Occupying the very highest level of the Garmin smartwatch hierarchy is the brand’s MARQ series, which consists of models that are crafted from premium materials and loaded with top-of-the-line features. With a price point that can be more than ten times what the brand charges for its entry-level offerings, the MARQ collection is positioned as Garmin’s luxury smartwatch lineup, and while most devices branded as “luxury smartwatches” are simply smartwatches made by big-name luxury brands, the Garmin MARQ series actually aims to provide owners with expanded functionality in addition to the elevated materials that are used for the construction of the devices themselves. New for 2023 is the Garmin MARQ Carbon collection, which expands upon the existing second generation of the MARQ series, and it makes its debut appearance in the form of three different purpose-built models that all feature lightweight cases made from Fused Carbon Fiber.
Carbon fiber is one of the most popular materials within the watch industry right now, although not all forms of carbon fiber are created equal. Carbon fiber components consist of the carbon itself along with some type of resin matrix to hold the carbon pieces together. Aside from differences relating to the percentage of carbon, the length of the fibers, and the chemical composition of the binding agents, the actual construction of carbon fiber components can differ dramatically from one manufacturing process to another. For example, primitive forms of forged carbon can often be a glorified version of injection molding that uses carbon-infused polymers, while layered carbon fiber typically requires a much more involved production process and results in a highly organized structure, rather than the random and wavy lines that are characteristic of forged carbon.
As for the new Garmin MARQ Carbon watches, the 46mm cases and bezels are made from what the brand calls Fused Carbon Fiber, which consists of 130 individual layers of stacked carbon fiber sheets that are aligned at specific alternating angles to increase the strength of the material. After being combined together into a solid mass using heat and pressure and bent into the rough shape of the component to further increase its strength, the block of layered carbon fiber is then machined with diamond-tipped cutting tools over the course of multiple hours to create lightweight components that have a unique spiral pattern that runs throughout the material itself. This process sounds rather similar to the Carbon TPT technology used by Richard Mille, and in addition to creating stronger components, the Fused Carbon Fiber also offers an unusual and highly structured design that represents a significant aesthetic contrast compared to the asymmetric and almost organic appearance of forged carbon.
Garmin’s Fused Carbon Fiber is 62% lighter than titanium, while also offering greater abrasion resistance. On the new Garmin MARQ Carbon series, the middle case and bezel are made from Fused Carbon Fiber, while the buttons, outer bezel ring, and caseback are all made from grade 5 titanium with a black DLC finish. Additionally, since the MARQ collection is significantly more expensive than the brand’s standard smartwatches, Garmin doubles its warranty up to two years for the MARQ series, and it also offers expanded repair and servicing options for MARQ owners who may damage their watches through rugged and active use. Batteries, screens, and case components can all be replaced through Garmin authorized retailers, and this means that Garmin MARQ watches have a significantly longer life-cycle and do not need to be replaced should components break or fail.
The first of the three new Garmin MARQ Carbon models is the MARQ Athlete Carbon Edition, and it is a multi-purpose sports watch that offers an extensive suite of different activity tracking and performance coaching features. Pre-loaded sports include profiles for everything from trail running, hiking, and swimming to rowing, climbing, yoga, and even pilates, and the MARQ Athlete also features animated on-device workouts that can help guide users through a wide variety of different activities. Additionally, the Garmin MARQ Athlete Carbon Edition also comes packaged with the brand’s HRM-Pro chest strap monitor to provide users more accurate running and heart rate date. Fitted with a premium silicone strap that forms an integrated appearance with the case, the MARQ Athlete Carbon Edition is probably the model among the new trio of Garmin MARQ Carbon watches that will appeal to the widest range of buyers, and it basically takes all of the functions that you will find on Garmin’s most feature-packed sports watches and turns them up to the highest possible level.
