Outdoor watches are my Achilles Heel, so much so I should probably wear them around my ankle as a symbol of my failings rather than on my wrist. I suppose as an escaped prisoner in days of old would have wandered the land with his shackle still attached, I should do the same. My shackle a Suunto watch, my crime an inability to interpret the instruction manual. I just can’t seem to fathom them out; to understand the menus; to work them properly.
I love information technology, I love gadgets; handheld GPS, mobile phones, tablets, cameras, computers and all the software that goes with them, from back office on the web to editing software for film, I’m both confident and competent with it all. Watches on the other hand, well that’s a different story.
I know exactly what they do. Keep them in the box and I’ll talk to you about them all day long. This one has A,B,C; altimeter, barometer and compass. That one has GPS technology and will not only record where you’ve been, but will allow you to navigate when out and about, but it’s only really single sport. That’s on the understanding that walking and running are considered one and the same in terms of required features. If you’re into multi-sport, triathlon say, then you need to step up a level to a watch that’ll accommodate your swim and cycle activities. Oh did I say that although these two will offer a compass they won’t give you an altimeter or a barometer, no to get the altimeter, barometer, compass, all the run, swim and cycle features you need to go right to the top of the podium, and while you’re there you can also have the much coveted sapphire glass edition. I haven’t even mentioned heart rate monitors yet, but you get the picture, I can talk the talk, but when it actually comes to walk the walk, then the problems begin, and as such I’ve always shied away from sports watches.
Until that is we saw the launch of the much awaited Suunto Traverse. At last a proper outdoor watch featuring the altimeter, barometer and compass of the Suunto Core with the addition of GPS navigation but without the clutter of multiple sports menus found on the Suunto Peak. What’s more it looks like an outdoor watch, not a sports watch. So when I sit down at a folk club to listen to Kate Rusby singing Underneath the Stars I’ll look like someone who goes for a bit of a potter over the hills not a wannabe Ricky Lightfoot impressive though his achievements are.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say so it doesn’t really matter if I like the functionality of the watch, the look of the watch or whatever really, the crucial thing is would I be able to use it? I went through the setup, and was given a quick demo, which seemed straight forward enough. I then had a bit of play with it all in preparation for a potter over Skiddaw the following day.
Now I’m not saying I’ve completely mastered it yet, in fact I’ve barely even scratched the surface. Of the features you understand, not the watch. However I did manage to not only know the time of day when I was out, but I also managed to confirm my altitude, navigate using the compass and believe it or not, get a grid reference too. One small step for man, one giant leap for Mark Wright!
Now I’m not really one for product reviews, but if I were to be writing a proper product review, and this ramble of mine certainly isn’t one, then I’d no doubt be tempted to shower you with stats such as: the Suunto Traverse features GPS and GLONASS for route navigation; real time breadcrumb view of the recorded track; tracking for speed, distance and altitude; route planning in Movescount.com with topographic maps; 100m / 330ft water resistant; altutude (FusedAlti); weather trend and storm alarm; sunrise and sunset times; compass; flashlight; daily activity tracking of steps and calories; GPS time update; vibration alarm; mobile notifications; compatible with Suunto Movescount App (ios and Android); and finally it’ll give you up to 100 hours of use in GPS mode and 14 days in normal watch mode.
Will I use it to its full potential? Probably not! Will I continue using it to check my altitude? Certainly! Will I enjoy the luxury of having a six figure grid reference always at hand? Absolutely! It looks great too and for a fairly large watch, it feels incredibly comfortable also. You never know in time I may go on to use some of the other features too. I’ve even started wearing it on my wrist, now there’s progress for you.