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  • Suunto - Core Altimeter Watch - Ultimate Black

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  • Suunto - Core Altimeter Watch - Ultimate Black

Suunto Core Altimeter Watch


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    • Ultimate Black, One Size

    176 Reviews


    An essential tool for mountaineers, backcountry skiers, and wilderness travelers. A fun tool for everyone else.

    The weather was clear for days as your expedition ascended 10,000 feet, but then the barometric pressure started to change and your Storm Alarm went off. Thanks to the Suunto Core Altimeter Watch, you set up your high-altitude camp ahead of the big storm and are in your sleeping bag sipping hot cocoa before it hits. Bravo.
    • Highly sophisticated altimeter provides detailed data on your current elevation and elevation change over time—usable up to 29.500 feet
    • Seven-day altitude log and keeps track of your elevation gained and lost for you—so you can focus on the climb at hand
    • Keep an eye on approaching storms with an innovative motion-sensing barometric altimeter with seven-day memory and Storm Alarm feature
    • Additional features include timekeeping, date, chronograph, alarm functions, and underwater depth measurement to 30 meters.
    • Improved interface over previous models for a more user-friendly design
    • Parlez-vous français? Kannst du Deutsch? Habla Español? Yo, you speak English? The Suunto Core Altimeter Watch can answer oui, ja, sí, and yup
    • Slim profile, stylish design, and comfortable strap means you’ll probably want to take it to business meetings and out to dinner with your spouse too
    • Item #SUN0090

    Tech Specs

    Technical Features
    chronograph, digital compass, thermometer, altimeter, barometer
    date, time
    yes, up to 30m
    Recommended Use
    skiing, mountaineering, navigation
    Manufacturer Warranty
    2 years

    Tech Specs

    • Reviews
    • Q & A

    What do you think about this product?

    Have questions about this product?

    Awesome ABC watch with Depth Profile

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I've had my Suunto Core Lava Red since 2012, and it has since been my everyday and bike watch. A week ago it died on me, maybe due to abuse, and salt water damage that seeped through the bezel, so maybe it's fitting give it a nice review here.

    First few weeks of having it I had a nasty bike crash that left deep scratches on the bezel, but aside from that, the watch wasn't seriously damaged. The strap eventually went away after a year so I got a zulu 5 ring strap off ebay to replace it. The typical mode button problem of the Cores then happened but was fixed. No issues the sensors and software whatsoever, but after battery changes the barometer and thermometer readings would be way off for a day or so. It's one tough timepiece. The battery normally lasts around a year, but tends to be shorter if the storm alarm is always going off, esp during typhoon season.

    I haven't seen reviews with the depth profile here and although the specs say it has up to 30m of depth measurement, the max depth only records from to 10-12m. It's not a dedicated diving watch, but it's cool to have the feature for snorkeling and skindiving. So maybe we can call it a ABCD watch.

    Awesome ABC watch with Depth Profile

    Doesn't last the test of time

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I've been fortunate to have my Core last for a few years before it totally took a dump. First the bezel, then the altimeter, then the thermometer and finally the strap. I know other people that are on their second or third Core after only a few years. It's a great watch, but hardly worth spending a few hundred dollars every couple of years to have a functional piece of equipment.

    Rugged, reliable, simple

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Height: 5'10"
    • Weight: 165lbs

    Love this watch. I've taken it across several continents. I've taken it backpacking, hiking, climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, you name it. It's been underwater and over 5600m (18,000ft).

    I highly recommend purchasing the color with a dark on light display since you'll be able to more clearly read the numbers in harsh daylight (a common complaint I hear from people with any of the other colors).

    The altimeter is pretty darn accurate: holding within 10-20m of GPS after a full day of hiking or climbing. Even at high altitudes it seems to hold pretty well (barring a storm that'll require a recalibration). This is a barometric altimeter so obviously if there's a massive change in pressure you'll need to recalibrate. No way around it. The benefit of a barometric altimeter is it uses way less battery than a GPS watch and it tends to work in all conditions. Plus it tends to be more granular.

    The thermometer is a joke. You can't really get an accurate thermometer in a watch like this since it'll be warmed by your hand.

