Garmin enters the luxury smartwatch market with its classy Marq range
If you've not yet been tempted to buy yourself a smartwatch, Garmin's new Marq range might get you to part with your cash – as long as you've got plenty of it. With a starting price of US$1,500, these timepieces are very much at the luxury end of the market.
You do get some stylish looks and some premium materials for your money, with the Marq watches sporting titanium casings, sapphire crystal screens (apparently twice as strong as glass), and ceramic bezels. They've been launched to mark Garmin's 30th anniversary.
"For the past 30 years, we've created products that have fueled people's passions," Garmin's Dan Bartel said in a press statement. "And now, we have reimagined the tool watch with Marq, a series of extraordinary smart instruments, authentic in every detail, an inspiration for new adventures."
There are five different watches in the range, all of which feature built-in GPS, activity tracking, a heart rate monitor, and a pulse oximeter for measuring oxygen levels (useful for analyzing everything from sleep to workouts). Garmin is promising between 28 hours and 12 days of battery life, depending on how aggressively you're using these features.
The Marq Aviator is aimed at pilots or aviation enthusiasts, with integrated aviation maps, support for multiple time zones, and the ability to display airport codes. It includes advanced safety features such as weather radar forecasts, as well as integration with Garmin's professional cockpit solutions.
For the car enthusiasts, there's the Marq Driver. It comes preloaded with data on 250 famous race tracks around the world, track timer features, and average speed readings, and features a more lightweight design for the pressures of a racing car cockpit.
The Marq Captain is the watch for those who prefer the water to a racetrack – you get all kinds of features for sailors, like a regatta timer bezel, coastal charts, tack assist, details of port conditions, and information on current wind speeds, temperatures and tides. Again the strap has been tweaked, this time to add extra saltwater resistance.
Garmin's more affordable smartwatches cater for walkers, hikers and outdoor adventurers, and so does the Marq Expedition. The device comes with topological maps, an altimeter, a compass, a barometer, and real-time climbing information. The strap is specially designed to repel moisture and avoid fraying.
Finally, there's the Garmin Athlete, with a VO2 max and recovery time scale built right into the bezel, advanced running statistics, and a breathable strap that is better suited to intense exercise. If you want to do your running with a smartwatch strapped to your wrist, the Garmin Athlete might fit the bill.
The Athlete is the cheapest of the Marq series at $1,500, with the Marq Expedition costing $1,750, the Marq Captain priced at $1,850, and the Marq Aviator retailing for $1,950. At the top of the pile the Marq Driver is selling for $2,500. All the smartwatches can be preordered now, with shipping in the second quarter of the year.
Product page: Garmin