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Avionics on your wrist

Hot on the heels of the D2 Air X10 reviewed by Editor at Large Dave Hirschman in the April issue of AOPA Pilot, Garmin’s latest watch was unveiled on the opening day of the Aircraft Electronics Association’s convention in New Orleans, and it appears to be stylistically distinct yet equally functional. While the D2 Air X10 is distinctly modern, the D2 Mach 1 evokes more traditional pilot watches—aside from the ultra-bright AMOLED touchscreen display. (AMOLED stands for active-matrix organic light-emitting diode—we looked that up.) The impressively sharp display supports moving map views with weather overlays and pulse oximetry, to name two of the many features. If not for these, the D2 Mach 1’s styling would call to mind the classic Rolex GMT, or at least resemble it more closely.

While many of the traditional watch designs that the D2 Mach 1 bears a passing resemblance to require winding a mechanical movement, Garmin’s latest watch provides health and fitness tracking, navigation to the nearest airport, weather reporting with automated alerts to changing conditions, and other functions for up to 11 days on a single charge, the company said in a press release.

“Whether you’re climbing into the cockpit for a fun weekend flight, practicing or shooting instrument approaches to minimums or flying professionally, the new D2 Mach 1 delivers the latest and most advanced aviation functionality and smartwatch capabilities right to your fingertips,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing. “With its new, sophisticated design, the D2 Mach 1 proves that professional gear can also be a great statement piece no matter your destination.”

The moving map supports weather radar overlay, and supports direct-to navigation. The watch will log flights automatically and display barometric altitude, and a long list of customizable notifications includes automatic alerts when changing weather conditions at a destination airport exceed certain thresholds, such as crosswind component.

And if you miss or ignore such an alert, the D2 Mach 1 has “the broadest range of 24/7 health monitoring features available from Garmin,” so you’ll be able to see just how fast your heart was beating during that last landing, and update your logbook electronically while heading to one of the 42,000 golf courses included in the built-in map database. (Golf is among more than 30 sports and activities supported by a built-in app.)

The new watch is priced at $1,199 with an Oxford brown leather band, or $1,299 with a vented titanium bracelet.

Garmin's D2 Mach 1 GPS aviator smartwatch provides health and fitness tracking, navigation to the nearest airport, weather reporting with automated alerts to changing conditions, and other functions. Photo courtesy of Garmin International Inc.

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