Is the Garmin Forerunner 265 really coming – and do we actually need it?

Trail runner checking GPS watch
(Image credit: Getty)

Rumors are beginning to swirl about an upcoming Garmin watch – the Forerunner 265 – but how plausible are they, and is it something that we actually need?

The first sign of the Forerunner 265 was a photo posted by the anonymous author of sports tech blog the5krunner in September 2022, which seemed to show a prototype of the new watch, with a white case bearing the name 'Forerunner 265S' (the 'S' indicating that this is a smaller version of the standard watch).

I was skeptical – after all, the Forerunner 255 was only three months only at the time, and Garmin usually leaves two years between generations. The Forerunner 245 came out in 2019, the 235 in 2017, and the 225 in 2015.

Still the picture looked genuine enough, so ran it through an ELA (error level analysis) tool to look for signs that it had been digitally manipulated. Nothing stood out other than the black boxes that the5krunner had used to obscure the serial number. In other words, it seemed like the real deal.

Garmin Forerunner 255 GPS watch

The Garmin Forerunner 255 launched in June 2022 (Image credit: Future)

At the time, it was suggested that the 265 might simply be a new version of the 255 with an updated screen, and now Wareable is speculating that two watches recently registered with the FCC are exactly that. Again, the source of this rumor appears to be the5krunner, but I'm still not sure. Is an OLED screen enough by itself to justify superseding a watch that only came out last summer? Naming it the 255 Plus would make more sense (as with the Venu 2 and Venu 2 Plus).

As I wrote last week, each of the two watches recently listed by the FCC are both accompanied by a confidentiality agreements stating that it is "the first of its kind in industry". That's not standard wording that Garmin uses for every watch, and implies that there's much more going on here than just a new type of screen.

I still believe that the two devices recently registered with the FCC are something completely different. Back in February last year, Garmin registered a patent describing a way to create a solar AMOLED watch by positioning photovoltaic material in between the subpixels that make up the display.

Either way, it seems like we'll need to wait a bit longer. Garmin didn't announce any watches at this month's CES tech expo in Las Vegas, so we'll have to be patient.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.