Suunto Core Review

I’ve never been one to wear a watch. I remember hearing a saying when I was younger that went something like, “a man who wears a  watch, is a man that has somewhere to be” (feel free to replace man with woman). Maybe I took this saying too much to heart and thought it meant losing my freedom and living by an alarm, time frames, and deadlines. It was going to take a lot more than some fancy bling on my wrist to convince me to start wearing a watch, or to be anchored down to a time management device controlling my day to day to activities. The problem for me is a watch to me needs to be something more than a gadget telling me I'm late for work, or a style point, or a trend. It needs to be a tough piece of functional gear, adaptable to different climates and weather, that can be used to enhance my outdoor lifestyle and performance. Am I asking too much? The Finland based watch company Suunto doesn't think so, and their solution to my woes is the Suunto, Core.

The Suunto Core is a precise time instrument that combines aesthetics and functionality making it a favorite amongst military special forces, mountaineers, and outdoor lovers everywhere. The Core is a watch that does much more than just tell time. With its 5 button function multiple selection switches and its multi-directional rotating compass/bezel face it is a highly functional watch, navigation, and survival tool. There are four main modes that are easily cycled through that really make this watch a great piece of equipment. That’s the Time, Compass, Altimeter and Barometer modes. Each of these modes feature more in depth functions that allow your watch to do so much more than just tell time.


The barometer not only gives you spot on accurate weather trends, it also provides you with storm warning alarms that indicate what’s coming your way, and how much time you have to get out of an area or prep. You can’t place a value on a function like this while summiting 14ers here in Colorado. Our weather system changes all the time and lighting strikes are dangerous anywhere, but almost a guaranteed death sentence if struck in the back country, high above tree line, or on top of a summit.


The Altimeter displays, tracks, and records accurate altitude measurements. Accurate altitude measurements can be very helpful in determining your location for orienteering and navigation, as well as calculating temperature changes at different elevations. An altimeter combined with a stopwatch (which is one of the features found in the Time mode) is also a great way for runners, climbers, and mountaineers to record their progress for training, actual competitions, or simply reaching a certain altitude by a set time. It  also satisfies the curiosity of how high you are.


The Compass is fast and accurate. Its large digital display will easily keep you headed in the right direction, as long as you know how to use a compass. The combination of the digital compass mode with the 360 marked rotating bezel is really useful for point to point movement as well as finding your back-trail.


The Time mode is displayed as an easily read digital clock. You can also choose to have a sub screen set up underneath it displaying the date. During your initial set up of the time-date be mindful of the fact that this watch is European. This important to remember because they go by day then month. 2-3 for example is March 2nd not February 3rd.

The biggest downside for me was really just the adjustment period of getting use to wearing a watch. The watch itself has a rather large bubble like bulky shape that bunched up  the sleeve of my jacket more than once. Adjusting the taper fit of the cuff on the jacket made this an easy fix. I also managed to get some sand inside the bezel while tromping through the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The bezel still rotated and eventually worked most of the grains of sand out. I lost a digital camera to a similar fate in the past, so I was very pleased to see the watch overcome the evil gadget killing sands.

There are a lot of little extras to this watch. A few of the other features you'll find yourself playing with are the depth meter, the digital thermometer, and the Sunrise/Sunset display. Another nice feature to this watch is how easily accessible the battery is. Most high-end watches like this one require you to take the watch to a repair shop or invest in special tools. There is an indentation/groove in the back of this watch that can be turned counter-clockwise to access the battery, by the use of a coin. Which also came in handy for cleaning the watch and getting that last bit of sand out that I previously mentioned.

The Suunto Core has shown me the errors and misconceptions on my previous beliefs about watches. I will still never wear a watch as a fashion piece, but I will proudly boast the Suunto Core as an essential piece of gear that I wouldn't like to be without. Suunto has a large family of sport-specific watches that cater to all sorts of athletes of all levels that help analyze and improve their performance. Visit to learn more about which watch will suit your lifestyle the best.

Robert Mitchell Bunny

Bunny has frequently been called, “The Motivator” of UpaDowna. He resides in Colorado Springs, but is more likely to be found with his dog Coheed in the vast wilderness areas of the Rocky Mountains.

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