Founded in 1989 by Gary Burrell and Min H. Kao under the name ProNav, Garmin watches were first aimed at the maritime market. The GPS 100 which launched sooner after was already ahead of its time, offering the user a panel mounted GPS receiver. This caught the attention of the US military and Garmin was later contracted by them, supplying military personnel with reliable, robust tools to assist with life threatening situations on the front line. Having focused its expertise in developing hand held navigation systems and GPS technology, it would be until 1997 that Garmin’s first automotive product was developed with the GPS III model. Two years later, Garmin partnered with AirCell, an airborne cellular provider, enabling it to establish itself within the aeronautics industry.
Garmin’s products for the aeronautical market enabled an individual to use their device with the same number on land, sea and air. Panel mounted GPS, navigation and integrated cockpit systems were then developed by Garmin in 2003. It would b this same year that the company ventured into watchmaking for the first time with the Forerunner series. Today this Garmin watch collection is as popular as ever with models such as the Forerunner 945, integrated with expert tools that include an energy monitor, pulse OX sensor, Climbpro, full colour mapping, route planner, turn by turn navigation, and performance and training stats to name just a few. These running watches are designed for triathletes, running enthusiast, cyclers, swimmers and general fitness enthusiasts alike.
After 2003 Garmin continued to refine its technology specialising in multisport watches. Garmin Smartwatches today include a whole host of biosensors that can monitor heart rate, performance, activity and calorie trackers. It is not just wristwear that has linked Garmin to the world of sports, however. In 2007, 2009 and 2014 Garmin partnered with the English Premier League and sponsored the EF Pro Cycling professional cycling team from 2008 to 2016.
Over the last three decades Garmin has continued to invest in advanced research and development methods that have propelled its growth and popularity within GPS navigation and Smartwatch technology. But to exemplify its varied approach to watchmaking, the brand also offers a range of solar powered watches and a line of accessories to pair with its diverse range of wristwatches such as the Garmin HRM Swim, Tri and Run straps.
Today Garmin uses three words to describe its products. Company, culture and future. As a worldwide provider of superior products for navigation, aviation, marine, outdoor sports and the automotive industry, the brand prides itself on a “vertical integration” business model. This model keeps everything inhouse from manufacturing, warehouse processing and marketing. It also gives Garmin the freedom, flexibility and choice to tailor equipment specific to a purpose or individual. As a result, customers who return to Garmin time and time again for the latest fitness tracking Smartwatch technology can rely on and trust the brand’s manufacturing ethics and superior choice in materials. Garmin watches, above all, promise affordability, compelling designs and superior quality.