I’ve only had one of the new Suunto CORE watches for a few days now and I can’t believe how many people have asked me about it. When I first saw these watches at Summer Outdoor Retailer in August, I thought they were mainly just fluffed up old models…focusing on fashion…but after playing with it for a few days, I’m realizing that they are much more.
First off, the CORE watches seem to feel and fit smaller. I have small skier arms, so you notice these types of things. Sometimes I think size is one of the things that keeps people from buying altimeter watches, and it looks like Suunto does to.. The low profile band has a lot to do with it and the strap holder locks it in place, which is nice, cuz I remember some of the older model’s had a tendency to migrate. One thing I notice in the shop is that people have a misconception that these types of watches are hard to use. Those people could not be further from the truth. All the Suunto models have a logical system of buttons that correspond to select or next, up, down, and backtrack…so don’t be intimidated by the technology. The CORE also has small indicators directing you to which buttons are available in each screen, and to some extent…what their function is. But if you know how to work one Suunto…chances are you know how to work them all (except for some of the T-series models…excluding the T6).
Like most of the Suunto watches I’ve owned and seen, no matter what mode you are in, there is a plethora of functions that can be displayed on the bottom line of each mode. The Core has 3 modes…time, altitude/barometer and compass. In the Time Mode of the CORE, the options are chronograph, countdown timer, day/date, seconds, dual time, and one of my favorite new features…sunrise and sunset. To determine these times for where you live, the CORE starts by asking you the country you live in, and then proceeds to time zone…and goes even further by giving you a list of cities to choose from. The closest listed to Jackson was Idaho Falls…so that is what I when with.
Lots of stuff to talk about in the altimeter/barometer modes. The bottom line can give you temperature, log time, baro/alti (depending on what profile you are in), time, log time and new ‘start from zero’ feature. In essence, it is a real-time recording of altitude gain from your starting point…without having to dig into the logbook. I find this to be a cool bonus. When I go backcountry skiing, I like to track and sometimes set goals for about of vertical I get in a day…much like Greg Hill. BTW, Greg should be getting ready for another epic year up in BC and who know what goals he has set for himself this season. Follow along on his blog, The Ramblings of Greg Hill.
Back to the CORE. The barometer also has some nice features, like a 24 hour graph and a new storm alarm, which sets off an alarm when the barometer drops more than 4 hPa/0.12 inHg, in a 3 hour time frame. The Core keeps going with two more altimeter/barometer profiles…automatic and depth meter. The depth meter is self explanatory, and not much for my needs I guess, but the automatic profile could be of use and automatically switches between altitude and barometer when your are moving or standing still.` The bezel is a nice addition to the compass mode.
I know all of this can sound confusing to those that aren’t that familiar with altimeter watches, but with the Core line, Suunto tries to simplify everything…as well as offer some cool features that are really useful and NOT just fluff. Check ‘em out at Suunto.com.