Garmin’s $1,500-plus Marq GPS smartwatches tackle the posh watch world

Garmin is taking its fitness-focused smartwatches in a more premium direction with its new Marq line. It’s a series of luxury watches that will cost between $1,500 to $2,500, and they are targeting the high-end watch market that might ordinarily spring for an upscale mechanical watch like a Rolex, Breitling, or Omega instead.

To that end, Garmin is releasing five smartwatches in the Marq line, each is meant to fill a different role where traditional timepieces would typically live, including driving, piloting a plane, boating, and hiking. Garmin’s also following in the footsteps of companies like Tag Heuer and Louis Vuitton by offering the build quality, materials, and price of a high-end mechanical watch merged with the internals and flexibility of a smartwatch. So while each of the Marq watches has different unique features, they all share titanium cases, sapphire crystal, and Garmin’s suite of smartwatch features, like notifications, activity tracking, heart rate sensors, and built-in music storage.

The five watches are as follows:

The watches look pretty nice. Each has a design meant for the particular field (the aviator looks like a pilot watch, for example). But by limiting the unique functions and apps to the specific models, it feels like Garmin is sort of missing the point of having these watches also be smartwatches. The biggest downside to a mechanical watch is that a pilot watch will never be useful for say, diving since it lacks the physical complications and dials to track that kind of data.

A smartwatch doesn’t have those. In theory, there’s no reason why all of these watches couldn’t run all of these apps, creating a tool watch that works for every type of function instead of splitting them up across five models. As it is now, they feel stuck weirdly in the middle. Garmin’s watches lack the longevity and style of a mechanical counterpart, but they are needlessly stuck with many of the boxed-in limitations. Still, it’s interesting to see yet another smartwatch manufacturer take a shot at the luxury watch world.

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