“Hmm… Where do I even start with the Garmin MARQ, eh?”
First off, it’s a luxury tool watch. Now, I don’t know about you but in the watch world, that oxymoron has been repeated at least a million times. However, with a brand like Garmin, you’d expect them to really push the ‘tool’ aspect in that term. And they did, make no mistake about that.
What they also took seriously this time round was the ‘luxury’ element. Don’t believe me? How does a starting price of RM7,999 sound to you?
Yes, you read that figure right. The Garmin MARQ collection begins at a cool RM8k and goes all the way up to…
For that kind of money, most buyers would expect a near-indestructible watch and a tank full of sharks with laser beams attached to their freakin’ heads.
“No sharks, unfortunately…”
But the watch, on the other hand, is armed to the teeth with kit. A total of six variants form the Garmin MARQ collection. Each one has been specifically honed to cater to the needs of professionals in the most demanding environments. The lineup consists of the MARQ Driver, Aviator, Captain, Adventurer, Athlete and Commander.
Before we see what separates them, let’s look at what all six have in common. Every Garmin MARQ watch has a 46 mm grade 2 titanium case (DLC-coated on certain models) and a sapphire crystal. Water resistance is quoted at a fairly impressive 100 m and the lug widths span 22 mm.
Another feature I absolutely adore about the Garmin MARQ is that even though it employs a proprietary quick-release strap mechanism, you can easily attach an aftermarket strap just by removing the stock spring bars and replace them with conventional ones.
Also, all models feature an always-on, sunlight-readable display and employ five pushers instead of a touchscreen system. The usual list of smartwatch features are to be found including GPS, music streaming/storage, notifications from your phone, a heart rate monitor, blood oxygen saturation monitor, outlines of 2,000 ski maps and 41,000 golf courses.
With each model catered to a specific setting, all six will have deviating functions but they’re all based on Garmin’s proprietary smartwatch software. As for battery life, Garmin quotes a 12-day span while using it on GPS and UltraTrac™ mode will reduce it to up to 28 and 48 hours, respectively.
“Now, take us through all six… Starting with the Garmin MARQ Athlete.”
The Garmin MARQ Athlete is the “entry-level” model with a price tag of RM7,999. For that, you’ll get a
smartwatch luxury tool watch that’s designed for fitness junkies and runners. The DLC-coated, titanium bezel allows one to track their recovery time and VO₂ max levels. The featured strap with this variant is a silicone rubber unit.
Other features unique to this variant include performance metrics readout, integrated maps of running and cycling routes and a running dynamics software.
“Let’s just go up the price scale, okay?”
Okay. With that in mind, the next two are tied with a price tag of RM9,500. I present to you, the MARQ Adventurer and Commander. Let’s begin with the Adventurer first, shall we?
On this variant, the titanium bezel features a 360° compass. Think of this as a smart Seiko Alpinist(?), perhaps? It’s even got a similar brown Italian Vachette leather strap to boot. Unique to this model are features such as an orienteering system and an expedition app. The latter is said to save even more battery power in order to enable you to push further into the wilderness where, for obvious reasons, you might not easily come across a power source.
Moving on, we have the Commander version. This one, to me at least, is a tad odd because I highly doubt anyone of us reading this is a legit military operative. Still, it’s pretty cool to have a DLC-coated titanium bezel with a UTC display. Even cooler are the dual-format GPS display and a ‘Kill Switch’ that clears the user memory on the watch. My favourite, however, is the inclusion of a ‘Stealth Mode’ that stops storing and sharing your GPS position and disables all wireless connectivity and communication.
This tactical piece of gear comes with a nylon Jacquard weave strap that is really, really comfortable. Side note, among all the variants I tried on, the nylon straps felt the best on my skin.
“Look at me. I’m the (Garmin) Captain now.”
Sorry, I can’t help it. And with the MARQ Captain, you could say that to Tom Hank’s face with a little more conviction. Priced at RM9,999, we’re pretty much into five-figure territory with the MARQ collection now. For the money, you’ll get a titanium bezel with blue ceramic inlay that features a regatta timer.
Elsewhere, you get the same nylon Jacquard weave strap as found on the Commander but this time in a tasteful shade of dark blue. Unique features to the Captain are the regatta timer, a tack assist display, a man overboard recorder, a GHC 20 autopilot control unit and a boat data display.
“And now we take to the skies…”
With the MARQ Aviator. Aesthetically, I reckon this one is just right in my eyes. The titanium bezel with ceramic insert displays a 24-hour GMT counter. The titanium bracelet, while it looks good, is a tad rough if I’m honest. I tried it on for a short while at the launch event and the clasp was pretty sharp and hard to unbuckle.
If you opt for the Aviator, special features include a direct-to-key navigation system, a moving map, an instrument-like HSI course needle display, aviation weather reports, flight plan display and flight data logger. The price for the Aviator variant stands at RM10,500.
“Last but most certainly not least…”
The MARQ Driver. This here is the costliest variant with a price tag of RM13,500! Here, the titanium bezel with ceramic insert displays a tachymeter because race car, d’uh! The bracelet is also unique in that it features a hybrid construction of titanium on one side and red silicone on the other.
True to its namesake, the Driver also comes preloaded with the layout of “more than 250 racetracks.” There’s even a lap time repeatability function that allows you to judge your lap consistency. Other functions include a virtual pit wall display, a digital summary of your last finished race and, of course, a track timer.
“So, is this the watch for me?”
To be honest, that really comes down to who you are. Perhaps even down to what kind of image you wanna’ portray to the world. Unless you really are a professional who requires one of these in their line of work, most of us who are interested in one will probably never even use close to 90% of the entire watch’s capabilities. Except perhaps the Athlete variant. Yeah, I see you cardio-crazed folks!
Another point to consider are the starting prices for the MARQ collection. Yes, they are high and yes, they do live up to what is required of them but hardcore mechanical watch geeks aren’t likely to be swayed by all the functions. It’s not my place to comment on who should and should not get one, of course. All I can say is that if you’re looking for a true luxury tool watch, the Garmin MARQ collection is an excellent place to start.