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Gear Review



Page Type: Gear Review

Object Title: Observer

Manufacturer: Suunto

Your Opinion: 
 - 3 Votes


Page By: Alan Ellis

Created/Edited: Oct 22, 2002 / Oct 22, 2002

Object ID: 9196

Hits: 88 


Shock-resistant Observer is a tool for the athletic challenges, but its timeless design makes it wearable in any casual situation. The Observer is 1/3 smaller in both diameter and width! It also features a chronograph, which previously was only offered in the Navitech. Available in 3 different material combinations: stainless steel housing with elastomer strap, stainless steel housing with stainless steel strap, and titanium housing with titanium strap. Water Resistant to 100m / 330 ft. (3 times deeper than the other non-dive watches). Metal Strap versions consist of metal links over an Elastomer strap with a hinge type opening. Our biggest complaint about the Observer is the Alarm Volume; in order to get all of the electronics in the small casing, something had to give, and it was certainly the alarm speaker size. If you normally use a watch alarm, this one is at best about 1/2 the volume.


- Current altitude: range -500 to 9000 meters or -1,600 to 29,500 feet – resolution 1m/3ft

- Altitude alarm

- Logbook feature can now store up to 39,999 ft and includes average vertical ascent and descent, number of runs, and duration of the event

- One button access that allows the user to view a logbook while it is recording

- NEW lockable altimeter which stops altitude drift due to weather changes


- Absolute pressure range 300 to 1100 hPa or 8.90 to 32.40 inHg

- Sea level pressure range 921 to 1080 hPa or 27.25 to 30.80 inHg

- Resolution 1 hPa pr 0.05 inHg

- 4-day barometric memory in intervals of 1 hour for the first six hours, and then in six hour intervals

- NEW lockable barometer which keeps altitude from changing.


- Digital compass that can be used anywhere in the world.

Declination adjustable

- Bearing tracking mode which displays the difference between a locked bearing and actual bearing

- Resolution bearing of 1 degree


- 12/24 hour clock

- 3 daily alarms

- Chronometer that can record 1-99 split times and split times for 1 run

- Dual time

Other Features:

- Electro luminescent backlight feature

- User replaceable battery

- Water resistant to 100m/330ft

Titanium housing with titanium bracelet: $499.00

Stainless steel with stainless steel bracelet: $349.00

Stainless steel with elasomer band: $299.00


Viewing: 1-3 of 3

Alan EllisUntitled Review

Voted 5/5

I have a Vector for the hills and the Observer for the office. After having the Observer for several months, I can see the advantage of having the Altimeter/Barometer lock function. However, I just can't seem to bring myself to take it outside. It looks too good. Like the Vector, the functions and abilitiies of this instrument are outstanding, but with the addition of exceptional styling.

Look around on the internet. I got mine for about half price of the suggested retail.
Posted Oct 22, 2002 5:57 pm

Erik BeelerUntitled Review

Voted 4/5

A very nice watch with tons of features but it had better. The altimiter has proven fairly accurate on trips to 14,000 feet and the barometer trend feature has been nice when trying to figure out the weather.

I like having a compass but would like it even better if it worked for headings between s/e, s and s/w. Can eat batteries compared to other lesser featured watches but if you can afford it you can affor the 5 dollar batteries too.

Oh! I really like the band too. It has a trim to fit band which is adjustable and comfortable.
Posted Nov 16, 2003 9:13 pm

STWUntitled Review

Voted 5/5

I have the stainless steel housing with elastomer strap.

I also have 2 other Suunto watches. The Altimax and the Mosquito (for scuba diving). The Mosquito is a similar housing to the 1st generation Suunto wristop computers (altimax, vector, etc.) but, obviously, has significantly different internal software (dive computer).

The Observer is what I would call Suunto's 2nd generation housing design. Compared to my Altimax, the Observer is heavier, but significantly smaller. The Altimax is actually quite light! But size-wise, it's a bit like having an egg mcmuffin strapped to your wrist. The large size has the advantage of presenting you with a large, easy to read display; and, with large buttons you can use even with gloves on. The Observer's display is a bit smaller, but is still quite legible. The buttons are, again, a bit smaller, but I bet you could still use them with gloves on. The Altimax is a pretty geeky looking watch. The Observer is a downright handsome watch. It doesn't look at all out of place in the office during the week.

From a features perspective, the user experience is very similar to that of the Vector. You have access to timekeeping, altimeter, barometer, and compass. You use the same button-strokes to access these features as you would with the Vector. The Observer may have a few new features that the Vector doesn't, but Suunto has done a nice job of not forcing users to learn a new interface.

Keeping with that, the altimeter/barometer/compass features deliver accuracy perfectly in line with my expectations for Suunto - pretty much top of the line amongst altimeter watches.

One item I miss in the new watch is a count-down timer in the timekeeping mode. I actually used that a lot on my Altimax. It is not a feature of the Observer.

The only big gripe I have about this watch is its weight. Perhaps if you shell out for the extra dough for the titanium version, you'll get a lighter watch?
Posted Sep 27, 2005 10:05 pm

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