Display: 1.28-inch AMOLED (416 x 416)
Size: 1.65 x 0.55 inches
Battery life (est.): 18-24 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, NFC
Compatibility: iOS, Android
Timepiece traditionalists might finally find a worthy smartwatch in the Montblanc Summit 3. The $1,290 wearable promises all the craftsmanship of a sophisticated wristwatch with the smarts of a connected experience powered by Wear OS 3.
It’s actually the first Wear OS 3 smartwatch I’ve gone hands-on with since my Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review, because the other Wear OS 3 smartwatches running on the same Snapdragon 4100+ chipset found in the Montblanc Summit 3 have yet to receive the full software upgrade. I’m betting that’ll change with the launch of the Google Pixel Watch; but, for now, the Summit 3 lets me step out in some swanky Wear OS wrist-candy.
The burning question: is it the ultimate smartwatch splurge or just a pretty face? I’ll need to conduct a full Montblanc Summit 3 review to come to a conclusion. In the meantime, here are my first impressions and what we know spec-wise about the latest Montblanc device.
Montblanc Summit 3 price and availability
The Montblanc Summit 3 is available now directly from Montblanc for $1,290 / €1,250. That price isn’t one I see often among the best smartwatches, though there is a small collection of luxury brands that notably offer high-end Wear OS watches. The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition ($1,800) comes to mind as one I’ve tested. And a handful of Garmin devices are nearly as costly with the most premium spec configurations.
Montblanc Summit 3 hands-on: Design
Unlike the Apple Watch 7’s modern, sporty-looking design, the Montblanc Summit 3 drips in a degree of European elegance. It comes in a singular 42mm size with three finishes: silver, black and bi-color titanium. The case’s subtle texture is supposedly etched by hand, while the insignia on the digital crown and backside details are other bits of finesse that stood out when I tried on the smartwatch.
Perhaps more so than even the best Apple Watch bands, the straps seem integral to the Monblanc Summit 3 experience. Each watch comes with two bands, an activity-friendly rubber option and a hand-stitched leather strap. They can be swapped out with a slew of other straps from Montblanc depending on your preference, some replicating styles you might find on non-smart Montblanc watches.
Watch faces are another standout Summit 3 design feature. There are 11 watch faces, ranging from timeless to techy. All the faces can be customized by background color, hands, complications and more. A few in particular can be personalized to the extent that even those who’d never think to replace their timepiece with a smartwatch might appreciate. With the always-on mode, I could see many mistaking the gadget for a regular 'ole wristwatch.
Montblanc Summit 3 hands-on: Wear OS 3
As a Wear OS 3 watch, the Summit 3’s interface is one I’m pretty familiar with. It navigates less like the One Watch UI or Samsung skin found on the Galaxy Watch 4 and more like Fossil and Mobvoi wearables. There’s no digital bezel, but a series of swipes and the set of side buttons made it easy enough to find menus and apps. Apps can be downloaded from the Google Play Store, and you’ll find familiar programs like Spotify and Strava.
Oddly, the Summit 3 uses its own health-tracking apps (instead of Google Fit) to let you see your heart rate, steps, sleep, stress, SpO2, and body energy data, as well as your mid-workout metrics. While you can review your data in each of the respective wellness apps on the watch, there isn’t yet a way to see your collected data in a single interface on your wrist or in the companion Montblanc app. That said, according to the company the Summit 3’s health data will be viewable in the smartphone Montblanc app and sync with Apple Health or Google Fit starting in September.
I don’t see the MontBlanc Summit 3 being a suitable fitness-tracking smartwatch. Despite the durable design, the overall appearance doesn’t welcome being roughed up in the gym or great outdoors. Instead, I imagine it is better for things like sleep-tracking and step-counting, though I’ll need to try those out to see how the data compares to the Apple Watch Series 7, Fitbit Sense and other smartwatches I regularly use.
Beyond fitness-tracking, the watch has NFC for mobile payments (via Google Pay) and some other welcome programs like Google Maps. But there’s no Google Assistant, or any voice assistant for that matter, which I’d consider a drawback. Luckily, you can still dictate texts and answer phone calls from your wrist if you’re paired to an Android phone. Those with an iPhone can also set up the Summit 3 from the Wear OS app and benefit from most of the watch’s features. That’s more than can be said for the Galaxy Watch 4 and what we know of the Google Pixel Watch’s compatibility options.
Montblanc Summit 3 hands-on: Battery life
Montblanc hasn’t published specific battery life estimates for the Summit 3, but representatives told me to expect a day of battery life and a full charge in an hour. That’s on pace with quite a number of smartwatches with an always-on display, workout tracking and incoming notifications. I’ll need to test out the stamina myself to see just how long it actually lasts, or whether it keeps up with my day-to-day activities.
Montblanc Summit 3 outlook
A part of me suspects the Summit 3 prioritizes form over function, but that might not be a bad thing. It’s OK for style to be at the center of the experience sometimes, if that’s what you’re most concerned about. The smartwatch is an intimate device designed to be on you at all times, so it’s natural to want something that looks great. The Summit 3 certainly hits that mark while offering minor conveniences like message notifications and mobile payments.
Is it as full-featured as more familiar smartwatches? No, which makes it sound like a swindle for the $1,290 price. But I don’t think anyone is buying the Montblanc Summit 3 to get an industry-leading smartwatch — they want a beautiful Montblanc-brand timepiece with some handy smarts on the side.