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on October 9, 2009
Have had this watch a little over a week, and decided to write an review for it.

Just a brief comparison between two top-notch ABC watches: - the Core, and the Casio Pathfinder PAW-1500 Titanium, which I purchase a little over three weeks ago as well. I would say, the cosmetic design, the wealth of functions, the ABC accuracy, and the graphical display of the Core, is better than the Pathfinder. However, the built material, the readability, and the push button feel, is not as good as the Pathfinder.

The display is in reverse format, meaning the background is in black, and the alpha-numeric letters are in silver-white. Adjusting the contrast in the Suunto hidden menu does help, but of course, still not as clear as the normal black letter on white background. No fault of Suunto, but just the way the design is. The buttons are responsive and easy to press. To navigate through the menus, the "Mode" button and the "View" button have to be pushed in different combination to get what you want. It might seem confusing at first, but once you understand the logical layout, it's fairly easy to remember. Give yourself a couple of days to get used to it.

Compliments: Extremely accurate ABC. I compare their readings with the actual ABC instruments. The accuracy is incredible and beats the Casio Pathfinder in the dust! The storm alarms reacts to the air pressure change accurately as well. The electronic compass is awesome. Once you set the course, the bearing indicator would display an arrow and directional words (left and right), to guide you to the correct course, which is a great feature. User installable batteries which is great to save a lot of money down the road.

Complaints: The directional rotation ring is difficult to turn. If you have finger nails, you'll need to use them, if you bite your finger nails, good luck. The alarm is a bit soft and hard to hear sometimes. The same problem as the Pathfinder. I wish they can make it louder. The wrist strap looks and feels cheap. The illuminator is a bit dim too.

Tips: This watch has earned a lot of bad reps due to poor quality control in its manufacturer plant in China. It's been tons of complaints and reported problem. After doing some research, it appears that Suunto has finally fixed the hardware and software bugs. When you order the watch, make sure the serial number stars from "918xxxxxx" onward. Mine is "924" and so far so good. You should email the seller, to make sure they send you the updated version as noted above, then your new watch won't spend most of its life going back and forth in the delivery trucks.

Follow up review (please read and rate):

It's been nearly a month I have been wearing this watch, thought I should provide more feedback to help those who are interested in this watch.

I have worn this watch to a two-weeks trip to Eastern Europe. I used all ABC functions intensively, especially the altimeter log and compass functions. To begin with, all readings are extremely accurate as it has always been. The only inaccuracy is its barometer when worn on the wrist, which is understandable due to the body temperature influence. The watch functioned flawlessly during the extreme weather, ranging from 1 degree in Celcius (outdoor), all the way up to warmer than 40 degrees Celcius (I wore it to the hotspring pool for hours). I have also used the daily alarm twice a day, illumination for 3 times a night in average, and the battery is still kicking like a champ. Many reported the battery died out after a month or so even with light use, it appears that Suunto has fixed this major flaw. Yet, it's been just a month of intensive use so I can't say for sure. Even if I have to replace the battery every 6 months, I think it's still worth is as the battery costs less than a couple of dollars to replace. So, my conclusion is: The Core has reclaimed its reputation in my book. I have no doubt that it will continue to perform well. Just make sure that you buy the one with the latest firmware (serial number after:92xxxxxx SW: 1.1.0 HW: 3A. Please rate and comment if you find this helpful
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on August 14, 2015
I chose the Dusk Gray Suunto Core because I didn't want a loud or bright colour that draws attention, but I didn't want the typical cliche tactical black look either. The grey colour scheme is subdued, but classy. It looks really nice in person, but otherwise it functions the same as every other Core. The negative display adds to the overall look and is very legible in outdoor light. Indoors however, legibility does suffer a bit, but you can adjust the contrast on the watch to improve legibility. My advice is to stick with the positive display models of you want an easy to read display indoors and out. The silicone strap is very soft and comfortable, but only time will tell how long it lasts. I also like that the watch uses common CR2032 batteries that the user can easily install without any special tools. I won't comment on what the watch does since there are a host of reviews and demos online, and chances are that if you're reading this review, you already know what the Suunto Core does. Now the bad. The first one I bought had dust particles and some lint under the crystal, so I returned it as defective. This one obviously slipped past Suunto's quality control. Amazon quickly gave me a refund since they fulfilled the order. I ordered a second one which was advertised as new and under warranty by the seller, but the watch I received had clearly been worn and used. It even had some scratches on the caseback and was missing the quick guide manuals. I was not thrilled at all, but at least Amazon customer service came through to make it right. Kudos to Amazon. Still, it's kind of unnerving to think you're going to receive a used item after paying for a new one. My advice to anyone ordering this watch. Inspect it carefully for any visible defects. The watch should come deactivated in a Suunto box with quick start guides and vinyl peel-off protectors on the crystal and caseback. If it doesn't, it was likely bought and returned.
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on January 28, 2015
This watch has so much potential. But unless you are always in a highly lit area the display becomes unusable. Maybe if the numbers were digitally lit and not back lit, I would have been able to make it do. But for that reason only, I have returned this one and have purchased the non black face hoping for better results. Attached are pictures of inside outside and no light using the back light feature on high contrast setting. It is there you just have to zoom in to see it.

