Hey, you know what we really need? A bunch of highly-specific smartwatches, tailored to one of several very specific activities. Just kidding, you never need anything like that. Unless you’re making a living doing said activities, we guess. Wanting them, though? That’s another story. And we certainly want to give Garmin’s new MARQ line of connected tool watches a closer look.
Launched as part of Garmin’s 30th (we know, right?), the so-called MARQ Collection involves five specialised smartwatches. They’ve all got something in common, besides the Garmin branding. Garmin’s stuffed them with an always-on display, GPS and sports sensors (for HR and ox² tracking), offline storage for music files, Garmin Pay, and notification support. Because that’s just what we need: more notifications. Oh, and up to 12 days of battery life (28 hours in GPS mode — which also isn’t bad). But it’s the specifics that set the MARQ device apart.
Land, air, sea
The first three devices cover enough ground to qualify you as a Navy SEAL (disclaimer: owning one of these will not qualify you as a Navy SEAL). First up is the Driver, a wrist-tool that has been optimised for tracking race times. There’s a Track Timer that gives users average speeds, lap splits, live delta time, and a few more things besides. It’s also got data from more than 250 tracks around the world, so you should be able to keep tabs on your favourite driver in real time, wherever you are.
Those more keen on goings-on in the air can opt for the MARQ Aviator, which supports several time zones (essential for those international pilots), features maps with airport info and then Direct-To-Navigation, Nexrad Weather Radar, an airport database, and integration with the cockpit. Just what this entails isn’t explained but if you’re qualified to fly a plane you can probably figure it out.
The next stop in our watch tour is the Captain. Guess who that’s for? The MARQ Captain has a crop of water-going features, like timing for regattas (including time to burn and tack assist — sailors, this probably makes more sense to you than us). Also included are tide, temperature, and wind-speed info — all essentials if you’re anywhere near the water for any length of time. We’re including surfers and fishermen here as well, though they don’t need to know how the boat works unless they’re preceded by the word ‘Captain’.
Out and about
For something a little less easily categorised, we’ve got the Garmin MARQ Expedition and Athlete. Pretty sure that last one’s just a fancy Fenix but anyway…
The Expedition is aimed at those who regularly climb mountains or raid tombs or whatever funds their flights of fancy. It’s got mapping features, an altimeter, barometer and a compass, and is compatible with the company’s inReach Mini satellite communicator. Which makes this just the thing you want to wear when your cargo plane goes down over a deserted island and you need to contact the rich explorer’s version of Uber.
And then there’s the Athlete. Garmin hasn’t explained much about the extra internals but it has the ability to keep tabs on VO2 max, recovery time, as well as advanced running tracking. There are a range of biometric sensors present as well. Again, you could probably scoop up a Garmin Fenix for less than the price of one of these but it’s not going to look quite as stylish. In fact, these specialised devices are all rather attractive. But then, they’d have to be given the expected prices.
Oh, hi MARQ
Garmin has said that the MARQ watches are coming to South Africa, though a timeline and pricing hasn’t been made known. Since pricing overseas runs between $1,500 (around R21,650) and $2,500 (about R36,000) for Garmin’s specialised wristwear, we’re expecting costs here at home to be similar.