For the 20th anniversary of the Naruto anime and manga, luxury brand Montblanc is releasing a limited-edition version of its Summit 3 Wear OS 3 smartwatch featuring the titular character. It costs $1,570.
The Montblanc x Naruto Summit 3 smartwatch features “exciting Naruto animations” on the watchface and comes in Naruto-inspired packaging. The watch case also has engraved kunai, Naruto’s weapon of choice, as well as a leather strap embossed with the Konohagakure symbol. The pushers, meanwhile, feature the uzumaki spiral and the kanji for oil, which is featured on the forehead protector of Naruto’s mentor Jiraiya. One could say it’s a smartwatch for the sophisticated anime nerd.
One could say it’s a smartwatch for the sophisticated anime nerd
As far as specs go, the Naruto Summit 3 isn’t that different from the regular one, which “only” costs $1,290. Both have the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus chip, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage and run Wear OS 3 right out of the box. (In fact, this Naruto watch is one of only a handful of smartwatches that come with Google’s latest wearable software preloaded.) It’s also got a steel case, sapphire crystal display, and has 5ATM of water resistance. It’s got all the basic health and motion sensors. For connectivity, it’s got Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, and NFC for contactless payments.
Why, you may be wondering, is a luxury company primarily known for fancy pens doing this? In a press release, Montblanc CEO Nicolas Baretzki writes:
“Naruto is a cultural phenomenon that appeals across generations because it addresses life lessons in a dynamic, compelling and accessible way. One of those lessons is the value that comes from the transmission of knowledge, a theme that is closely connected to Montblanc’s own heritage in handwriting and its ongoing mission to inspire people to leave their mark on the world in a meaningful and purposeful way.”
The Naruto team has, apparently, also created an anime short depicting this, featuring Jiraiya reflecting on Naruto’s journey while writing his thoughts about “what it really means to be a ninja” with a fountain pen. What this has to do with smartwatches is anyone’s guess.
Montblanc is just the latest company to come out with Naruto-themed gadgets. HyperX released a limited-edition Naruto: Shippuden gaming peripheral collection in September. Then, there was the Realme GT Neo 3 Naruto Edition phone.
The devotion of diehard collectors cannot be underestimated. And Naruto fans are nothing if not loyal. (You’d have to be to sit through what feels like 400 episodes of filler and 15 years of the manga.) But overall, I could do without this trend of luxury smartwatch makers slapping a beloved character on a so-so smartwatch for an exorbitant price. Last year, Tag Heuer made a $2,150 Super Mario Wear OS smartwatch that sold like hotcakes. That version ran on the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip right before Wear OS 3 launched on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 lineup.
Ah well. At least the Naruto smartwatch is running current software.