    Rugged, reliable, simple

    Great product, terrible customer service

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size

    I bought this watch about a year ago, and it's been great. Ultimate Black is style-ish, and the watch does the things it's supposed to do pretty well. However, dealing with Suunto for what should be a quick warranty fix has been a nightmare. Two of the faceplate screws loosened and fell out, so I contacted Suunto to see what could be done. First they would not let me ship directly to them, they suggested that I drive 4 hours to the "nearest retail location" which was certainly not the nearest retail location on their website. Once I walked 10 blocks to the actual closest retail location, the shop happily accepted the warranty repair and shipped it to Suunto. Suunto shipped the product back with four new screws and said "do it yourself, your warranty is void if we put in the screws for you". What kind of company says this? Is this any way to stand behind your product? Furthermore, the screws are a very small torx wrench which I don't have handy, so I needed to go buy one of these, too. Oh, and the screws they sent me - stripped bare, so I bought new screws from the hardware store too. Genius. The Core is the standard altimeter watch here in our little mountain town, but the service from Suunto was absolutely abysmal. Buyer beware.

    Suunto Quality

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size

    Like most Suunto products, this watch works and functions great. I don't have any huge complaints, other than what a few other people have pointed out: Smart Phones and accessories can do most of what these watches can, thus eliminating the necessity of such a watch... That being said, it does a great job at what it does and the Battery Life is there for the few of us that can't get by on the short-life of our phones and accessories.

    Don't like it.

      Too hard to read in low light times such as dawn/dusk.
      The bearing/marking feature on the compass is not very helpful.
      The major functions of each mode are easy to see, but the sub-functions (i.e. stop-watch, or some of the log features) are displayed too small to read especially when moving.

      Awesome, but play the balance game.

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: Ultimate Black
      • Height: 6'
      • Weight: 250lbs

      Suunto is awesome. I love their stuff. I've had several of their watches and I have taken them from South Africa to Alaska.

      Here is the problem with Suunto watches today. There are so many smart watches available that you can install an 'app' to do everything the Suunto does eg Apple Watch etc...

      So where is the Suunto watch useful today? Well if you are a heavy duty backpacker, pushing 7-10 days of hiking, get a Suunto. If you are a weekend warrior pushing out 8 hour hikes on Saturday, then stick with your smart phone accessory.

      Specifically the Core is awesome because it is the barebone, essential Suunto watch. It gives you want you the stats you want in accomplishing your latest alpine adventure. That being said, I know of several purists who avoid the digital watch solution, and instead stick with more fine tuned instruments to accompany their adventure. A simple chronographic watch can help you find North just as easily as a Suunto watch. Altitude, temp, pressure etc can be better tuned with individual instruments. But if you're looking for general neighborhood stats, this is good for that.

      Overall though I like this watch, I like the aesthetic, and I always smile when I see a stranger repping good gear.

      Awesome Essential

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

      I loved the Suunto Core from the get-go for all my backcountry outings. Quickly however, I started wearing it all the time. It's got everything I could ask for in a watch to take mountaineering, backpacking, and ski touring, but looks nice enough to wear out anywhere. Aside from the great functions of the altimeter, compass, and thermometer; the Barometer is huge plus for me. When you are in any terrain with a possible chance of a storm, it's great to be able to monitor the barometer(or set the storm warning alarm) to time your descents and/or escapes to shelter! When wearing it on your wrist, it isn't gathering the accurate ambient temperature due to your body heat. If temperature is a key piece of info for you then it's best to keep it in the brain or pocket of your pack to get it more accurate to the outside temp. I don't expect this watch to give up anytime soon whatsoever, but when it does, I am immediately buying another Suunto.

      Also: just a shout out to the Suunto customer service, the first one I got had software issues with the altimeter and temperature after a couple trips to altitude, and they replaced it immediately! Thanks Suunto!

      Awesome Essential

      Workhorse - Ultimate Black

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: True to size

      A great watch that truly is a workhorse of a product. It's not the flashy watch, but it's the one I reach for when I head into the back country. Alarm is a perfect volume for those alpine starts, and I haven't had any issues with getting it set. One downside is the contrast is a little weak. Even making adjustments, I feel it can be hard to read in less than ideal lighting conditions. Overall, a great watch for those headed to play that just need a product to work while still looking pretty awesome.

      Fantastic altimeter for the alpine

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: True to size

      I bought this altimeter for a long-distance thru-hike and used it every day for five months. It was reliable, easy to use, and would recommend it to everyone. I found I only needed to calibrate it every once and a while, but that was after substantial elevation change. Just be careful not to scratch large glass face.

