To those who either work in the shipping industry or enjoy a spot of sailing in their spare time, the name Garmin will likely be a familiar sight, however for most whose preferred method of transport has four wheels, it may conjure up memories of twenty years ago.
Back in the mid-2000s, before many cars had built-in navigation systems, Garmin was one of the stand-alone units of choice for satellite navigation, alongside compatriot rival TomTom.
Since the car manufacturers began to realize that nobody wants a cable dangling across their dashboard or an ancillary device stuck to their windshield and arrived at the conclusion that a built-in satellite navigation system with a large, easily-readable map would be a far better idea, the name Garmin has vanished into the same early Millennial history archive as WAP phones and jeans which needed to be laced up from the sides.
Garmin, however, is still a massive name, and its original core business activity, marine and outdoor navigation equipment, is flourishing.
This week, Garmin stock, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, has been doing well with a 2.14% climb at finish of business on the US trading session yesterday.
Garmin, which is an S&P500 component, has been an interesting stock to follow, because its price has moved a lot over the past year, with fluctuations having been noticeable but the price points that the fluctuations have gone between being quite regular.
By 15.00 on the US session on January 18, Garmin stock had reached a 5-day high, which coincided with the company's launch of its new Fenix 7 and Epix smart watches which the company states have a battery which does not need charging for five weeks. That is remarkable compared to the Apple Watch's daily charging requirement.
Yesteday's launch included the up-to-date version of Garmin's long-running Epix product, the first smart watch under that name having been launched some 7 years ago, and the entirely new Fenix 7 series, which includes the Fenix 7S, 7, and 7X models.
The new watches range between $699 and $899 on the US market, which makes them competitive in terms of price but much more than anything from Apple or Samsung.
The question remains, however, around Garmin's ability to penetrate a market which is saturated by Apple and Samsung who sell their watches via cellular airtime providers alongside smartphones which are leased or provided as part of a pay-monthly contract.
That is a huge market, and could perhaps be called 'the mass market', in which no initial outlay is chargeable and consumers can have the latest Apple or Samsung watch immediately every time they upgrade their phone handset via their airtime provider.
The Epix product is being touted by Garmin as a 'luxury' watch, which perhaps is enough to differentiate it from the mainstream Apple and other Google Android-based watches, but that is a long shot in a very crowded marketplace, hence the upward move of Garmin stock has not stood it much higher than its overall average price point for the year.
It is good to see rivals to the mainstream, and high quality products from large, industrial component makers, however Garmin stock remains an interesting and relatively volatile instrument in a well-capitalized and long established corporate wrapper.