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Garmin swoops in with the pilot-focused D2 Mach 1 smartwatch

Garmin has a new watch made specifically with airplane pilots in mind. The new Garmin D2 Mach 1 is similar in many ways to the Garmin Epix Gen 2, which Digital Trends writer Patrick Hearn declared “the Ultimate Fitness Watch” in his review last month. The D2 Mach 1 builds on the excellent foundation of that smartwatch and the recently announced Garmin D2 Air x10 by adding pilot-centric features, among other major upgrades.

Several examples of the Garmin D2 Mach 1 on a white background.

The D2 Mach 1 is built from premium materials, such as sapphire and titanium, and features a new touchscreen interface and 1.3-inch AMOLED display that pairs with physical button controls. The aforementioned pilot-focused features include a moving map with NEXRAD radar overlaid on your route, direct-to navigation capabilities that allow pilots to navigate straight to an airport or waypoint, and aviation weather with graphical indications of MOS forecasts for specific airports.

The watch can display airport info, an HIS course needle, pulse ox, and automatic flight logging. It can keep pilots up to date with aviation alerts such as time, distance, altitude, and a fuel timer. If you run into trouble in the air, the D2 Mach 1 can show the ideal glide speed, estimate how far and how long you can glide, as well as display a bearing pointer to the nearest airport, and offer a list of alternate airports.

The GPS system in the D2 Mach 1 includes multiband frequency and multi-GNSS support, which should make it much more accurate at determining your location. If you’re out of reach of cellular service, as you may well be when soaring over remote locations, the D2 Mach 1 can be paired to a Garmin inReach device to enable you to send preset messages via satellite, toggle tracking, or initiate an SOS to Garmin IERCC, which is a professional emergency response coordination center that’s staffed 24/7.

This smartwatch is also made to keep intrepid pilots in shape when on the ground. It features over 30 built-in apps tailored to a variety of sports, including hiking, cycling, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), walking, and running, among others. SkiView Maps is preloaded, so you’ll have ski area navigation ready to go straight out of the box. For golfers, the watch is preloaded with maps of 42,000 golf courses. Garmin promises a battery life of up to 11 days in smartwatch mode, and 24 hours with Fly activity (GPS + Pulse Ox) enabled. It’s compatible with both Android and Apple smartphones.

The D2 Mach 1 is available starting today with either a titanium bracelet ($1,299) or an oxford brown leather band ($1,199). A QuickFit silicone band is also included with both options, as well as a trial subscription to the Garmin Pilot app.

This is certainly an expensive smartwatch, but for its target audience, it’s not so much to ask for the utility it provides. Also, given Garmin’s recent excellence in smartwatch design, it’s a pretty safe bet that the D2 Mach 1 will be a highly refined device deserving of its premium price point.

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Andy Zahn
Andy Zahn is a freelance writer and photographer living on a small farm in the shadow of Mt. St. Helens. He currently writes…
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