      Need help- Suunto Core question


      The Core has been a great watch for me. I have had it for close to 6 months. (Purchased from

      Please see photo. I suddenly got lines on my screen. Is this a battery issue or is screen going out on me?

      Thank you in advance


      Need help- Suunto Core question

      Holds Up Well!!

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: OSFA
      • Height: 5'11"
      • Weight: 175lbs

      It's still going strong, I wear this anytime I'm doing an outdoor activity. Took it snorkeling, mtbing, hiking, kayaking, swimming, and just about everywhere else. So far so good! Only issues is it seems the altimeter gets off and needs to be reprogrammed every so often.Battery has also lasted longer than I expected but when the time comes it will be super easy to switch out.

      Solid Watch

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: n/a
      • Height: 6'2"
      • Weight: 195lbs

      This is my first experience with Suunto. The watch is full of features, few of which I actually use. There is a convenient "lock" function which prevents you from inadvertently switching modes. The paint began to flake from the face almost immediately. More recently, the strap retainer and strap itself have broken and need to be replaced.

      I'm very interested in purchasing the core, my struggle is picking between the all black and the ultimate black. Besides looks is there any differences between the two?

      Hi, is that possible to switch from ft to meters? On the screen.


      Best Answer

      Yes. it will do metric or standard (feet/meters, *f/*C, etc.). It's an option in the menu setting. You can also do 12/24 hrs clock.

      Press and hold Mode button (middle right).

      Scroll down using -/light button to "Units"

      Is there a difference in features between the discontinued colors models and the newer models?

      Hey There,

      The only difference between the disc. model and this years is cosmetic. The functionality and features remained the same. If you have any other questions about this watch or other gear please give me a call at 1-800-409-4502 ext 4446 or email at

      Unanswered Question

      I'm looking to use this watch for backcountry...

      I'm looking to use this watch for backcountry skiing and summer backpacking. What is the difference between the core and the spartan? Any pros/cons of either?

      Core Vs Ambit2 : For $300 less one could...

      Core Vs Ambit2 : For $300 less one could purchase the Core. Is there any defining factor that would push one to buy the Ambit (Ambit2 Sapphire) over the Core?

      Best Answer


      The big difference between these two watches is the GPS, but that GPS does quite a lot for you. Suunto bills the Core as being for "explorers" while the Ambit 2 is for "athletes and explorers." The GPS on the Ambit 2 gives you a more precise altimeter by combining readings from GPS and barometric pressure. The GPS further enables you to track your ground speed, minutes per mile, and with the new upgrade that was just released, cadence as well. The Ambit 2 also has the option of pairing with a variety of accessories including a heart rate monitor. Also, while both watches are very well constructed, I think the Ambit 2 is the more durable, especially in the sapphire edition.

      My advice is to really examine what you intend to use this watch for. If you are looking for a solid ABC watch for backcountry use, the Suunto Core will get everything you need. But if you want a watch that can also track and chart you training over time as you prepare for you next triathlon or ultra, then I think the Ambit 2 is worth the extra money.

      This seems like a huge watch for a female....

      This seems like a huge watch for a female. Is it comfortable to wear?

      Is it genuine?

      Is it genuine?

      Best Answer

      You do realize that Backcountry is one of the largest, most successful, highly regarded online retailers in the world, right? That didn't happen without a whole lot of integrity in satisfying millions of customers over the years. If you buy a Suunto, it is a genuine Suunto.

      What is the typical battery life on this...

      What is the typical battery life on this thing?

      Best Answer

      If you keep the functions locked unless when you use them I typically get a year out of a battery. If you are always using them all the time I would expect them to be about 4 months but at the end of the day you can always get replacement batteries for on the cheap.

      Face size medium... This means what exactly?...

      Face size medium... This means what exactly? I'm a female mountaineer in desperate need of a reliable altimeter watch. I've been told for durability, Suunto is the only way to go. But I'm struggling with face sizes being far too big for my small wrist.

      Any specs on the overall weight and diameter of the face? Also the "rise/height" of the face off the wrist (it does have to fit my jacket and gloves too...)

