Fitness Gear

Garmin Quietly Releases Two Awesome (and Expensive) GPS Watches

a silver watch with a black face
Written by Charlie

Garmin released two new Garmin watches recently that are both very awesome and very expensive. Though they are more specialty versions, they will still appeal to many who like the designs.

This has been a big year for Garmin already. They have updated two of their popular, multi-sport watches – the Fenix and the Instinct – as well as updating their lifestyle smartwatch, the Venu 2. Now, they have released two new, specialized watches that some customers may want even if they are not the target customer!

Garmin Releases Two Awesome and Expensive GPS Watches

Garmin’s Update Flow

In case you are not familiar with how Garmin releases certain models, here is a quick glimpse. Garmin has their top lineup of watches (not the MARQ models, those are more “luxury”) called the Fenix line. When these watches are updated, the “X” model (the largest one, coming in at a 51mm display) always receives something special while the regular and “S” models are identical, except for size (47mm and 42mm, respectively).

Once those models are released, Garmin starts released their more specialized watches – aviator watches, diving watches, military watches – that are built on the framework of the Fenix line but with additional software libraries/functions that suit those specialized areas.

The Garmin Fenix 7 and Epix 2 As the Base for a New Generation of Watches

This year was a bit different. Garmin released the Garmin Fenix 7 series in January and it was an instant hit. Not only did they add solar as an option at release for the first time but they also improved the battery life to make it just an awesome performer. They also used new GPS chipsets and technology (in some of the models) that improved GPS tracking performance.

But, they also released a watch called the Garmin Epix 2. This is my current watch and I will be doing a months long review shortly on it. The TL:DR on this watch is that it is the best Garmin watch – ever! It is similar to the Fenix 7 in that it offers the same materials and size options as well as battery size but it offers a first to the high-end Garmin watches – an AMOLED display! This is what the Apple Watch has and what makes the smartwatches have more “pop” in their colors and display resolution.

a black smart watch with red numbers and a white background

My new favorite watch – the Garmin Epix 2

So, what makes the Garmin Epix 2 so great? That AMOLED screen comes with stunning battery life. Like, if you leave it to gesture only for screen-on time, you get 16 days of battery life out of it! But, if you prefer to have it always-on like the Apple Watch Series 6 and 7 models, you still get 6 days of battery life out of it! Contrast that to Apple’s stated 18 hours of battery life on the Apple Watch!

Plus, you get all the great functions and features of Garmin’s top multi-sport, rugged watch, as well as premium materials like titanium, Sapphire glass, and DLC (diamond-like coating) to ensure long-life and protection.

The Two New Garmin Watches

What does all that have to do with the two new watches? Well, both of them are built on the Fenix and Epix models.

The Garmin D2 Mach 1
a group of smart watches

The Garmin D2 Mach 1 GPS Aviator Watch

You may not know it, but Garmin makes GPS and interface devices for aviation markets as well. So, it would just stand to reason that they would also make watches that not only sync with Garmin pilot devices but also offer a host of features to sit on an aviator’s wrist to give them data with the flick of the wrist.

They released an “economical” version of this earlier this year in the Garmin D2 Air X10. This comes in at $549 and actually as a feature that only one other Garmin has – a microphone/speaker setup for phone calls (phone still required) as well as for smart assistants.

But, the Garmin D2 Mach 1 goes even further with premium materials and a watch built on the Garmin Epix 2 design language and features. That means you get the AMOLED screen with this as well as all the features of the Epix 2 and a few more for aviators – or anyone that has aviation interests (which is quite a few of us!).

  • Direct-To Navigation – Navigate straight to a location or waypoint in the worldwide aeronautical database. Or choose the Nearest function to activate a path to a nearby airport.
  • Moving Map – Pan across the moving map with a touch, and tap on waypoints for more information. Plus, see NEXRAD radar1overlaid on your route.
  • Weather Reports – Access aviation weather, including METARs, TAFs and MOS2, to see winds, visibility, barometric pressure and more1.
  • Meteogram Feature – See graphical indications of MOS forecasts for specific airports2, including projections for temperature trends, wind, dewpoint, sky cover, precipitation probability and more.
  • HSI Course Needle – Follow the instrument-like HSI course needle to your destination, so you can easily see if you’re left or right of your desired flight path.
  • Pulse Ox Sensor in Flight – Check Pulse Ox3 to gain awareness of how well your body’s oxygen levels are adjusting to the thinner air at higher altitudes.
  • Airport Information – View runway orientation (including wind components1), lengths and airport frequencies as you approach your destination.
  • Barometric Altimeter – See when you’ve reached your desired altitude — or get a vibration alert when you reach an altitude where supplemental oxygen may be required.
  • Flight Logging – Automatically start tracking flights on takeoff. Then automatically transfer date, duration, total flight time and route to your® account1.
  • Emergency Mode – Activate to see your best glide speed, estimated glide distance and glide time during an engine-related issue. View a bearing pointer to the nearest airport, and see a list of alternate airports.
  • Configurable Alerts – Set customizable notifications for new METAR and TAF reports, when destination airport conditions change, when crosswind components exceed a threshold and more.
  • Alerts and Timers – Manually set vibrating alerts to remind you when it’s time to switch fuel tanks or perform other time-critical tasks.
  • UTC and Time Zones – Stay on schedule when you travel with a UTC pointer on the watch face plus multiple time zone displays.
  • Flight Plan Transfer – Transfer your flight plan from the Garmin Pilot app1 to D2 Mach 1, and view the list of waypoints included in your route.
  • Sunrise/Sunset Widget – Get daily indications for times of sunrise and sunset — plus hours for civil twilight — by scrolling through available widgets on the touchscreen display.