Update: I exchanged the Sahara Yellow with the Lava Red. Very pleased with this. I can actually function with the non all black format.
Pictures Show Inside Outside and Backlight Image. Side by Side comparison
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on March 20, 2010
About 2 months ago my G-Shock was stolen at the gym, and as disappointed as I was to lose it, it finally gave me an excuse to get a Suunto. The Core wasn't originally my first choice, but it has proven to be a good one. My job (Marine M1A1 mechanic) requires that my gear be tough, and after 2 months without leaving my wrist, it looks the same as the day I bought it. It is packed with features, many I probably won't ever use, but it is very easy to navigate through the various menus and features. Set up was a cinch as well, it probably took no more than 5 minutes to set up the whole watch the way I needed it. I would recommend this watch to anyone with an active outdoor lifestyle, in the military, or merely in need of a tough, feature-packed, and attractive watch.


I have had the watch for a year and a half now and it is still going strong. It has survived a deployment to Afghanistan with only very minor scratches on the bezel ring. I cannot express how impressed I am with this watch. It has survived large explosions from close range, extreme heat (both from the Middle East and from the turbine engines I work on, very fine dust, impacts, etc. This thing has never skipped a beat.
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on July 1, 2009
Got my Core to use mostly for hiking, sailing and daily use. Looks good (although had few friends make comment that now when I am wearing that watch they can see me 3 miles down the road - making fun of the size) The watch is surprisingly light and good looking. After that its not so hot. My watch lasted for about 7 months when my lower right button became stacked and pushed in. Watch became unusable and even thought in warranty I had to pay $50 dollars to have it replaced. (warranty fee - what???)

I am very disappointed with the quality of the watch. The functions are not as precise as I expected (altimeter, compass are really good only as a rough estimate). Hope you have a better luck. I am selling my new unit ASAP and looking at different makers.
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on November 12, 2010
I got the Core in Dec. 2009. About 8 months later pixels in the AM/PM area of the display as well as a horizontal line simply no longer functioned. I dropped it off at my local Tourneau dealer for service (I bought it off Amazon). The watch was still under warranty and Tourneau shipped if off for service (I felt customer service at Tourneau was top notch). I got the watch back today. They replaced the entire watch except for the band. Everything looked in order (display was looking good) until I tried out the illumination button. Alas, the pixels work, but now the illumination is not working correctly. It is very dim (I changed the batteries to see if that was the problem) and the illumination is not uniform. You can read it but with difficulty. As the watch before the service had a great illumination I know something is wrong. I'm going to have to take the watch back tomorrow and have them send it back. In essence I've received two watches and both have had serious problems.

