Just as I ran a marathon without any Suunto watch, for the first time ever, leaks and Suunto’s FCC filings started pointing to a new watch from Suunto.
I still have a soft spot for them – but should anyone?
Suunto has had a rough patch in recent years. The brand was beloved, if niche, but fell seriously behind its competition.
Are things going to change with 2023’s new watch, apparently the Suunto Vertical?
By now, from a LinkedIn post of Suunto’s Head of Sales EMEA (and Suunto’s and sponsored athletes’ Instagram teasing like crazy), we know that the announcement (and probably release) will be on May 9 at 10 a.m. CET.
And Sport Schuster managed to leak most of the models now (via Google’s Shopping tab), May 4.
Suunto has also started teasing the imminent arrival of their latest-and-greatest; have a look at their social media channels, e.g. