In the Army, a specialist is a soldier who specializes in a certain trade. It works well for the Army, but we not sure if will work just as well for smartwatches. Regardless, that appears to be where Garmin is headed with its new line of MARQ series of GPS smartwatches. Altogether, there are 5 “specialist” smartwatches, namely MARQ Aviator, MARQ Driver, MARQ Captain, MARQ Expedition and MARQ Athlete. Each has its own distinctive design, features and functionality.
As the respective model name suggests, Aviator is for flying, Driver for racing, Captain for sailing, while Expedition and Athlete are for exploration and sports respectively. With this new line, Garmin is also stepping into a domain that is not usually synonymous with GPS watchmaker: the luxury watch market. The thing is, unless it is a GPS equipment for your boat, you will not imagine yourself shelling out $1,500-2,500 for an adventure specific GPS smartwatch. And no, that’s not a typo. That is how much these watches command.
So what Garmin has got to justify the premium stickers? Well, premium materials, of course, and “design elements and unique features.” Each watch is built with titanium to take advantage of the material’s lightweight and strong properties and it has sapphire crystal “formed under extreme heat and pressure” to result in an optic that is said to be twice as hard as glass. Twice only, huh? I was expecting more. Anyways, sapphire is also known to be naturally scratch resistant. And then there is the ceramic bezel inlay to protect the watch from wear and tear even in the most challenging environments.
Other common features include an always-on, sunlight-readable display with GPS, built-in music storage, Garmin Pay, smart notifications, daily activity tracking, a rechargeable battery good for 12-48 hours use, and heart rate and Pulse OX oxygen sensor.
Here are the five watches and the watch-specific features:
- Built-in aviation maps
- Built-in Nexrad Weather
- Airport information
- Airport code on watch face
- Garmin cockpit integration
- GMT bezel for quick access to 2 other time zones
- Pre-loaded with 250+ famous race tracks
- Auto lap splits
- Live delta time
- Track timer for timing cars at race track and compute average speed
- Carbon gray DLC coating
- High vibration resistant
- Regatta timer bezel
- Coastal charts
- Tack assist
- Port conditions on watch face
- Watch face with data like current wind speed, temperature and tide info
- Saltwater-friendly Jacquard weave strap
- TOPO mapping
- Built-in altimeter, barometer and compass
- ClimbPro for real-time info on current and upcoming climbs with data like gradient, distance and elevation gain
- Compatibility with inReach Mini satellite communicator via wireless unit-to-unit connectivity
- Vegetable tanned Italian vacchetta leather
- Waxed stitching on thread to keep moisture out
- V02 max and recovery time scale on bezel
- Advanced running dynamics to track workout stats, measure progress and fine-tune form
- Sensors for various biometrics, including Pulse Ox
- Maps for locating the best running or cycling route
- Silicone strap
Basically, the Athlete is nothing more than a glorified fitness tracker that lets fitness fanatics/sports person to take the fitness band from the track/field to a black tie event. A very expensive fitness tracker if I may add. The MARQ Athlete costs $1,500 and it is the cheapest in the line up. The price becomes progressively expensive as it moves up the list above.
Strangely, though, the Driver is pricier than the Aviator which goes for $1,950. The Driver is the dearest, coming in at $2,500. As for the Captain, it will retail for $1,850 and the Expedition, $1,750. Anyone who’s into the sports of aviation, sailing and racing will probably have no qualm with this “specialist” GPS smartwatches that are in realm of luxury watches, but I don’t see how outdoor adventurers and athletes would want shell out that kind of money.
Seriously, what are you guys thinking, Garmin? I would love to pick your brain on this. Anyways, Garmin MARQ GPS Smartwatches are expected to hit the stores sometime in Q2 2019. In the meantime, you can learn more at the MARQ page.
All images courtesy of Garmin.