While studying at Wichita State University, we took a college business tour of Garmin HQ in Olathe, KS. I enjoyed the open atmosphere, and even back then they seemed to be very innovative; always looking for the next big thing. Well, the O-Town Crew (not to be confused with my daring city of Orlando) is stepping up their game. Instead of the traditional, drab sedan-like GPS watch form factor, Garmin has decided to dust off the ole marketing plan and delve into the luxury realm.
Introducing the Garmin fenix Chronos
Fret not folks. The Garmin fenix Chronos has all the latest Garmin tech that we have come to enjoy. The internal components are similar to its rugged cousin, the Garmin Fenix 3. The Garmin Fenix Chronos is a high-end multi-sport watch with premium materials and branding.
“High-end design meets top-tier performance with fēnix Chronos,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “With luxurious materials and trusted Garmin multisport technology, fēnix Chronos is a necessary timepiece for anyone who wants to remain stylish through all of life’s adventures – whether its hiking through mountains, training for a race, or heading to a formal event.”Garmin Ltd.
You can read the full press release here and read more from the product here.
Who Is This For?
Like most luxury items, if you have to ask how much it is, you probably can’t afford it. Okay, maybe that isn’t always true considering I’m always looking at the price of Triscuits. Call me a bargain hunter.
All jokes aside, I would have to say that Garmin’s marketing team nailed it. The Garmin fenix Chronos fits the bill for customers that enjoy both active and stylish lifestyle but want to have the latest tech on their wrist at the same time. Think about it. Apple opened the door when they released their higher-end version of the Apple Watch. Would I get it? Yes and no. Yes, because the concept fits my lifestyle. As it stands, I already have the Garmin fenix 3 Sapphire should that would lead me to the no. I cant see myself upgrading my watch every few months just for the sake of upgrading. Seriously, I purchased the Garmin fenix 3 late last year. Just a few months in, the Garmin fenix 3 HR was released. Now, we have the Garmin fenix Chronos.
It’s Still Expensive…Right?
Not really. Some are happy with the plastic/silicone version; some want a little bit more so they can go from their AM CrossFit workout to the budgeting crosstalk meeting in the boardroom. It makes sense. Some will scoff at the price, but I think it is very reasonable compared to some of the competition. Also keep in mind that Garmin’s watch feature-set is very mature. I have no issues using it as my full-time fitness tracker, part-time notification/reminder and 24/7 timepiece.
My only request is that they refresh the app. It does the job, but I such a huge fan of the of the Jawbone UP app, I wish that Garmin would make their app more intuitive and open to third party apps and partners. Even Apple has let others into its walled garden.
Who Are The Competitors?
Unlike other technologies, smartwatches are still a new frontier of wearable tech. Do not compare smartwatches to their smaller brethren, fitness trackers, who have matured in size, fit, features and battery life. Smartwatches are still trying to determine a sweet spot of features balanced by battery life. It will not matter how nice of a watch it is if it runs out of power by lunch time. Here is sample set of potential contenders in the ring vying for your wrist’s attention.
Apple Watch $649 – $1099
TAG Heuer Connected $1499
Tissot Smart-Touch $945
Movado Bold Motion $795
Bulgari Diagono Magnesium Unknown
Gucci and will.i.am smartband Unknown
Nixon, The Mission $400
Michael Kors Access Collection $395
Fossil Q Smartwatch Series $135 – $315
You might question some of these as either luxury or actual competition, but I wanted to give you a fuller picture of how limited the market is. There is a lot of time and energy invested in the development of smartwatches; it has to cover both function and fashion.
The Garmin fenix Chronos is bold, but a logical step in the smartwatch market. I haven’t been sent a test model (see how I slipped that in there) so I cannot comment on how luxurious it is, but the price point is just right and my experience with the Garmin fenix 3 Sapphire, which it is based on, is great. I will admit, although I have the optional metal band, but have yet to use it. It seems like a hassle to switch between a 10km run and work in the morning. If anything, I would like to see an easier way to swap bands without having to fiddle with screwdrivers.