Small changes can make a big difference. Suunto’s recent release of the Suunto 9 Baro and Suunto 7 in Titanium versions sure falls under this category.
Suunto has long gone back-and-forth between more robust, outdoorsy-looking devices and more minimalist, refined, ones.
The Ambit series with its “nose” has now become a beloved model claimed by many to have been the best Suunto ever, but it had long been disliked for its looks and, for some people, lack of comfort.
The Spartan series went for more of a clean look, for the most part.
The Suunto 9 was tougher-looking again, and the Suunto 7 mainly followed its design cues. Here, the bezels pointed towards Suunto’s heritage in compasses, with pointy raised parts at cardinal positions.
The newly released Titanium versions haven’t just gone for titanium bezels. That part is obvious, but noteworthy as the material had hitherto been reserved for special editions alone.
These titanium bezels have also been changed to a very sleek, minimalist look.
Clearly, this is not so much of a change that someone who already has a Suunto 9 Baro or a Suunto 7 should get a new Titanium model.
Trial by Use
The change is only in the exterior, cosmetic – but I was wondering all the more if it would be noticeable in actual use.
Suunto gave me a chance to try out the Suunto 7 in Stone Gray Titanium – and close as it is in looks to the ‘Graphite’ version of the Suunto 7 I bought myself, I like it.
Titanium Color Options
The colors of the Titanium models are materials-inspired (Charcoal Black, Granite Blue for the Suunto 9 Titanium; Matte Black or Stone Gray for the Suunto 7 Titanium).
I find even the rather light-colored Stone Gray to fit very nicely into both outdoors/sports and business settings.
The microfiber straps (that are standard on the Suunto 7 Titanium models) have a lightly textured surface that comes out as dirty-looking on photos, but also fits heathered-color clothes very well, again whether in sports or suit-like pieces.
(In the photo above, on the stone, the band got sweaty, by the way – that’s the reason for the spots/lines it has.)
I was a bit afraid that the microfiber would not be good for sports, and it does have its downside, but it works better than expected.
Now, if you can also get a silicone strap, I would still recommend that for sports. It is just easier to wash and dry off. Wipe it off, it’s dry.
The microfiber watch strap collects water.
In sports, with sweat, that happens less than I feared, and it is not a problem to keep wearing the watch when this strap is damp. I have done that both doing an overnight hike-bivy tour in constant rain, and just after having washed the watch and strap after sports.
Still, it does stay damp for some time.
The minimalism of the bezel – and with it, the watch overall – will not appeal to everyone.
If you want your watch to look rugged, martial, the Titanium versions aren’t the ones for you.
For a watch that fits in with life and sports more easily, as the Suunto 7 in particular is meant to do, however, the minimalism is a nice design touch.
It makes even this large watch look a little slimmer and fit under shirt cuffs and suit sleeves more nicely.
After some weeks of use, I can say that I like it more than I thought I would.
The change is cosmetic and minimal – but it is a nice change for someone like me as a user/customer who wants to have a tool for fitness and adventure (see: microexploration) that fits nicely with a style shaped by performance menswear that is similarly sharp and minimalistic in look (influenced by only too many pieces from Veilance).
The change may also be an interesting portent of what’s to come from Suunto.
If this move towards minimalism isn’t just a one-off, but a trend, Suunto may be moving more into designs that aren’t so much “Look at me, I’m an ultrarunner!” but for people who value more quiet looks in their tools and focus on actually being active instead.