I have been a Garmin GPS watch fan for years (like, back to the old Forerunner 101 days about 12 years ago!). Yes, I am currently using an Apple Watch Series 4 instead of Garmin (post coming on why!) but still have a Garmin and love them.
The New Garmin Marq GPS Watches – Luxury with a Ton of Features
Link: Garmin Marq
Garmin has been taking some strong, incremental steps with their new releases that bring more smartwatch-type capabilities while also improving on the aspects that are important for athletes. The top-of-the-line mainstream Garmin models have been the Fenix lineup. With the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus starting at $799, they are for the athlete that is serious about their watch.
Of course, if you don’t need things like built-in mapping, PulseOx sensors, built-in music capability, Garmin Pay, and top-notch build quality, there are other Garmin watches to choose from. In fact, what is likely the best value is the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music that has the built-in music, Garmin Pay, and is a great GPS watch – at only $299 retail!
New, Luxury Garmin Watches
But, if you are someone that wants a different, more luxurious look for your Garmin, you are in luck! This new lineup of Garmin GPS watches really have a great look and durability (along with a ton of features). It is called the Garmin Marq watch. With the starting price at $1,500, these watches are definitely not for everyone (and Garmin does not try to target “everyone” with them).
Garmin is going after several markets from their usual efforts for the athlete to things like diving and auto racing. Here are the models:
If you want to see about the other 4 watches, check out their pages through the links above. I want to zero in on the Athlete since that is the huge upgraded version of the Fenix lineup (but not meant to replace them).
The Garmin Marq watches are meant to be super durable. For example, the Athlete version comes with a sapphire crystal face with titanium for the case and bezels. As for the size, the Garmin Marq Athlete is most similar in size to the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus but a bit smaller.
The display is a 46mm display and it is a smidgen shorter than the Fenix 5 Plus. Having had and used both the Fenix 5 Plus and Fenix 5S Plus, I have to say that the Marq Athlete is the perfect size for someone like me. It is a bit heavier at 94grams vs 86 grams on the Fenix 5 Plus
The battery life on outright GPS usage blows away the Fenix 5 Plus. Check it out:
- Smartwatch mode: Up to 12 days (for Marq) | Up to 12 days (for the Fenix 5 Plus)
- GPS mode: Up to 28 hours (for the Marq) | Up to 18 hours (for the Fenix 5 Plus)
- GPS with Music: Up to 9 hours (for the Marq) | Up to 8 hours (for the Fenix 5 Plus)
- UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 48 hours (for the Marq) | Up to 42 hours (for the Fenix 5 Plus)
As you can see, if you use the Marq with Music going, you are going to get very similar time to the Fenix 5 Plus. With the new Marq watches, Garmin has switched to a Sony GPS chip so it may explain the better battery life for GPS usage.
Basically, it has all the features that are available on the top of the line Fenix 5X Plus with the addition of some refinements to some of the data and more features. That means you will get PulseOx, built-in maps, built-in MP3 support (with 32GB of storage, up from 16GB).
There are almost too many things to list so definitely head over to DC Rainmaker for his hands-on with all of these watches and to see what major differences exist between the various models.
You will not find any of these watches at running stores, which is a shame for any one that wants to find a deal on them! If you want them, you will need to buy direct from Garmin or luxury watch stores. I cannot imagine that many people will be rushing to buy these, at least the Athlete version (the other watches are somewhat in line with similar watches for those activities).
To be honest, it almost seems a bit off. The Fenix 5X Plus is a watch that is perfect for the adventurer – someone who spends hours out on the trails or mountain-climbing. Making a luxury version for that area of users doesn’t seem like it would be a perfect fit but I could be way off!
If you are a trail-runner/mountaineer and would like a watch with a bit more of a luxury look, let me know in the comments!