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Suunto does not want you calling its products watches because they are so much more. The brand refers to its instruments rather as wrist top computers. With each watch containing many features including—but not limited to—digital compasses, altimeters, barometers, depth gauges and heart rate monitors, Suunto likes to say that it “replaces luck” given all of those measurements often had to be estimated in the past instead of precisely measured. Coming in many different series, a Suunto wrist top computer is mandatory for any friend of the outdoor lifestyle.
Suunto is the leader in creating the ultimate sports watches, wrist top computers and other outdoor instruments for climbers, runners and divers throughout the world.
Not unlike many great success stories, the Suunto story begins with a 1935 patent of revolutionary compass that was shockproof and meant to be worn on the wrist. It wasn’t long after that when the time was added to it.
Finnish land surveyor Tuomas Vohlonen became frustrated with his work in the early 1930s because the compasses he required for his job were never up to the standards that he needed them to be at. At heart, Vohonen really fancied himself an inventor, so he got to work crafting a new type of compass that was housed in a celluloid case. The inside of it was filled with water to keep the needle wet and free of any kind of rapid or rough movement. Shocks to the case would also not prevent the compass from function properly, and his design was finally patented two years later.
After the onset of World War II, many officers in the war need an instrument to properly measure the azimuth, a measure of distance used in launching weapons. Vohlonen’s Suunto company introduced the sighting compass composed of a liquid inside called the M/40, and it was an immediate success. After the war had ended, Suunto grew by leaps and bounds selling not only the M/40 but many other compasses and instruments to both consumers and military organizations in Europe. Vohlonen passed away in 1939 then leaving the company to his wife, which she ran until 1952.
Based on many Suuntos being classified as “triple sensors” or “ABC watches” (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass), they are beloved across the world by explorers, surveyors, military personnel, extreme sports enthusiasts and really anyone with a lust for life. Mountain climbers, hikers, skydivers, swimmers and deep sea divers are also very fond of Suunto’s wrist top instruments. In fact many people before snorkeling in the Carribbean or hiking in the Rocky Mountains will pick up a Suunto right before they leave. Because each one calibrates in minutes, soldiers will get them delivered to them overseas, and golfers have even take a shine to them as well out on the links.
In addition to Suunto developing the first dive wrist top computer in 1965 (a model that Jacques Cousteau himself used in his work), it also launched a backlit edition in 1993, just four years after they had released another computer for the wrist with a PC interface and scrollable menus, which was clearly ahead of its time. Suunto was also the first wristwatch company to come up with a compass with a reduced gradient bubble model (RGBM), which they did in 1999. Spike TV’s Surviving Disaster host Cade Courtley also wore a Suunto watch for the duration of the series. Courtley is a survival expert when he is not hosting a television show.