      Here are some measurements that should help out:

      Case Height: 50 mm

      Case Width: 50 mm

      Case Depth: 14 mm

      Band Width: 1 in

      Band Circumference/Length: 10 in

      Weight: 4 oz

      You will likely max out the band over gloves and a jacket.

      So, I've had this (Glacier Gray if it...

      So, I've had this (Glacier Gray if it matters) for a month and for the most part love it. Tracking vert, a back-up compass, altimeter is pretty damn sweet. I realize that you have to reset the reference from time-to-time but had a pretty big curve ball thrown at me. Did a 6100', starting around 1400'. Check the ascent/descent and somehow it gained 10600' and did a descent of 9700'. How is this possible? I wonder if I got a dud or I missed something in the thousand page booklet. Baffled and frustrated that this happened after dropping three bills.


      I presume you calibrated to a known altitude, it sounds like you did, since you knew your beginning altitude. Even having a barometer lock, a sudden weather change (sudden and sharp drop in barometric pressure) will still affect the altimeter, as it is solely based on a calculation based on pressure. If there was a weather change, that could explain your drastic variance. Don't be too bummed on one occasion of the Core having an accuracy hiccup. Mine has them every now and then, but overall is still one of my favorites.

      It would be my fave if Suunto hadn't discontinued the brown face! You hear that Suunto!?

      What is the difference and/or logic behind...

      What is the difference and/or logic behind the all black face and just the regular looking gray face?

      How waterproof is it? I read on the Suunto...

      How waterproof is it? I read on the Suunto website that it's good for 10m and that seems pretty shallow for such a high tech watch. Does anyone know?

      30M is the nominal rating Suunto gives the Core. The depth gauge on the watch goes to 15m, however, so shallow dives will be about the limit for the Core. More than that, and you should look at the Suunto D series Dive Computers. If you're concerned about the all around water resistance, it'll shrug off just about anything short of deepwater dives.

      how to set the suunto core watch

      how to set the suunto core watch

      Best Answer

      Yes....push and hold the middle right button for 3 seconds. this will take you into the menu to change all settings. You can scroll up and down using the bottom right and top left buttons. To select push the middle right. To back out of the menu, push the bottom left.

      How many alarms can you set with this? For...

      How many alarms can you set with this? For example, I'd like to set a wake-up time, turn-around time, etc.

      The best I can find is that the watch has "Multiple watch, date and alarm functions with dual time and countdown timer"

      Found here:$149+_10042494_10208_10000001_-1_

      Hope this was helpful :D

      Would I be correct in assuming that with...

      Would I be correct in assuming that with digital (ie. watch based) compasses, they will work globally? I would guess that w/o a physical needle, there's nothing to get hung up if you travel to a different compass zone?

      Analog compasses work worldwide. The needle always points north. You just have to adjust declination to maintain accuracy.

      The Core requires the same procedure when you travel. It won't be accurate unless you set the declination.

      Actually most analog compasses don't function worldwide. There are 5 different "Compass Zones" along the longitude lines of the Earth. Due to the "dip" of the needle in relation to equatorial proximity, a North America compass will not function in South America or vice-versa. The exception is "Global" Compasses such as the two offered by Suunto which rely on a special axis rather than a weighted needle, hence the higher cost justification for a "Global Compass".

      So the question remains: Due to the digital nature of a watch based compass, ie. no weighted needle or balanced axis, will they work in any zone?

      Does this Suunto have a ambient air temp...

      Does this Suunto have a ambient air temp function? Is it very accurate or does body heat effect the temp? Thanks...

      Best Answer

      Body heat does affect it Barry, as it does with all alti/baro/comp (ABC) watches. After all, 98.6F is pretty hot. The procedure for ambient air temp is to remove the watch and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Depending on the temp and weather around you, it might be as fast as five minutes or so. The Core is very accurate, in all of its functions, and is one of my favorites. Just bought a new strap for it as well:

      Body heat does affect it Barry, as it does with all alti/baro/comp (ABC) watches. After all, 98.6F is pretty hot. The procedure for ambient air temp is to remove the watch and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Depending on the temp and weather around you, it might be as fast as five minutes or so. The Core is very accurate, in all of its functions, and is one of my favorites. Just bought a new strap for it as well:

      I've been trying to find that same watch band for some time on the internet. I love the tan w/black stitching look. Could you tell me what brand it is? Hopefully you get this, as I couldn't find a way to message you on this website.