This is an update. Today is 8-1-11. My watch's LED died again. As always my local Tourneau was very helpful even though I bought the watch from Amazon. I got a new watch a few days ago. So far it is working. To sum up, this is my 4th watch (initial purchase and three replacements). Hopefully this one will work for the long haul. All the watches they've provided use a lot of battery, batteries on this model need to be replaced every 4 months.
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on August 3, 2010
Well my Core Aluminum landed today and I am blown away with how good it looks. The quality is top notch. The button push is sooo much smoother and mirrors the feel of the X6M. Yea, its that good. If you look closely at some of my pics, you can see a stainless steel collar that surrounds the buttons as they protrude from the aluminum watch case. The buttons are set in like a piston. This collar is not on the plastic Cores and can only be found on the Aluminum or Steel Core. This could explain why the button push is noticeably better.
The specs are :Suunto Core Alu Black. Mode# SS014280010. Serial number is 009*****. Of course this means it was built in March of 2010. It has a software of 1.1.0 and hardware of 3A. Needless to say I am happy it is a post 2009 model. The factory contrast was set to 5 and I bumped it up to 6 or 7 just because. I didnt see any ghosting at these setting. At 10 ghosting was obvious. The negative display is supper sharp. Its like Suunto may have tweaked the screen display. Anyway, my first impressions are like a kid on Christmas morning with a new BB gun..
The Aluminum makes the watch look organic or something out of a high tech aircraft. It has the same shade and texture of aluminum as the knobs and switches in my Audi S. The bezel is almost seamless. So seamless I didnt know the inner part of the bezel with the button labels didnt turn. It fits tight and seamless with the outer bezel, it looked to be one solid piece. The watch has a German car feel about it, if that makes any sense?
Bezel turn is solid and tight with a quality feel. No slop, no side movement at all. The only down side of this watch is the Leather strap. Its not in the same league as the watch. I knew this going in and planned on using the "light black" Core elastimer strap. I really just wanted the matching aluminum lugs to use with a few 24mm rubber dive straps I ordered for this watch. I love to change straps and give the watch a different look from time to time. The light black Suunto strap breaths better than any other strap I have use on a Core. It also fits seamlessly and tighter into the watch case than my other Cores I have used it on. No gaps what so ever. I love the look. Its gives the watch a very high tech stealth look. I put the watch through all my test. It passed with flying colors. I generally try to get a new watch to fail the first day of ownership. I used my wife's rubbermade gift wrapping tub and filled it full of 34" of water to test the depth gauge. It read 1 foot at exactly at 12" of water and 2 feet at exactly 24" of water. This is more accurate than my last Core where it needed 16" of water for it to register 1 foot. The back light seems to be stronger as well?? It still flutters in compass mode but its very good. I am gonna get a pic later. To sum it up: Its like having a old friend back on my wrist. I have and had a lot of different ABC watches and I can comfortably say there is NO other ABC watch that has the graphics and features as the Suunto Core. The Core is THE ABC which all other watches are currently judged by. The aluminum Core is as good as I thought it would be and the all metal case makes huge difference in the button push and bezel feel. I am kinda ticked I waited this long to buy the Core Alu. Its worth the extra money IMO.
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on May 7, 2014
The watck looks amazing, the quality is really good. everything is perfect on this watch. Suunto makes the best outdoor watch. the color look good and the screen is perfect. I wear this watch while deployed in afghanistan, never had a problem,and the numbers are not so bright (unless you press the light button) making it perfect for night operations. compass works and is fully reliable. I changed the band for a black band so will match my uniform better, and looks amazing. very happy with this purchase. I'm buying another one next in a few days for my wife. Amazing.
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on December 22, 2014
Good looking and very comfortable watch. Go to the Suunto website to get a better instruction manual than what comes with it. Also there are some useful you-tube videos about setting it up. My only complaint was that it was tough to see the time and other data, but that can be corrected by adjusting the Contrast, I set mine to "9".
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on February 14, 2016
What a great watch, i finally pulled the trigger and bought my first suunto. This thing looks great and holds up in extreme conditions. I did buy the all black band to go on it to give a bit more tactical look and feel. Any negative reviews are wrong, i would buy this watch agian.
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