Garmin D2 pilot watch promises an avionics center for your wrist
By David Szondy
October 14, 2013
While the jury is still out on whether or not we are entering the era of the smartwatch, scuba divers, yachtsmen and airplane pilots would agree that the wristwatch hasn't been completely supplanted by the mobile phone. Garmin’s D2 pilot watch puts the emphasis on utility by providing pilots with navigation and avionics readouts at the touch of a button.
Adapted from an existing consumer watch, the D2 is waterproof to 50 m, has a domed lens for easy reading in direct sunlight, and an orange backlight to protect night vision.
Not surprisingly, it has the usual watch functions, such as time, date, alarm, timer, chronograph, and chimes and vibration alerts. The 1.2 in diameter, 70 x 70 pixel local screen displays the local time with the UTC (GMT) time displayed below it and the D2 can handle four other preset time zones.
Of course, the D2 isn’t an everyday timepiece. With dimensions of 1.9 in x 1.9 in x 0.7 in (4.9 x 4.9 x 1.7 cm) and weighing in at 2.9 oz. (82 g), it’s a bit like an old-fashioned travel alarm clock with a leather strap. In addition, the rechargeable lithium-ion only lasts about 50 hours in GPS mode, 2 weeks in sensor mode, and 5 weeks watch mode, so the charger is a necessity not an optional extra.
The D2 has a built-in, tilt-compensated, 3-axis compass and an adjustable barometer/altimeter with alarms to warn you when you've reached a preset altitude. It also can receive temperature readings from an external wireless sensor, which is one up on thermometer watches that only tell you how warm you wrist is.
The D2 has a high-sensitivity WAAS GPS receiver with USB interface and 20 MB of memory. It’s preloaded with a worldwide map of airports along with a very basic moving map for following your route. A press of a button provides you with a direct route to a selected airport or to the nearest one, which is good to know when the engine starts spluttering.
Regardless of the page displayed, the bezel of the D2 always displays the bearing to the nearest airport. In addition the D2 can handle 1000 settable waypoints and 50 routes, and has a track log for 10,000 points and 100 saved tracks.
The display of the D2 is customizable, allowing you to choose from GPS ground speed, distance to waypoints or airports, estimated time of arrival, compass bearing and glide ratio, among others. The D2 can also link to the Garmin Pilot app, so you can write flight plans and select waypoints before loading them into the watch. In addition, the D2 can control an optional VIRB action camera to record videos and still images in the cockpit.
The D2 pilot watch comes with a USB cable, an AC adapter set good for the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia, and a free 6-month trial of the Garmin Pilot app.
The Garmin D2 pilot watch sells for US$449.
Product page: Garmin