My experience upgrading from MARQ (Gen 1) to MARQ (Gen 2)

If anybody out there is wondering if it is worth it to upgrade their MARQ from Gen 1 to Gen 2, here is my experience. It may help someone to forge their own opinion.

I relied on my MARQ Gen 1 Adventurer (Née Explorer) for three years. I ordered the Gen 2 Adventurer in late February 2023, and received it mid-March 2023. I received my watch according to Garmin's website estimate (2-3 week shipping + 2 days delivery).

1/ The first cool thing is the new hybrid QuickFit strap. The full leather of the Gen 1 was elegant. It is what made the titanium look the best but it was not practical when running or hiking (lack of stability on the wrist and sweat absorption ruined the leather).

I ended up using the silicone one most of the time which was a pity. The new "Tundra" Leather/FKM combines the best of both words for me since it is elegant and useful during exercise.

Note that you can elect to only upgrade the stap if you want, they fit on the Gen 1.

2/ The charger is way better. Not only it is USB-C, it is also magnet based. The Gen 1 used an annoying jaw mechanism where you had to make sure the back teeth were aligned with the metal connectors on the back of the watch. It was a pain to use. Now the magnet guide toward the location which results in a satisfying "click".

3/ The last reason for the upgrade, but the most important one, is the screen. A photo tells it all.

The Gen 1 (on the right) has backlight enabled and it still a far cry of the Gen 2 (on the left) quality. Note that I use a lot of colors in my watchface but you can configure that to something more sober. I was worried with the display turning on on-demand (you can overwrite that but always-on lowers both battery and display life). I was worried it would be buggy but it is actually not a problem. The watch detects writs movement and turns on immediately. You just have to give it a counter twist before going toward you to trigger the wake up. It is actually pretty cool and it now muscle memory and magically works.

So for me, that was a very nice upgrade. The Gen 2 addresses the only issue I had with the Gen 1 (the dim screen). I was willing to tolerate the Gen 1 because of the quality of the watch and its battery life but it looks like with the Gen 2 I can have the best of two worlds, a great screen with great battery life.

Now, what do I do with my Gen 1? I am going to keep it on display on my desk. Maybe you can't tell from the photos but it has a few scratches here and there. These happened when encountering the granite of The Hulk on a climbing adventure. One of the many times my MARQ contributed to my safety.


  • This was a really thoughtful write-up!  Thanks for sharing.  I have an Epix and have been very curious about the Marq2, so I lurk here and love content like this.

  • Thanks for the write up! I’m pondering this exact same upgrade. Do you feel the gen 2 wears about the same as the gen 1 or does it feel bigger when wearing it?

  • It feels the same in terms of size.

  • Super useful. Few questions: 

    - Have you noticed battery life being days longer than gen1?

    - My V1 seems to take some time to get GPS signal.  Wondering if you've noticed any improvements in this with gen2?

    - Even though it is dim, I like that I can see watch face (or that someone else at a table can) when I'm not specifically looking at the watch.  Have gotten a lot of compliments on it that way.  Wondering if this has been a concern with the face blank on the gen2?

    Thank you!

  • 1/ The battery is every good. I wore it for an 11h hike two weejs ago (Rim to Rim) and it barely consumed 15% of the battery. It is a beast.

    2/ I never had problem with GPS as long as I have a clear sky above me. I noticed no difference between Gen1 and Gen2.

    3/ True, someone at the table won't be able to tell the time. But the watch is very good at detecting intents. Even small gesture trigger it to wake up, it is really well done and feels like a smart object. Now if you prefer it, you can have the screen always one. I never tried since it does not bother me. I have no idea how it will affect the burn in or the battery life. If you try, I would love to hear about your results in this thread.

  • Thanks for the write up! I’m pondering this exact same upgrade. Do you feel the gen 2 wears about the same as the gen 1 or does it feel bigger when wearing it?

    It feels the same. Same weight. But the screen is 1000% better :P !

  • I've also upgraded from the 1st to second gen, but with an Athlete.  I too think it's a fantastic upgrade but for different reasons. 

    The 'better' screen for me is a bit meh. Yes, it looks cool and impresses people.  It is, however, marginally less good outdoors IMO.  I have it set to always on mode but in sunlight that will appear off, so you can't always see the time without flicking your wrist or (if that fails) touching it. It's the same during an activity: you can't always see the screen like you could with the LCD display and have to wake it up.  This is only a minor problem though. The plus side of the new screen is the higher resolution which means you can see more map detail (although presumably that could have also been done with LCD). 

    Also, the touch screen: I thought I would really like this as all the reviewers had raved about it.  The button interface, however, is so good, that I usually use that by default.  This is perhaps just muscle memory and people new to the Marq won't have the same experience. In the end though I got fed up of false touches.  During an event a drop of water, sweat or being brushed by a garment can change the screen so when you want to look at it, it's displaying the wrong thing - although to be fair the designers anticipate this and turn it off by default during activities for everything except the maps (where's it genuinely game changing).  But even during normal wear, I got fed up wanting to look at the time and seeing instead some random glance screen etc. I found it particularly didn't like me holding my hands behind my back. So in short, I've turned off the touch screen for everything except the map. Always. 

    What's been a game changer for me, however, has been the improvement in GPS accuracy.  With my old Marq, I did on occasion go astray in challenging conditions. Once on a pitch black night with no torch in an English dell thickly covered with trees. Another time on the side of a volcano in Tenerife where I lost the poorly defined path and ended up in the middle of a cactus field full of scarily strong spider webs. Fortunately, I didn't meet the owners of those webs but I was picking thorns out of my flesh for days afterwards! On the same routes, the new Marq never puts a foot wrong and has never been out by more than a metre. 

    The other big advantage of the Gen 2 Athlete is that the small decrease in weight (about 10%) is noticeable.  I used to feel the Gen 1 cycling or running fast.  Not the Gen 2. 

    As a result - for me - the Gen 2 is a miles better watch and worthwhile upgrade for sport and adventures. 

  • If you have it 'always on', it dims after a while. This is still plenty bright enough for people to see it indoors. 

    Battery life is improved, I think.  I say that because it now has more functionality.  I have nightly O2 monitoring on so that reduces my battery life a lot.  Still, with almost daily runs with music on I still get 6 days. 

  • thx for this compare, have you noticed better heart rate accuracy when cycling?  I know wrist HRMs are jenky, but the marq gen 1 athlete that I've had for several years is very poor at HR during exercise.  I've not found if they upgraded the sensors in the Gen2, does anyone know?