Black Suunto Core Travel Watch Review

Black Suunto Core Review

Black Suunto Core Travel Watch Review

The Suunto Core watch has been knocking around for a few years now and is available to purchase in many countries around the world.

For those new to the product, the Suunto Core is a watch geared towards travel and outdoors use. The sporty aesthetics of the Core make just as at home during weekend hikes on the trails, as it is having a few casual drinks in the pub. The large watch face grabs attention that forces comments from friends and travellers alike.

Even though it’s not new on the market, the selection of features offered still allow it to hold its own in today’s crowd.  The Suunto Core’s standout design and features make it popular with travellers, hikers, climbers, military, and any other folks who live the outdoor lifestyle.

Since its release Suunto have been quick to reinvent the external styling of the Core. Although the actual internal user interface is the same, the watch now has the option of a variety of strap and bezel options. At the time of writing the brushed steel version is the most expensive to buy.

As a travel watch, wearing the Suunto Core can feel a little over the top at first, especially if you’re used to wearing something with a smaller face. However after wearing the Core for a while you hardly notice the larger size.

Either running along the beach or swimming in the ocean, it sits on the wrist well. It’s surprisingly versatile and endures everyday use with ease. Happily it can withstand the rigors of many gym weight and circuit sessions. Ok, yes the large face can rub against your hands slightly when performing press ups, but nothing major to worry about.

Black Suutno Core Review

Black Suunto Core watch with the original strap

The following features explain why Suunto don’t call the Core a watch, but a wrist computer:


If you just require a watch to tell the time then this may not mean much to you. However if you like climbing, hiking, or any other activity that involves different terrane heights, then this feature is certainly for you.

The Suunto Core’s altimeter range will go all the way up to 9000m (29 500 ft) and will measure the differences in altitude climbed.

The Core allows the logging of your altitude movements in between the time the hiking started and stopped. Also changes in altitude during the hike can be viewed, allowing you to find out how much of the mountain has been climbed, the length of ascents and descents, as well as the average ascent and descent speed.

Perfect material for when you want to re-live your trip at home and need some figures to back up your epic climbing adventure stories!


The Suunto Core has the ability to display the current sea level pressure in a graph.

The graph can display the last 24 hours, with an interval break up every 30 minutes. The weather gauge feature is great for providing a solid reference point to check upcoming weather conditions.

Another positive is the Suunto Core storm Alarm. The Storm Alarm is like your run of the mill wake up alarm, except instead of walking you up it alerts you of any incoming storms. If you’re not a fan of getting wet, then the alarm can provide a warning it’s time to find shelter.

Automatic Altimeter/Barometer switch

The Core features an altimeter/barometer switch for monitoring your movement and switching between altimeter and barometer automatically.

When on the up it will record the change in height and when you’re static it will record any changes in barometric pressure.


One of the most functional features for the urban traveller wandering through the city back streets is the digital compass. The declination adjustment function allows you to measure an accurate difference between the true North and magnetic North.

The Suunto Core version pictured sports a rotating bezel for traditional orienteering and navigation. Note: some Core models do not have this feature.

Water Depth Meter

Unlike like other offerings in Suunto’s range, the Core is not a true deep diving watch. The 10-meter depth is more suited for swimming and snorkelling.

The Core watch can be used in the ocean for both with no issues of water getting inside the internals of the watch.

After coming out of the ocean salt water, simply give it a rinse under the tap, or with clean water.

Time Features

That’s why most of us choose a watch to wear right? Well, the Suunto core has all the features you would expect, including dual time, date, walk up alarm, sports chronograph, countdown timer and predicted times for sunrise and sunset for over 400 locations worldwide.

Perfect if you need to set up camp, or simply get back to the hostel before dark.

Black Suutno Core Review

Black Suunto Core watch with the new strap at Fraser Island

Although the features of the Suunto Core are still impressive today as when first purchased in 2010,  the Core model is no longer the flagship of the Suunto range. With today’s multi-sports athletes requiring a GPS interface, the Suunto Ambit3 has filled the role and is now the premium watch in the Suunto range.

However, the Core can still hold its own, and is perfect for those who do not require the GPS feature or don’t want to fork out the high price take for the Ambit3 model.

Various battery life results have been observed in the Suunto Core, depending on the battery brand. Normally around 12 months is good, but 18 months has been achieved from others. The time limiting factor to consider is how you use the watch.

Is it just tell the time? Or are the other features in use constantly? The replacement of the battery is easy and can be performed at home by placing a coin in the battery cover on the back of the watch and turning. This eliminates any annoying journeys to the watch shop, and batteries can be picked up for next to nothing.

The construction of the Suunto Core is surprisingly robust, and although no one is expecting Casio G-Shock durability, the Suunto holds up well. As you can tell by the photos the watch has received a knock or two during daily duties. The most noticeable is the big scratch received, even though the impact was centered around the face area, it held strong and didn’t crack. It’s fair to say scratching a nearly new watch is an annoying to do, but I hear from a friend that in rock climbing communities, having a scratched and beat up Suunto watch is the way to go.

Do we really need all the features and functions for a simple travel watch?

The only way to answer this is basing it on the lifestyle and the activities you participate in.

For me I love the outdoors, so all features will get plenty of used, as well wearing the watch casually. If you are an active outdoor type of person, then the Suunto Core or any Suunto is a valid investment. However, if the price tag of the Core is too much for you then maybe try the Suunto Vector model.

Where To Buy The Black Suunto Core

The following places sell the Black Suunto Core:

Amazon US – Amazon UK 

Black Suunto Core Travel Watch Review images taken by ToolsofTravel

Barry Sproston

Barry is a traveller and expat who spends most of his time between Asia and Australia. He has spent 12 months training at a Gung Fu school learning Wing Chun. Explored the island of Taiwan by scooter more than once. Been tricked into eating raw horse meat sushi in Japan. Even tried to overcome the fear of heights by bungee jumping in Thailand. One day he plans to open a guesthouse.

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2 thoughts on “Black Suunto Core Travel Watch Review

  1. Dwayne

    Interesting review Barry. I do prefer the new strap over the original one. I have the same style with the newer strap and haven’t had to change it yet. Purchased my Core in 2013 and have put it through hell. Great timepiece!

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