Garmin Takes The Market By Storm With New Watches

Garmin has launched a completely new series of its luxury watches propelling the Olathe GPS giant to an entirely new level in the market.

Todd Register, a product manager and creative lead for Garmin, said, “We’re sold in shops where Rolexes are sold.” He’s been in the company for the last few years and has crafted the new MARQ line of Garmin watches.

There are five distinct watches in the new line, each made to focus a different activity: the Captain, Aviator, Driver, Athlete and Expedition. While they all are equipped with Garmin’s latest technology aiming at the best performance, the watches were actually created keeping the past in mind.

If you go years back, you will find that these sophisticated gadgets mounted on these devices popular as the tool watches used to help divers to gauge the amount of time they could actually spend under water without feeling suffocated and let the pilots calculate their in-flight speeds while flying the planes and track the distance covered in between.

But over the time, technology has changed, many new things have come out and things have evolved in such a way that those so-called tool watches have been more about fashion than function, said Register. “We saw these beautiful watches out there that people just love to wear and kind of make an expression about their inspiration in life,” said Register. “And we said we have the technology to really make that kind of tool useful again. So our vision was to really make a modern tool watch.”

With the MARQ line, Garmin takes its very first yet powerful leap into the market of luxury watches. And it is good enough to send a strong signal about where this 30-year-old giant who pioneered GPS technology will be going in near future. “We’re definitely in the watch business. We’re here to stay,” Register stated. “If you’re just looking at us as a consumer electronics brand, I think you are missing where we’re going.”

Garmin has been offering smart watches and other fitness tracking devices since long that appeal to a large number of people. The company website shows that their current lineup starts from $100 and goes up to $899 while the prices for the watches in their MARQ series start at $1,500 and go up to $2,500.

These watches have been in development for more than four years. As per Register, designers had scoured the world trying to get the best materials for the watches, including a band for some of their models that were made by weavers using Nylon in France. All these new watches have been made from titanium and the lenses used have been made using the ceramic bezel inlay and durable sapphire crystal to protect the watch from any shock.

It’s not only about the utility. You can get a much cheaper watch with most of the functionality in just a plastic watch or something like that,” said Register. “What you’re really buying with MARQ is premium craftsmanship and materials that you can make a statement about what your passion in life is.” But a lot of utility is included there, too.

For the people who love racing, there is Driver watch that is programmed with relevant data on about 250 race tracks or more from around the world. The Compass contains a built-in barometer, compass and altimeter, along with several real-time metrics for current as well as upcoming climbs.

Register also said that few of the premium watch shop owners were initially quite skeptical to carry Garmin devices, but were even more shocked when our products sold out in a short span of time. “We’re slowly changing people’s minds that the MARQ collection belongs there,” Register added. “When people see it and feel it, the finishing and quality is on par or exceeds our Swiss counterparts.”

Garmin recently celebrated its new line of luxury watches by organizing an event at Meierotto Jewelers located in North Kansas City which is the exclusive local seller for the line. With the watches kept near the shiny screens for other popular brands such as Skagen, Tissot and Rolex, Register addressed the crowd saying that the product line was a representation of the “next level for Garmin.” “It’s this marriage of artisanal and modern,” he further said.

Tyler Meierotto, who is a family member of the store owner, said that smartwatches nowadays take a noticeable share of the overall watch market. And Garmin’s expertise in navigational, marine and aviation technology gives the brand a boost in that arena, Tyler added. “They build things for boats and planes,” said Tyler. “They do have some things that are unique to them and have a little bit different advantage.” He added that there is market dedicated to the highly specialized smart watches. Also, he gave example of his own regular customers who routinely spend a large amount in fixing up kit cars or Porsches to run on local tracks there.

“So it’s little difference to spend $1,000 or $2,000 on these Garmin watches,” said Tyler. “I see a market for it. I think the more feature rich the watches are the better.” People have responded very positively to all the new watches, he said, with a few of them restless for them even before they come in stock. “People are definitely interested,” he added.

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