Rating: 4 / 5
On May 26th, 2009 Suunto released a new line of Premium, Luxury watches, the Elementum line for user review. I was lucky enough to receive the Elementum Terra, with a Positive (white background, black numbers) display and a black leather band. A big thanks goes to Suunto for letting me have one.
The Elementum line does not have all of the features of some of their other sport models, like the Core, but they are very very nice looking dress watches, that still retain some field functionality. This line of watches has 3 watches. The AQUA is a dive watch. The TERRA, is an ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass) watch, and the VENTUS is a watch designed for sailing/ yacht racing.
Prices have not been announced yet. The watch will be available this month.
You can see Suunto’s info here:
The watch comes in a nice, heavy, coated cardboard box, that is nicely lined with felt. In the box is a manual, a plastic warranty card, and a polishing/cleaning cloth.
My first impression was that the watch was heavier, but smaller than my Suunto Vector and Core. It does feel a bit thicker though. It’s a very nice, dressy watch. After putting it on, it doesn’t seem too heavy. Its got a good weight to it.
Case and Crystal:
The Terra’s case is made of stainless steel, with a matte/satin finish to it. It looks very nicely made, and very sturdy. There are 3 buttons on the right hand side, which all move very nicely. Firm, but with no click. The top button is also a scroll wheel, for scrolling through menu’s and making adjustments. It work very nicely, I wish my core had one. The scroller also moves smoothly, with confirmation clicks.
The case is water resistant to 100m (~300 feet) and according to the manual, the buttons CAN be pushed underwater.
The watch face is a flat, sapphire crystal, which also has an anti-glare coating on it.
The buttons seem to stick out a bit, but in practice they do not get in the way, or pressed accidentally.
The Terra can come with several different bands, leather, stainless steel, or rubber. Mine came with a nice black leather band. It has some white stitching around the edge of it, which really sets it off nicely. The band is very thick and sturdy, but is still comfortable to wear.
The Terra I got has a positive display, which I prefer It is also available with a negative display (black background with white numbers), for those who like that better.
The Terra uses a more traditional segment display for numbers, similar to the Vector. Thus, it will not plot out any charts/graphs of your elevation or air pressure like the Core.
The backlight is VERY VERY bright. Much better than I’ve ever seen on any other Suunto watch.
Suunto has obviously kept the functions of the Elementum Terra to a minimum. I’m pretty sure that’s because it’s meant to be a luxury dress watch. It’s something to wear to the office or a party, but will still function in the mountains, albeit not as well as the Core.
The Terra has only 2 modes, Time/Altimeter and Compass. The main display of the Terra shows a lot of information. In the top row, you get the current elevation, the middle row gives you the time, and the bottom row gives the date. At the top of the screen, you get the pressure trend arrows, and around the perimeter you get the sea-level barometric pressure. The face of the Terra does not have a rotatable bezel like the Vector or Core. Instead, a circular chart is present for reading the Sea-Level barometric pressure. The chart is labeled in both HPA and in inMG. I really like the way this works, it almost like an old fashioned analog barometer.
The Sea-Level barometric pressure displayed, is the reference reading, after calibrating the altimeter. There is no altitude lock like the Core. In this respect, it’s a lot like the Suunto Vector.
I really like the way the menus are reached and used in the Terra, with the scroll wheel. Pressing and holding the top button lets you adjust all of the settings, altimeter etc. The Scroll when lets you make the needed adjustments/calibrations. If you rotate the scroller up, you can select between displaying the date in the bottom row, or a stop-watch. If you rotate the scroller down, you will go into memory mode, where you can access the altimeter logbooks.
The alarm is accessed in the setting menu. There is only 1 alarm. The sound of the alarm is not as loud as I’d like. It will wake up some people, but not me.
Pressing the middle button puts you into the logbook mode. This is where you can start/stop recording of your elevation, and you can also find out your total assesnt/desent numbers.
Pressing the bottom button puts you into the compass mode. The compass has a north indicator very similar to the Vector and the Core. It’s a lot easier to see than those other watches, and I like it a lot. You can also press and hold the 3rd button to force a compass calibration. This is a 3 Axis compass, so it will give accurate bearings, even if the watch is tilted by as much as 45 degrees.
I’m kind of torn. This is one GREAT looking watch, but it lacks the advanced outdoor functionality of my Suunto Core. I think the only option is to have 2 watches. One dress watch for Work, Church etc (the Terra) and one watch for hiking camping etc (the Suunto Core).
Again, I would really like to thank Suunto for giving me the opportunity to review their new watch line. If anyone has any questions, just let me know.
• Very Nicely constructed – SOLID
• Beautiful Dress watch
• 3-Axis (3-D) compass. Does not need to be level.
• No seconds display except when adjusting time
• Lacks the advanced sensor functions of Suunto’s sport watches.
• No Adjustable declination of the compass
• No countdown timer
• No 2nd timezone
• No sunrise/set
• No Altimeter lock
• No pressure graph
Like I said before this is more of a dress watch than a hiking watch. For a dress watch, it will function great. It will do OK in the field, but not as nice as a Suunto Core.
Here are a few pictures of the Elementum, compared to my Suunto Core. Sorry they’re not that great. If you want nice pictures, go to Suunto’s website.