Garmin has been in and around the watch market for a number of years and has had presence both in bricks and mortar retail stores and online. However, despite building a strong customer base in the market over that time, it had become viewed as a specialist product for runners and sporty types. With its new release, the MARQ, Garmin wants to change that and says it sees this product as its first real step into becoming a major player on the tool watch scene.
The MARQ s being promoted as a tool watch and a glamorous one at that; never before has Garmin really looked to establish itself as an actual watch brand and that is something it now wants to change. The use of a traditional industry term like tool watch, more commonly associated with mechanical dive watches and sporty chronometers, hints at Garmin’s intention to appeal to mainstream customers outside its athletic stronghold.
Speaking exclusively to WatchPro as part of a press trip to Barcelona for the MARQ’s launch, Garmin’s managing director for EMEA, Sean Biddlecombe, described how, despite having released a number of watches in previous years, the firm sees this as its chance to shine.
“Up until this point we’ve made some nice watches for runners, for the climbers and for the sailors but I think now it is time to say look we have a tool watch,” he says.
“We’ve got a good installed base who we think these watches will appeal to, the runners, the fliers and the sailors but we also think there’s probably aspirational people out there now who want both a nice looking watch and the ability to have that tech as well if they want it,” he adds.
It is that modern aspirational consumer base that Garmin now wants to tap in to and now with the right quality of product and right choice of retailers it can do just that.
Garmin has always been strong with outdoors and active retailers, both online and offline in the United States, but wants to use the MARQ to break into traditional watch channels including department stores and jewelers.
Garmin says that with the release, it is looking to redefine the multisport watch market having already made strides with the MARQ Aviator, MARQ Driver, MARQ Captain, MARQ Expedition and MARQ Athlete.
Mr Biddlecombe continues: “I think, two or three years ago we would not be speaking to the likes of [specialist watch press] but I do think that now, with the MARQ, we’ve got an opportunity.”
The materials and build quality of the MARQ Collection will be familiar to traditional watch executives. For example, each watch is built from titanium and its dial is protected by a domed sapphire crystal for scratch resistance.
To complement the character of each MARQ, a strap or bracelet can be customized, allowing owners to match their style with Garmin’s interchangeable QuickFit strap solution.
The watches feature an always-on, sunlight-readable display, performance GPS and advanced sensors like wrist-based heart rate and wrist-based pulse ox2 to track a wide variety of sport activities.
It also provides premium smartwatch functionality including built-in music storage, Garmin Pay, smart notifications and advanced activity tracking for everyday use.
The battery life ranges from 12 days in smartwatch mode to 28 hours in GPS Mode and up to 48 hours in UltraTrac mode.