The luxury smartwatch has been a tough nut to crack; just ask Apple, who discontinued its $20,000 gold Watch Edition, and Tag Heuer, who no longer gives the Connected the attention it deserves.
But no matter, as Garmin thinks it has the answer in the form of a new smartwatch collection called Marq. There are five different models in the Marq range, each with unique hardware and software to make them stand apart from one another, and give them individual specialist features.
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Although the design and headline features of each vary, all members of the Marq range have a titanium case with sapphire crystal, an always-on display, GPS, a heart rate monitor, support for tracking running, cycling and swimming, and battery life ranging from 48 hours to a claimed 12 days, depending on how it is used.
At the top of the range there's the $2,500 Driver, a smartwatch aimed at racing drivers and which has the layouts of 250 race circuits pre-loaded into its software. That way, along with the watch's GPS chip, the wearable can automatically record your lap times and average speed without you touching it.
The Driver also features a titanium body with carbon coating and a ceramic bezel inlay. A mechanical wristwatch with these materials would certainly command a four-figure price tag, and there's no denying the Garmin looks good, in a classically-attractive kind of way.
Next up, we have the $1,950 Marq Aviator, a smartwatch aimed at pilots with aviation maps, airport information and weather maps available with a tap. Then there's the $1,850 Captain, which is aimed to boating fans and has coastal charts, access to data on port conditions, along with weather and tide information.
Rounding out the range are the $1,750 Expedition with its topography data, barometer and altimeter, and the Athlete, which costs $1,500 and is a comprehensive fitness- and exercise-tracking wearable.
It is important to point out that the features mentioned above are unique to each model, so if you want a watch that can record your lap times and offer a barometer, then you're out of luck.
That said, each model is genuinely attractive - at least to our eyes - and we're especially keen on the Captain with its blue metal bezel and matching strap. The Aviator too is a strong looker, with its aesthetics resembling those of a pilot's or diving watch, complete with bezel, buttons at two, four, seven and ten o'clock, and a metal strap.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that none of these watches are certified for diving. They offer water resistance to 100 meters, which is pretty good for a smartwatch, but in reality you shouldn't take them much deeper than a swimming pool.
Will these watches be a success for Garmin? Will they prise open the door of the luxury smartwatch market, with established brands like Omega and Rolex ready to pounce? That conclusion seems unlikely, but if they appeal to the few people who bought a Tag Heuer Connected and fancy something more specialist to replace it - and one running custom software, not Google's ageing Wear OS, then Garmin could be onto something.
the fitness tracker buying guide video - GearBrain www.youtube.com