Garmin's $3,000 MARQ Carbon watches make the Epix 2 Pro look thrifty

Press photo of the three MARQ Carbon Gen 2 watches
(Image credit: Garmin)

What you need to know

  • Garmin has announced three new MARQ Carbon watches: the MARQ Athlete ($2.950), MARQ Golfer ($3,100), and MARQ Commander ($3,200).
  • The Garmin MARQ Carbon Gen 2 series are made from Carbon Fiber, use AMOLED displays with sapphire glass, and last 16 days per charge.
  • They come with FKM leather, jacquard-weave nylon, or silicone watch bands.
  • The current MARQ series with Grade 5 titanium starts at $1,900 and appears to have most of the same features and specs. 

Garmin likes to target every level and type of athlete out there. Turns out, that includes luxury watch lovers who would look at a $3,000 Garmin MARQ Gen 2 Carbon watch and see it as a fitness-focused bargain compared to a Rolex or Omega, rather than a budget-destroying indulgence.

Garmin announced its three new MARQ "Carbon Edition" watches on Thursday. Upgrades of the current MARQ Gen 2 watch lineup that use Grade 5 titanium, these new models are manufactured using "130 layers" of carbon fiber material, which are then fused together and shaped via "precision diamond cutting tools."

Of the five current MARQ Gen 2 models, only the MARQ Athlete and MARQ Golfer got the Carbon upgrade, along with a new "MARQ Commander" model. 

Garmin chose not to make carbon-fiber versions of its MARQ Adventurer, Captain, or Aviator watches, whether because those didn't sell well or because Garmin thinks campers, sailors, and pilots aren't classy enough to shell out for carbon fiber.

Garmin MARQ Golfer - Carbon Edition

The Garmin MARQ Golfer - Carbon Edition (Image credit: Garmin)

Inside its opulent shell, the $2,950 MARQ Athlete Carbon has features that owners of the Garmin Epix Pro or Fenix 7 Pro will find familiar: sport profiles, animated workouts, Body Battery, training load and readiness, real-time stamina, endurance & hill scores, multi-band navigation, topographical maps and Maps+, ClimbPro, and so on. 

As for the $3,100 MARQ Golfer Carbon, Approach S70 users will recognize the 43,000 predownloaded golf course maps with green contours, Virtual Caddie, PlaysLike distance feature, and other specialized tools.

MARQ Commander Carbon buyers, meanwhile, will see a classier version of the tactix 7, with its night vision and stealth modes, kill switch, Jumpmaster, advanced weather reports, a Ballistics tool for sniping, and other niche tools for its $3,200 price tag.

Garmin promises that its MARQ Carbon watches can withstand "ocean saltwater, exposed mountain terrain, and extreme weather, including rain, wind and snow, and bright sunlight." The fitness brand also explained that carbon fiber naturally blocks Wi-Fi and GPS signals, so it had to develop a specialized antenna to penetrate the higher-quality material. 

Essentially, you're buying a rugged fitness watch that doesn't look like one, giving you health data but blending in for board room meetings or trips to the country club. And while I'm a lottery win short of ever indulging on a device like this, I can also recognize that these MARQ Carbon watches are more practical than a ten-grand timepiece that just tells the time. 

Otherwise, well, the best Garmin watches are already on the pricey side despite mostly sharing a plastic-heavy appearance. You can get a very similar software experience with the $1,000 Epix Pro Gen 2, $700 Approach S70, or $1,300 tactix 7 AMOLED edition. Even the $600 Forerunner 965 gives you most of the same tools.

But no one will look at any of those and see a luxury watch. If that matters to you, then take a good, long look at the MARQ Carbon Edition watches. 

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael is Android Central's resident expert on fitness tech and wearables, with an enthusiast's love of VR tech on the side. After years freelancing for Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, Digital Trends, and other sites on a variety of tech topics, AC has given him the chance to really dive into the topics he's passionate about. He's also a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves D&D, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.

For wearables, Michael has tested dozens of smartwatches from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, and other brands, and will always focus on recommending the best product over the best brand. He's also completed marathons like NYC, SF, Marine Corps, Big Sur, and California International — though he's still trying to break that 4-hour barrier.