Garmin's next watch will be unlike anything we've seen before

Man checking GPS watch while hiking
(Image credit: Getty)

Garmin will soon launch two new watches that will be unlike anything we've seen before, according to reports published this week by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC). 

Before it can be sold, any device capable of transmitting radio signals must undergo testing to make sure it complies with local laws, and won't interrupt important parts of the spectrum that are used for things like emergency and flight control communications. Each country has its own testing procedures, and some publish lists of devices that have recently passed, giving us a glimpse of upcoming releases.

A few days ago, three new Garmin GPS sports watches appeared on the website of the Singaporean Telecoms Licensing Agency (TLS), and now two of those have also received the green light from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

These two have the reference codes IPH-04452 and IPH-04453. Interestingly there's no mention of IPH-04458, which was approved by the TLS. It's possible that this is only a minor variation on the other two, and didn't need additional testing for the US market.

The two devices have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ANT+ connectivity, and although details are scant, one report states that "the strap has been removed for the testing as it is made of plastic". This is different from IPH-04578, another watch approved by the FCC at the end of December, which will apparently be supplied with both plastic and metal bands, suggesting a luxury design.

What's really interesting, however, is a claim in one of the letters accompanying the various reports that each of these new watches is "the first of its kind in the industry". This isn't standard wording. and it has us excited. Could they be the first watches with Garmin's patented solar AMOLED tech, or will they be something completely different? Only time will tell.

So when might we see these watches on our wrists? Well, internal and external photos are being kept private under a confidentiality agreement until 180 days after the date of the FCC grant (January 5 2020) so it's certain to be within the next six months. Interestingly though, it was originally going to be sooner; the watches were tested in November and Garmin requested that the grant date be deferred, presumably to give it more time.

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.