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Luxury Garmin Marq smartwatches are even more focused than the Apple Watch Ultra

Luxury traditional watches that serve, or are designed to look like they serve, a specific purpose are common, but Garmin’s Marq range always stood out because it brought that “luxury tool watch” approach to smartwatches. Now Garmin is back with the second generation of its Marq smartwatches and there are five models in all, each designed to work best in different environments.

Garmin's range of 2nd generation Marq smartwatches.

The five models are the Marq Athlete, the Marq Adventurer, the Marq Golfer, the Marq Aviator, and the Marq Captain. The names are mostly self-explanatory, with the Aviator being designed for pilots, the Captain for sailors, and the Golfer, which we assume will be for tennis players. Each has specific features that suit that activity or profession, and a design to match.

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Before we get into each one in more detail, what makes the Marq a luxury smartwatch? Each has a 46mm case made from grade-5 titanium and a domed sapphire crystal over the AMOLED screen, and all have custom-designed straps plus unique elements including ceramic bezels and special coatings. Garmin hasn’t forgotten what matters to the people who buy its watches, and promises the battery will last for 16 days in smartwatch mode before needing a recharge, or for 42 hours straight in GPS mode.

Each Marq watch combines a touchscreen with physical buttons on the case so people can easily interact with the watch wearing gloves, or in the dark. Garmin has added multi-band GNSS technology and L1 and L5 GPS to ensure highly accurate positioning without excessive battery drain, along with all the usual health and fitness tracking, a heart rate monitor, storage space for music, and Garmin Pay mobile payments. A new Jet Lag Adviser feature provides a guide to quickly adjust to a new time zone.

The Marq 2nd-generation models

What about the individual smartwatches? The Marq Adventurer is probably the model with the widest appeal as it takes all the above features and puts them inside a luxury case attached to a  hybrid leather and rubber strap, which should remain comfortable and sweat-free without looking too sporty. The bezel has compass markings, and both TopoActive and NextFork apps are pre-loaded for people who spend a lot of time exploring.

The Marq Athlete has a vented rubber strap attached to the case, which has a Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) coating over the bezel for extra scratch resistance and a cool finish. The Marq Golfer comes with pre-installed guides to more than 42,000 golf courses and an autodetect mode, plus a wide range of golf-specific tracking features, and three Approach CT10 golf club sensors for club tracking, too.

Like the Marq Golfer, the Marq Captain has a ceramic bezel and a nylon strap, plus it comes with features to control boat autopilot systems from the watch and a Regatta Timer. Finally, the Marq Aviator has a titanium bracelet with a locking clasp, and the ceramic bezel doubles as a 24-hour GMT feature. Waypoints can be added from a worldwide database, alerts on weather conditions specific to pilots are displayed, and there’s an option to use radar information on the watch’s maps.

The Garmin Marq smartwatches vary in price from $1,900 to $2,400, which reflects the materials used, the build quality, and the breadth of highly specific features and apps that come with each. Garmin indicates all models will be available at some point in October, but has not provided an exact date. The announcement follows the release of the Apple Watch Ultra and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, two activity smartwatches that have shown the appeal of a “tool smartwatch” to mainstream buyers.

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