I don’t spend $1,500 on watches, but there are many who do. Garmin’s latest line of specialized watches look like they’re designed for high-end boutiques, rather than your local running gear store. The newly-announced MARQ line of “tool watches” seem pretty interesting-looking. They’re also pretty expensive.
Garmin’s line of GPS smartwatches previously cracked the $900 barrier with a luxury Fenix running watch, but the MARQ series costs between $1,500 and $2,500, shooting above even the price of watches such as the Wear OS Montblanc Summit 2 (a mere $995 in comparison) and matching the $1,600 Tag Heuer Connected smartwatch.
The MARQ series, according to Garmin, is all about offering specific feature sets in unique luxury models, like top-end watches. It’s an interesting approach. All five watches have features that are intended for a particular purpose (hence the “tool watch.”) They seem thoughtfully designed with features similar to what you’d find on high-end watches: The complications are tuned to real, useful functions, as opposed to a more generic fitness watch approach.
Five watches, though! It’s a lot to digest. Here’s a rundown, based on Garmin’s press information.
The MARQ Aviator has aviation maps, plus “Nexrad Weather Radar, airport information and Garmin cockpit integration.”
The MARQ Driver, with a titanium and silicone band, comes loaded with maps for 250 famous race tracks. It has “auto lap splits, live delta time and a track timer.”
The MARQ Captain, a nautical watch, has a regatta timer bezel, shows wind speed, tide and temperature. It also comes with a port conditions watch face, can show coastal charts and can aid in tack assist.
The MARQ Expedition connects with Garmin’s separately sold satellite communicator, InReach Mini, plus “TOPO mapping, a built-in altimeter, barometer and compass, plus ClimbPro, which provides real-time information on current and upcoming climbs such as gradient, distance and elevation gain.”
The MARQ Athlete is the closest to Garmin’s other fitness watches, with VO2 Max readouts and recovery on the watch face, “running dynamics,” and pulse oximetry readings.
Garmin promises 12 days of battery life in smartwatch mode, 28 hours when using GPS and 48 hours in a more battery-saving UltraTrac GPS mode. All the watches are made of titanium with sapphire crystal and ceramic bezels. They have always-on displays, GPS, music playback, heart rate and pulse oximetry, like Garmin’s recent fitness smartwatches.
Did there need to be five? Could there have just been one that did all of these things? How do you choose which super-expensive luxury smartwatch to get? I have no idea, because I haven’t worn one yet.
The watches will be available in Q2, meaning they’re likely arriving soon.