Sunday, October 21, 2018

That's What Makes a Horserace

So as I continue to wear and enjoy the benefits of the NOWA connected watch, I just received the latest release from Montblanc, and to be honest, I think we have now reached a point where we have over-thought, over-developed, and dare I say it - over-engineered the idea of a watch.

Courtesy of Montblanc

My memaw Theo had an expression about differences of opinion, and how to voice an opinion without really voicing it (and hopefully avoid offending those in the opposite camp).

I am of a few minds when it comes to Montblanc and their watches.  I am in a weird place about it personally, because I count a guy who in many ways really blazed the trail for their watch making division  as a personal friend.  And hence I know what has gone into the real creation of Montblanc.  And although I have been somewhat guilty of it in the past, I recently find that I no longer feel that a company or brand must "stay in its lane".  In many ways Montblanc has done a great deal to grow beyond just pens.  And I am currently saving up for this item to shepherd Tempus Fugit and New Romantics communications and dossiers -

Courtesy of Montblanc

So to be very clear, I think that Montblanc does have a very cool product selection, and has elegantly grown to a more expansive luxury brand.

Having said that, this particular venture with a smart watch has perhaps outgrown the original idea.  

Courtesy of Montblanc
At the heart of the idea of a smart watch, is the idea that it will give us vital information that might make our lives easier, or help us live better.  Ways that a connected or smart watch can do this?  Different time zones, GPS tracking systems that can be used for children or senior citizens, alarms, notifications of important messages, sleep tracking or steps (i.e. physical activity).  

But somewhere after the Apple Watch made its debut, there seemed to be a belief that your watch should be able to do everything except (perhaps) make toast and coffee.

Now coffee for me is a very important part of every day life.  Coffee, in many ways, is a personal ritual.  It is also a social connector.  So I was a bit curious as to why I would need a smart / connected watch to tell me that I have had too much coffee?  Now, if there was an app in the phone that could ping me when I am in range of an awesome cafe?  Now that I would pay for ; )

I guess my point is this, it is now, perhaps, too much information that we are trying to funnel through such a small portal.  It is not a practical way to gather, store and disseminate.  And to manage all of these functions in a meaningful way?  It's going to take away (not add) several hours a week to your free time.  Technology that is designed to improve your life should do just that.  At this point, I have to question whether we have now over-shot the runway.

Finally, it is expensive for an item (like a cell phone) that has obsolescence already factored into its lifespan.  $995 US.  This is not a watch that you will hand down to others.  It will have a lifespan, then it will be consigned to landfill.  And this is not unique to Montblanc, Tag, or Apple.  It is just the reality of this type of watch.

But as always, here are the pertinents straight from the source, and you can judge for yourself -

#StayAhead With Summit 2: Montblanc Redefines Connected Elegance With Its New Smartwatch
  • Bridging fine watchmaking and state-of-the-art technology
  • Brand new 42mm case designed for both men and women includes the new Qualcomm
    Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset and exciting new features
  • Summit 2 is the ultimate wearable built for work, leisure, fitness or travel, accompanying today’s
    achievers through their everyday adventures
  • Includes the new Timeshifter® app and watch face – an effective way to reduce jet lag
    Named after its ambition to be a wearable companion that keeps its owner ahead in all aspects of life, Summit 2 is a new digital interpretation of fine watchmaking that seamlessly brings together the Swiss design codes of traditional timepieces, premium materials and brand-new technology. First launched in 2017 as luxury smartwatch with a distinctively classic and vintage look, the latest edition of Montblanc’s signature smartwatch features a more compact unisex 42mm case size that delivers the feeling of a mechanical watch on its owner’s wrist while offering innovative new features. Powered by advanced technologies on the market, Summit 2 is the first luxury smartwatch to feature the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset by Qualcommfor enhanced performance, improved battery life and a weeklong time-only mode. The latest Wear OS by Google powers Summit 2 with iOS and Android smartphones.

“Built for travel, fitness or exploration, Summit 2 is a versatile companion created for urban explorers, business travellers and performance seekers looking to push boundaries in everything they do,” explains Nicolas Baretzki, Montblanc CEO. “These high achieving individuals want to be connected at all times with easy access to functional features and apps that allow them to always stay ahead and be productive on-the-go, while still enjoying the experience of wearing a fine timepiece. Whether work, leisure, fitness or travel, Summit 2 is built to seamlessly power them through their everyday adventures stylishly and reliably.”
Inspired by the design codes of the Montblanc 1858 collection, the new iteration of Summit offers several design expressions, from the classic elegance of 1858 and the vintage sophistication of the Summit, from the feminine allure of Bohème Date and Bohème Classic variations to the sporty Energy and Fitness styles designed for peak performance and physical activity.
With the built-in watch face configurator, over a thousand watch face combinations are possible by customizing indicators, background, hands and complications.
The different case finishes – black DLC steel, stainless steel, bicolour steel and titanium Grade 2 – can be combined with 11 different interchangeable strap options including calfskin, Milanese steel, rubber sport and nylon, to create a total of over 70,000 individual looks across the Summit 2 assortment. Each timepiece is fitted with a rotating crown and two additional programmable pushers.
Montblanc Summit 2 | New Technologies

A Companion for Urban Exploration
  • With the help of the Google Assistant, users will get proactive, personalized assistance like their flight status or upcoming reservations. They can also use the watch's microphone, to ask for help or get directions or translations. The Google Assistant can also manage tasks like setting reminders or checking your heart rate.
  • All notifications – including incoming calls, messages, social media updates, calendar events, news and more - are directly synced to the Montblanc Summit 2 from a smartphone. When there isn’t time to start typing a reply on the smartphone, the Montblanc Summit 2 offers built-in smart replies and other quick ways to respond with handwriting, keyboard or voice dictation.
  • The always-on colour ambient mode allows for the watch faces to be visible at all times, while delivering a full day of battery life running Wear OS by Google. The battery life can be extended by an additional 3 - 5 days by deactivating smartwatch functionality while still showing the time at a flick of the wrist.
    Making Travel A Seamless Adventure
  • Summit 2’s exclusive travel functions include the new Timeshifter® app and watch face, providing personalized advice to minimize jet lag based on the traveller’s sleep pattern, chronotype, and flight plan. Used by astronauts and elite athletes, and based on the latest in sleep and circadian neuroscience, Timeshifter provides timely updates and instructions directly on the Summit 2 watch face, helping travellers to adjust fast to a new time zone.
  • The new Montblanc exclusive Travel Info app provides relevant local traveller information.
  • The practical voice-activated translator gives its user direct translations from a multitude of languages directly to the watch’s display, making travelling in foreign countries simpler than ever.

• With the addition of Google Pay, meals, tickets and new experiences can be purchased in a fast easy way, without cash.
Reaching New Heights of Fitness
  • Achieving peak physical performance is a key function of Summit 2. The exclusive Montblanc Running Coach app, powered by scientific insight from the Firstbeat* analytics engine, enables runners to track fitness levels (based on VO2max) and specify a fitness goal which translates into a personalized training plan built around ideal efforts and recovery times.
  • The integrated live coach provides the right pace and intensity level during training to help users reach their fitness goals.
  • Summit 2 features an improved Heart Rate Algorithm and 5 ATM water-resistance making it resilient to swimming. The integrated GPS allows navigation and more precise fitness tracking when away from the phone.
    *Firstbeat is a registered trademark of Firstbeat Technologies Oy
    Summit 2 is available from October 15th 2018. For further information, visit

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