The Marq Gen 2 is certainly a better smartwatch simply for the addition of a high-quality colour touchscreen to match that already luxurious exterior.
- High-end lookThe Grade 5 Titanium bezel gives it a distinct feel
- Clever featuresIncluding a Jet Lag Advisor and more
- Good screenThe Colour AMOLED Display is nice to look at
The Garmin Marq Gen 2 sees Garmin return to a smartwatch it launched to mark its 30th anniversary back in 2019.
It’s a take on a luxury tool watch, which, if you’re well versed in all things watches, is a timepiece that can do more than tell the time.
Garmin’s watches are more than capable of doing a lot more things than letting you know when it’s lunchtime and it’s hoping you’ll be willing to pay well over £1500 to own one.
I headed out to Lisbon for the big Marq Gen 2 reveal to see what’s new and how Garmin hopes to convince you to spend big on this smart tool watch.
- 46mm case
- Distinctive design
- AMOLED display
Just like the first Marq, Garmin is offering the Marq Gen 2 in different models that represent its key area of expertise.
The Aviator is for pilots, the Captain for sailors, Marq Adventurer is one for explorers, the Athlete is for, well, athletes and last up is the Golfer. There’s no longer a Marq Driver, which it seems didn’t attract enough driving fans to part with their cash to buy one. The previous Expedition Marq has seemingly been replaced by the Adventurer.
Each comes in with a 46mm case size option only all with their own distinctive looks and bezel etchings to mark distinctive features available on each different watch. So on the Athlete, you’ll see etchings to indicate recovery time and VO2 Max estimates.
One of the most notable design changes is that Garmin has moved to a Grade 5 titanium in the case and bezel departments to offer a harder and stronger material to protect the watch, but also keep it light to make it comfortable to wear all day. Titanium isn’t a new material to Garmin’s watch range, but it insists this version is going to offer a step up in durability all while giving the Marq Gen 2 an attractive, clearly very masculine look.
The headline here though really is that the new Marq joins the Epix and Venu 2 series watches by getting a colour AMOLED screen that sits with a sapphire domed lens. It’s a touchscreen one as well, which means you’ll reap the same benefits of being able to swipe through your stream of Glances (widgets) and use that method of interaction for mapping as well.
The lack of a colour screen was something the first Marq really lacked to create the feel of a high grade watch, so it’s good to see its inclusion. It felt as responsive and vibrant as the one on the Epix Gen 2, which is a positive too.
There are of course strap options and they’re the QuickFit kind, which means they’re easy to swap in and out. There’s a silicone one on the Athlete, which is 23% lighter than the one used on the first Marq Athlete. The Aviator features a brushed titanium bracelet and Garmin has even opted for a green jacquard weave nylon strap for the Golfer as a nod to the Masters green jacket.
There are other nice elements here, like the stopwatch-style buttons and those very design-dominating chronograph-style bezels. There’s no doubt these watches look the part, but I’d argue Garmin’s cheaper Fenix and Epix watches are not bad looking either.
Features and Battery Life
- Plenty of smarts
- Colour display
- Multi-day endurance
What you get in terms of smarts on all of the Marq Gen 2 models is fundamentally everything Garmin offers on the Epix Gen 2, whether that’s sports, mapping, training and analysis or smartwatch skills. Garmin does add a few extras that make sense on the different versions of the Marq.
That colour screen means getting the most out of the preloaded TOPO mapping and Garmin’s new multiband mode and SatIQ technology are there to improve outdoor tracking accuracy and be smarter about when that more battery-hungry multiband mode is put to use.
There’s heart rate monitors and PulseOX sensors giving you the ability to continuously monitor heart rate and blood oxygen levels and you’re getting the same level of fitness and sleep tracking support as Garmin’s other premium smartwatches.
You’re getting all of the same smartwatch features too, with access to Garmin’s Connect IQ store, Garmin Pay and a music player onboard with offline playlist support for streaming services like Spotify. It also offers safety and incident detection modes that do still require your phone to be nearby to raise the alarm if you get into a spot of trouble.
On top of that core Fenix and Epix experience, each watch gets their own unique software extras. The Adventurer features something called NextFork providing information on the next trail intersection, while the Aviator includes a dedicated Jet Lag Advisor watch face complication, which leads us to a software feature that will be unique to the Marq Gen 2.
This is Garmin’s attempt at helping regular travellers feel fresh and prepared for when they need to be at the top of their game. It’s a feature that instantly makes me think of the way the Whoop has been embraced to help athletes prepare as they travel around for matches.
That Jet Lag Advisor tool looks at information like sleep history and lets you input when and where you’re going to travel to. It’ll recommend a sleep schedule around the days of travel and even suggest ideal light exposure before you travel. It will then fire out notifications to offer recommendations on caffeine intake and nutrition.
It’s a feature that’s been designed by FirstBeat, the analytics company Garmin acquired and has built the majority of training and analysis features that have been present on Garmin’s watches for years now. I didn’t get to see how this feature looks on these watches, but if it can deliver what it says it can deliver, it could be a useful feature to have at your disposal if you participate in events abroad or you have to travel a lot for work.
With the addition of a colour screen, battery life is going to be a hot topic and Garmin feels it still can deliver on that front. The original Marq promised 12 days in smartwatch mode and 28 hours in full GPS tracking mode.
Garmin says the Marq Gen 2 can go for 16 days in smartwatch mode or 6 days with the screen set to always-on. GPS battery life is up to 42 hours as well and you can go for up to 2 weeks in the Expedition mode when GPS readings are taken at less regular intervals.
With multiband in use and making use of SatIQ, it says you’ll get 40% better battery than using that multiband mode alone, which does clearly knock battery quicker when just using standard GPS tracking.
These are basically the same battery numbers attached to the Epix Gen 2, so actually you can get a similar battery for less in Garmin’s range.
The Marq Gen 2 is certainly a better smartwatch simply for the addition of a quality colour touchscreen to match that already luxurious exterior.
It’s getting all of the features from the best Garmin watches, like the Garmin’s Fenix and Epix ranges, which is good to see, but again, it’s hard to see why you’d spend considerably more on a Marq when you can pick up an Epix Gen 2 for less and still offer a slick look.