3 smartwatches to consider

Looks like a real timepiece

1. Montblanc Summit 2
1. Montblanc Summit 2

Montblanc, the German luxury brand renowned for its writing instruments and leather bags, has just released a successor to its Summit smartwatch from last year.

Known as Summit 2, it is the first Wear OS by Google smartwatch to be powered by Qualcomm's new Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor. The new chipset is said to provide better performance and battery life.

The Summit 2 has built-in GPS for tracking runs as well as an improved built-in heart rate sensor. It has also improved on the IP68 water-resistance rating of the original, by being water-resistant to a depth of 50m - so you can swim with it.

It also has Near Field Communication capability, which was lacking in the original. Thus, you can use Google Pay to make payments with the smartwatch.

Appearance-wise, it looks pretty much like the original, but smaller. While the original has a 46mm case, the Summit 2 features a 42mm one.

In addition, the Summit 2 comes with two additional buttons on the two o'clock and four o'clock positions. These two buttons can be customised as shortcuts to your favourite functions.

By default, the top button is used for the watch's exclusive Montblanc Running Coach app, which lets runners track their fitness levels based on maximal oxygen uptake, or VO2max. The bottom button is used for Google Pay.

The crown - at the three o'clock position - is now rotatable, so you can adjust settings without touching and blocking the 1.2-inch circular Amoled display that is protected by curved sapphire glass. The display looks sharp with both text and picture notifications looking gorgeous.

  • SPECS

  • PRICE: From $1,495

    COMPATIBILITY: Smartphones running Android 4.4 and above or iOS 9.3 and above

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Near Field Communication

    WATER RESISTANCE: 50m

    WEIGHT: 84g (stainless steel case with calfskin leather strap)

  • RATING

  • FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

There are different case finishes to choose from - namely, black steel, stainless steel, two-tone steel and titanium. There are 11 interchangeable 22mm strap options including Milanese steel, rubber sport and calfskin leather. For this review, we tested the stainless steel version with the black calfskin leather strap.

I usually prefer bigger watches, but the Summit 2 is the right size for my wrist. The smoothness of the case and leather strap makes for comfortable wearing over long periods.

Furthermore, the Summit 2 looks like a mechanical watch and drew plenty of compliments from my friends and acquaintances. This might be due to the official Montblanc watch faces, which take after their analogue cousins like 1858 Collection. They make it look like a real timepiece. These watch faces have an always-on display (AOD) function.

But Montblanc seems to be going big on fitness with the Running Coach app. You need to do a 20-minute workout to allow the watch to get your fitness score using VO2max. After that is done, the app will offer workout recommendations and show you whether you are having optimal training.

However, the leather strap is not ideal for workouts. You probably need to get the rubber sport strap ($190) for that.

 
 
 

On my usual 5km jogs, I found that the Summit 2 tracked around 200m more than the actual distance - pretty accurate. Not to mention, it took the watch only five seconds to get a GPS signal in an open area.

For steps tracking, the Summit 2 tracked about 5.5 per cent more steps than my Apple Watch Series 2.

Battery life depends on the watch face and whether AOD is turned on. Using the 1858 Collection watch face with AOD turned on, it had 23 per cent battery life left at the end of a day. With the same watch face but AOD turned off, this improved to 69 per cent.

• Verdict: The Montblanc Summit 2 rectifies the major flaws of the original and provides the perfect template for a luxury smartwatch done right.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2018, with the headline 'Looks like a real timepiece'. Print Edition | Subscribe