THIRTY years ago, in 1989, tech company Garmin introduced the concept of a global positioning system (GPS) in the aviation and maritime industries. Back in those days, no one had a clue what GPS was. Today, it's everywhere: on our mobile phones, smartwatches, cars, and all sorts of transportation.
Two years later, in 1991, Garmin outfitted Gulf War troops with GPS units for greater coordination between soldiers. Then, in 2003, it produced the world's first running watch. Fast forward to 2018, Garmin was selected by the U.S. military to outfit their state-of-the-art F-5E Tiger II fighters with Garmin flight systems, entrusting the company with the accuracy and precision it had always delivered.
Its pioneering position in the aviation, marine, and even the U.S. military is a testament to its reliability. Today, Garmin has parlayed its expertise in all these different fields to become one of the leading brands in highly durable, accurate, and functional smart wearables.
"Wearables is actually a significant area of growth for Garmin. If you look at our outdoor and fitness business segments... those two segments are heavily influenced by wearables," said Clifton Pemble, president and CEO of Garmin. "We've been experiencing double-digit growth in those segments for several years. That's helped fuel the company."
Until very recently, Garmin's Fenix model was one of the most premium types of smartwatches anyone can purchase on the market. The company's most advanced type of wearable, it not only has performance metrics for open-water swimming, trail running, mountain biking, hiking, triathlon, golf, and more, but also streams music, allows cashless payments, tracks you anywhere, and measures your biostats.
Now, Garmin sets the bar higher with the MARQ Collection.
In celebration of Garmin's 30th anniversary, the company has launched five new luxury watches under its MARQ Collection. The watches are built using the existing features of Fenix and include special features specific to each.
The five models, which include the Driver, Aviator, Captain, Expedition, and Athlete, are an homage to Garmin's long history with the aviation, marine, outdoor, fitness, and automotive industries. They also mark the company's first venture into the luxury watches space.
Garmin is already in a very comfortable position as a global leader in smart wearable tech, so why did it feel the need to venture into the luxury watches space?
According to Pemble, it's because there's a market for it, and nobody seems to be addressing that concern. "We felt that the luxury market wasn't offering the market smart features that were coming in other kinds of product categories, particularly the smartwatch, so we thought there was an opportunity to wrap smart utility into a luxury platform," he said.
Bradley Trenkle, vice president for outdoor business of Garmin, adds how some people don't feel like wearing a plastic watch to the office. "You have watches that are functional, but they just don't look formal or something one can wear to the office. The MARQ Collection answers that," he explains.
Pemble minced no words when it comes to competition. "In the luxury space, we are strongest in the smart features," he said. "If you look at the big players in the luxury watches, many of them don't even have the kind of smart features, and the ones that do are very limited in functionality."
He adds, "Garmin is very strong in smart features, like GPS and sensors, which is something that luxury watches don't have, especially the biosensors. So it allows customers who like luxury watch to be able to have the features they would get in a smartwatch."
If Fenix is already a premium smartwatch, the MARQ Collection is considered a smart luxury watch. Both have sapphire crystal lenses, same interfaces, performance metrics, GPS capabilities, and internal tech, but the similarities end there.
1| The MARQ Driver
The MARQ Driver is designed for the racing and driving enthusiasts. It is the only modern smart watch with over 250 preloaded global racetracks. It can compare your current lap with the fastest lap of the session, review post-race, and see the fastest lap, total laps, and maximum speed from your sessions.
MARQ Driver's prominent feature is a hybrid bracelet: a titanium shell on the outside for a sleek and refined look, with a soft inner material suitable for any activity. These individual titanium outer links with silicone inner links create a uniquely comfortable, lightweight and breathable bracelet. It is also treated with a carbon gray Diamond-like Carbon coating (DLC), allowing it to withstand daily wear and tear and the high vibration environment of racing.
2| The MARQ Aviator
The MARQ Aviator is made for pilots and aviation enthusiasts. Apart from having more than a dozen performance metrics, it also has a triple time zone display with airport marking and GMT time to record a pilot's extensive travels. The GMT bezel gives pilots quick access to two other time zones in addition to the current time, as well as the airport code on the watch face. It is also equipped with a worldwide aeronautical database and direct-to-emergency navigation, plus a detailed Nexrad Weather Radar with integrated Garmin avionics technology.
The smart luxury watch boasts of a mirror-polished 24-hour GMT bezel, a luminous swept-wing design, and a multi-link titanium bracelet with a security clasp. The Aviator is comfortable on the wrist for in-flight wear and transitions, and is a stylish timepiece out of the cockpit, too.
3| The MARQ Captain
MARQ Captain is perfect for Filipino seafarers, mariners, and people drawn to the water. It features a regatta timer bezel, coastal charts, tack assist, and a port conditions watch face to keep mariners up to speed on the conditions of their port of choice. The watch face shows current wind speed and temperature and tide information, letting the mariner decide if conditions are right for a day on the water.
Unique to MARQ Captain is its jacquard-weave strap, woven in the south of France and crafted for exceptional performance in saltwater environments. The weaving process allows for the blending of three colors into a unique pattern; the tightly woven yarn is laser cut into metal keepers to finish off the look.
4| The MARQ Expedition
Created with the modern explorer in mind, MARQ Expedition features TOPO mapping, a built-in altimeter, barometer, and compass, plus ClimbPro, which provides real-time information, such as distance and elevation gain, on current and upcoming climbs. The Expedition is compatible with the inReach Mini Satellite Communicator 3. Wireless unit-to-unit connectivity allows the user to remotely control the inReach Mini device to send and receive messages using MARQ.
The Expedition watch strap is crafted from vegetable-tanned Italian Vacchetta leather and is debossed on the back, allowing for good flexibility and excellent comfort. Its waxed stitching seals the thread from moisture, preventing fraying over time. With a classic vintage instrument design, the watch has all the functionalities the outdoor enthusiast needs with the look and feel they want for everyday wear.
5| The MARQ Athlete
The MARQ Athlete is designed for all types of athletes like swimmers, runners, bikers, climbers, and more. This luxury smartwatch includes a V02 max and recovery time scale right on the bezel, so a snapshot of an athlete's performance is always visible with a glance at the wrist. Additionally, it includes advanced running dynamics to further track workout stats, measure progress, and fine-tune form. With sensors for various biometrics, athletes can gain additional insights about their body's performance, and with Pulse Ox, they can see how well their body is absorbing oxygen.
This titanium watch with silicone strap makes it lightweight for serious training and equally comfortable in a more formal setting. Of note, all five smartwatches also come with a pair of silicone straps. Their watch faces can be changed and customized via the Garmin IQ App.
The MARQ Collection and the Fenix Series are available at Prime Garmin Stores located Mall of Asia, Alabang Town Center, Uptown Mall, and Power Plant Mall, and at Washington Store in Shangri-La Plaza. For more information, visit Garmin Philippines.