With its newest line of smartwatches, the Marq collection, Garmin asks: will the same kinds of people who buy high-end mechanical watches spend the same amount of money on something with a digital interface?
This question isn’t a new one. Both Tag Heuer and Montblanc have attempted to do this with their Connected and Summit 2 respectively. But Garmin’s approach here is novel. Rather than trying to produce one watch that can be everything to everyone, they’ve borrowed from the world of mechanical watchmaking and produced five smartwatches that are each designed for specific activities — flying, sailing, driving, hiking and working out.
Each watch is distinct from one another both in terms of its case design, and the actual functions built into the digital guts of the watch. The Driver, for instance, is pre-loaded with 250 race tracks and features a tachymeter bezel while the Captain watch has coastal charts, tide and weather information as well as port conditions. Prefer flying? The Aviator has weather maps, airport information and aviation maps built in. And for the more active, the Expedition has a barometer, altimeter, topographic mapping and even worldwide messaging (provided the right setup); the Athlete displays heart rate and other performance details.
Of course, the MARQ collection’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. One watch’s functionality doesn’t easily translate over to another sport, which is to say that if you’re both a gym rat and a petrol head, you’ll have to either choose between one of the watches in this line. Prices range from 1,500 to $2,500.
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