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Release: Garmin Goes Full Luxury With New Garmin MARQ Release

Garmin just dropped a very luxurious watch release on the (Garmin) watch community. One worthy to be shared here as well. Garmin, which already occupies the upper price bracket of GPS and sports watches, just moved up a tier with the release of a brand new family of GPS watches called simply: MARQ. 

Garmin has been absolutely knocking it out of the park with the better sport watches for a long time now, and they have dabbed into the hyper luxury sportswatch before with for example the Garmin Chronos (which was priced above 1.5K). Now however, they are clearly determined to go all in. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they start showing up at Baselworld in the near future. 

Here’s what they have released today:

MARQ Athlete – $1500: Focused on the sports crowd
MARQ Expedition – $1750: Focused on the slightly more adventurous sportscrowd
MARQ Captain – $1850: For  those with more marine related ambitions
MARQ Aviator – $1950: Need I explain?
MARQ Driver – $2500: What the title says.

“For the past 30 years, we’ve created products that have fueled people’s passions,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales. “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.”

While I haven’t had the pleasure to handle these in person yet, I’m very familiar with Garmin watches and these are all essentially ‘luxury’ pieces of existing lines. The MARQ Athlete is very clearly inspired by the Garmin Fenix 5 (see our hands-on here), which is arguably one of the best athlete focused watches on the market. The same rings true for the other lines. Admittedly, I believe the Driver is a completely new avenue for them with no obvious predecessor.

These are not just expensive smartwatches however. Garmin has clearly gone to great lengths to use the best materials they could get their sporty hands on to produce these watches. The watches are made out of titanium and all feature a sapphire crystal. In addition, they have also introduced ceramic bezels for all these watches. In addition  “the watches feature an always-on, sunlight-readable display with GPS and premium smartwatch functionality, including built-in music storage, Garmin Pay™, smart notifications, daily activity tracking1, as well as wrist-based heart rate and a wrist-based pulse ox2 sensor. All watches are compatible with Garmin’s QuickFit solution for quickly and easily changing between different straps and bracelets. The battery life of the MARQ series ranges from 12 days in smartwatch mode to 28 hours in GPS Mode and up to 48 hours in UltraTrac™ mode.”

My initial thoughts here, until I can get a hands-on with these watches, is much the same as when Garmin released the Chronos a while ago: Can you put a price like that on a watch which will be very much outdated in the matter of a couple of years? Apple tried in the past with its luxury apple watches, yet even they have  apparently shelved the idea for now.

When for example TAG released their smart watch, they understood this and allowed users (for a price) to ‘upgrade’ their smartwatch after a while to a full blown mechanical wristwatch. I thought that was a very clever idea. With Garmin however, this won’t be the case. They’re essentially betting that today’s market doesn’t need a watch to retire with, they are aiming at a segment that wants the most luxurious (and possibly best) sports watch money can buy, and upgrade when necessary. 

That said, in today’s market, where we see even a tool such as a Smart Phone costs over 1.5K, perhaps Garmin knows something we don’t and this will be a massive hit. I for one can’t predict the future, but I am going to keep a very close eye on this as I do believe Garmin puts out an impressively high quality watch for more than a few years now. Luxury smartwatches are simply a reality and it makes perfect sense for Garmin to be at the forefront battling it out with the other watch brands.

Images courtesy of Garmin International

1 comment

  1. I think you kind of hit the nail on the head when mentioning that even Apple had abandoned this route, and they don’t exactly shy away from extreme pricing strategies.

    Curious to see where this goes, but I’m sticking with the Fenix series for now (plenty expensive on its own by the way).

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