By: Patrick Gensel
If you’re an outdoorsman, and like myself have a thing for analytics, then having a reliable watch is important. From keeping time, to tracking elevation and barometric pressure, the wrist watches of today are more computer than time piece. Probably one of the better known items in this category, the Suunto Core offers all of these features and more.
I have been wearing the Core for about two months now, and have been pleasantly surprised by its lack of weight and bulk. I Initially assumed that a wrist computer of this caliber would be heavy and uncomfortable, but that is not the case at all. It weighs in at only 0.3 ounces.
The Core has a pretty robust feature set including: barometer, altimeter, compass, depth gauge, storm alarm and more. For me, the barometer and storm alarm have been exceptionally useful for keeping myself dry while out on the trail in the Northeast’s currently unstable weather. The storm alarm seems to be a bit conservative with its storm warnings, but when it comes to mountain sports being a bit conservative and getting out of harms way early is a good idea. The science behind how this storm alarm works is nothing new, when barometric pressure is high, the weather tends to be calm, but when the opposite happens the weather is less than ideal. With the storm alarm active, a sudden drop in Barometric pressure will sound the alarm warning of the potential for a storm.
On a recent trip to Yosemite Valley, I used the Suunto Core’s Altimeter functionality to measure elevation gain during a hike to the top of Yosemite falls. I calibrated the altimeter at the base of the hike using a topographic map and referenced the Core against the topo a few times along the way and I can vouch for its accuracy. It wasn’t dead on, but was only off by a 15 – 20 feet at any given time. The altimeter function in the Suunto Core works using the barometer that is built in to calculate altitude based on barometric pressure. This works because as you gain elevation, Barometric pressure lowers.
The Suunto Core, aside from being functional and attractive also holds up well against the elements. The Mineral Crystal glass display is virtually scratch proof and extremely clear, and the replaceable strap ensures that the watch will be usable in the event that the strap breaks.
My experience with this piece of equipment has been nothing but positive. It has not led me astray at all and I am still happy with my purchase decision two months out. If you are an outdoor or mountain sport enthusiast and need a new time piece I recommend giving the Core some thought, but be advised the price of admission is a bit steep at around $275 though it has been known to go on sale.