The second new Garmin MARQ Carbon model is known as the MARQ Golfer Carbon Edition, and it takes the Fused Carbon Fiber case of this latest series and turns it into a purpose-built smartwatch specifically designed for the world of golf. Pre-loaded with over 43,000 different courses from all around the world, the new MARQ Golfer also features an onboard virtual caddie that provides players with information such as club recommendations based on wind, elevation, and their personalized swing data. Like other Garmin smartwatches, the new MARQ Golfer Carbon Edition will also track sleep, heart rate, and various other health and fitness metrics, and it is essentially the ultra-premium version of the brand’s Approach series of purpose-built golf watches that features expanded functionality and a lightweight carbon fiber case. The standard strap for the Garmin MARQ Golfer Carbon Edition is a leather and green FKM rubber hybrid strap that has an appearance inspired by golf club handles, although it also comes packaged with an additional silicone strap, along with three of the brand’s CT10 sensors that mount to your golf clubs and track your swing data.
The final watch from the new MARQ Carbon collection is the MARQ Commander Carbon Edition, and it is the military-oriented model that offers much of the same core functionality as its siblings but swaps out some of the sport-specific modes for features intended for those in the armed forces. Unlike its two siblings, the MARQ Commander does not have small green or yellow accents surrounding its start/stop button, and it instead opts for an all-black color profile with a bezel that has engraved 24-hour UTC markings. Additionally, the buttons on the side of the case feature a textured finish for additional grip, and while a second silicone strap is included with the watch, the primary strap option for the Garmin MARQ Commander Carbon Edition is a jacquard-weave nylon strap with a subtle randomized pattern woven into it. Unlike other Garmin models, the new MARQ Commander Carbon Edition features a number of functions specifically designed for aviators and balysics calculations, along with a display screen setting that allows the watch to used while wearing night vision goggles. Like other military-oriented Garmin models, the MARQ Commander also includes a stealth mode setting that allows the watch to remain operational but stops storing and sharing GPS data and disables wireless connectivity. Plus, should security become an issue, the Garmin MARQ Commander includes a virtual kill switch feature that wipes the device of all stored user data.
Regardless of their differences, all three of the new Garmin MARQ Carbon watches are united by a number of key features such as their Fused Carbon Fiber cases, domed sapphire crystals, full-color AMOLED touch screens, and 100 meters of water resistance. Battery life for the new trio of MARQ Carbon models can reach up to 16 days (or six days when using the always-on display setting), and the devices can be recharged back to one hundred percent within a single hour via the magnetic charging port located on the caseback. Additionally, as the MARQ series is the top-of-the-line collection from Garmin, you also get all of the various smartwatch features that have become standard across the brand’s modern offerings, such as multi-band GPS, health and fitness coaching, sleep tracking, contactless payments, and onboard music storage. Beyond that, since the new Garmin MARQ Carbon collection is based upon the existing second generation of MARQ watches, core operating instructions remain the same, and the new straps are all backwards compatible across the brand’s current MARQ collection.
Garmin makes an incredibly diverse assortment of smartwatches, and while the brand’s most affordable offerings start out at less than a couple hundred bucks, the MARQ collection is Garmin’s absolute top-of-the-line series, and even the least expensive MARQ models cost a couple thousand dollars. Additionally, the Fused Carbon Fiber cases make these new Garmin MARQ Carbon watches more expensive than previous models from the series, and they immediately claim the top spots as the most expensive smartwatches in Garmin’s entire catalog. Among the trio, the MARQ Athlete is the least expensive with an official retail price of $2,950 USD, while the MARQ Golfer represents the middle offering at $3,100 USD, and the MARQ Commander is the most expensive among the series at $3,200 USD. While this is undeniably quite a lot of money to spend on a smartwatch, hardly anyone would think twice about paying this much for a mechanical watch that features a Fused Carbon Fiber case, and these new MARQ Carbon models represent the absolute best that Garmin has to offer. For more information about the Garmin MARQ Carbon collection, please visit the brand’s website.