us it will roll that out later).

However, it will offer the new Traditional Watch Mode, which can stretch the battery up to a week by switching to the new ultra-low power co-processor and displaying little else but the time.

Did it feel faster to use? A little, but I put that down to the new Wear OS rather than new silicon. In fact Qualcomm hasn’t promised any performance boosts outside of battery efficiency with Wear 3100.

Alongside the hardware changes, Montblanc has added some software flourishes to stand out from the crowd, including an app built to help you get over jet lag, which Montblanc worked with NASA on. This will be an exclusive to the Summit 2 at launch, but the company told me it will be making it available on the Google Play Store later. There's also a Travel Info app, which sounds a lot like the one that featured on the Louis Vuitton's Tambour Horizon smartwatch.

There's also a standalone VO2 Max app powered by Firstbeat that's geared towards running and will make use of those new fitness sensors. But otherwise, expect the usual Wear OS fare. Oh, and there's NFC this time too (another thing that was missing from the first watch) so you'll be able to use Google Pay.

It's interesting to see more luxury watch makers giving their smartwatches serious fitness chops. We saw the same with the Fossil Explorist HR and the Skagen Falster 2. But at the same time, Qualcomm's senior director of wearables Pankaj Kedia has made no bones about the fact that smartwatches should be primarily about looking good, and the new system architecture will let watches like this utilise the new Enhanced Ambient Mode. This means you'll be able to keep the clock display on at all times, still have it look good and not have it sucking too much battery life.

And the Summit 2 is more luxe than its predecessor, from the sapphire crystal display to the four material choices: stainless steel; black DLC steel; titanium; and two-tone steel.

Montblanc Summit 2: Initial verdict

Montblanc Summit 2 first look: The debut of Qualcomm's new smartwatch tech

On paper then, the debut Qualcomm 3100 smartwatch has it all: fitness and beauty. The Summit 2 also fixes our key criticisms of the first smartwatch, however, as we discovered with the Fossil Q Explorist and Venture HR, mixing in those health features isn't worth it if they're compromised. Will Montblanc do it better? We'll find out when we put the Summit 2 through the usual rigorous testing.

First impressions are good though. It's just a shame that this it's also prohibitively expensive for many – but don't worry, more are on the way.


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4 comments

  • Gadgety·

    Hopefully you get one for a long time review once the 15 hour GPS-sport mode app is available to test the, rather puny, 340mAh battery autonomy. Oddly nothing about autonomy is mentioned on Montblanc's own website except the 7 day watch only mode. You state 1.5 days, in other places I've seen 1 day for the Summit 2. Finally, one thing I really like about smartwatches is they can look dressy, and still have full sport features, and this one does look very nice. Unfortunately the Summit 2 still requires a loading puck while my next watch will have to have wireless charging.

  • paulrousseau·

    Can you please be clear when writing about smartwatches whether or not they are capable to make and receive phone calls. This is an essential functionality for me and many of your readers. It allows to pick up when receiving a phone call right from your watch and have the phone call via the watch. This does not mean that the watch needs to have an LTE functionality as it can be done over Bluetooth (and I think wifi for the Apple Watch). This comes in handy when your smartphone is somewhere else in the house for example. Or in case of elderly people, being able to initiate a call from the watch could be a life saver. Watches like the Apple watch and the Samsung Galaxy watch have this functionality.

    So does this watch supports making and receiving calls?

    • pocholin·

      Quick answer to your question is no.

      While the watch notifies you of an incoming call and lets you answer it or decline it from the watch, you cannot have a (bluetooth) conversation in the watch like you do on a Samsung Gear (which I have as well).

  • pocholin·

    I have owned this watch for about 10 days, I also have Samsung Gear S3 (non-LTE), which is a great watch. There are some mixed feelings with this watch as I got used to the S3's built-in speaker (although I hardly ever used it). Other than the speaker and a little less battery life, Montblanc is a great solid watch IMO. S3's screen is slightly brighter under direct sunlight but the Summit 2 is still clearly visible. However, the Montblanc has the looks that no Samsung or Apple (especially Apple, with it's square ugly shape) has and the refinement in the hardware buttons too. The band and buckle mechanism is worth the $170 they charge you for a replacement in their website. Is this watch less bang for your buck? Yes, but a lot of that is like driving a Bentley vs a Toyota, both of them will do the work though.

    The watch will last me about 12 hours with the always-on face, and about 28 hours with normal face-off usage, hourly heart beat reading (Heart Trace app) and two daily alarms. I sleep with the watch because it is my wake-up alarm so no charging overnight. I am planning on purchasing another charging puck when they become available...but the good thing is that it charges pretty fast (1 hour in a 0.5 Amp computer USB port with the screen off), so I'm thinking of charging it while I take a shower and at the office.

    I've yet to explore the fitness app for running and other built-in apps but I am certainly looking forward to the future with my Summit 2 watch.