Technically, these should be all able to be on the Epix models as well but Garmin holds back these specific type feature sets for their specialty watches.

The price for the Garmin D2 Mach 1 watches is not cheap! Both versions come with titanium materials but the increase in price is due only to the titanium bracelet. Both watches also come with a black silicone band.

Price: $1,199 for the leather band and $1,299 for the titanium bracelet

The Garmin tactix 7

a group of smart watches

The next new model is the new Garmin tactix 7. The tactix line is built as a “tactical GPS smartwatch” with things like great build quality (brought over from the Fenix line) and a more stealth look in the all black.

In addition, it has some other features (listed below) that would appeal to people that are involved in tactical situations. It also has a version that has an Applied Ballistics calculator built in which doesn’t get more tactical than that!

The Garmin tactix 7 is built on the Garmin Fenix 7X design language and includes the special feature from that model – the built-in light that can be used as a flashlight or to match the cadence of your run as you run at night (lighting the front and then the back).

This watch has a 51mm face and sticks with the previous display which is non-AMOLED. This fits for something that is built as a tactical solution as the AMOLED watch is a bright display while the always-on display of other Garmin Fenix-styled watches are better for more subtle situations. Not only that, but it gives you far greater battery life, up to 28 days in smartwatch mode or up to 90 days in battery saver mode.

a close up of a watch

Here are the features that come special with this watch (some of these are also on the aviator version above):

  • Built-in Green or White Flashlight – To help guide your way in low-light conditions, a built-in multi-LED flashlight provides quick access to a bright, steady beam in either green or white light.
  • Night Vision Capability – Easily switch between daytime view and nighttime view with a screen that can be read by night vision goggles.
  • Stealth Mode – While keeping the watch operational, stealth mode stops storing and sharing your GPS position and disables wireless connectivity and communication.
  • Kill Switch – If security becomes an issue, the kill switch wipes the device of all user memory.
  • Jumpmaster Mode – This feature works to calculate high-altitude release points according to military guidelines and helps to navigate you to your objective once you’ve jumped.
  • Dual-Position Format – Easily sync your location with others by seeing both the universal transverse mercator and military grid reference system on the same screen.
  • Projected Waypoints – Set and save remote geo positions to be used later for navigation.
  • Hunt Activity – Track your hunt, and mark hunt-specific waypoints directly on your watch.
  • Direct-To Navigation – Navigate straight to a location or waypoint in the worldwide aeronautical database. Or choose the Nearest function to activate a path to a nearby airport.
  • Weather Reports – Access aviation weather, including NEXRAD radar, METARs and TAFs, to see winds, visibility, barometric pressure and more1.

There are three versions of this watch:

Price: $1,099 for the Standard Edition, $1,299 for the Pro Edition (with solar power and a tactical band), $1,599 for the Pro Ballistics Edition 

Bottom Line

Garmin has done an amazing job this year with their watch releases and they continue to roll them out at a pace of a new model every couple/few weeks.

The next ones up should be the Descent model for divers and then the refresh to the MARQ luxury line-up to bring it up to date with the Fenix 7 line.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Supprised you missed the new Descent G1. I’m wearing it and it’s pretty incredible. Based on Instinct 2 but with additional sensors for depth and other dive related data.

    • Glad to hear a first hand report! I didn’t miss it, I just was writing about the ones that had more expensive prices. Also, I think I mentioned it when I wrote about the new Instinct 2 watch models. It looks pretty sweet, too!

  • Great article Charlie. When do you reckon Garmin will release the updated Marq range? Very keen to see what they look like and hopefully buy one…

    • Thanks, Oliver! I am really interested to see them as well, especially since the first gen Marq watches were all based on the 47mm model so that almost guarantees that they will all have the new AMOLED (with the possible exception of the Commander?).
      Anyway, I think that we will see them sometime between May – August. I know that is a spread but if we don’t see them in May, I think it is a lock to see them in August.My guess would be there would be a $100 – $150 premium over the first gen Marq watches.
      Which model Marq do you currently have your eye on for the next generation model?

      • Super insightful. Fingers crossed its May but if its August I’ll be OK waiting as I’ve been waiting a long time….my current watch is the Garmin Chronos which has served me very well and really loved it but its def starting to show its age with a few glitches! I really don’t know which one will grab my fancy but looking forward to that release day! Tks again..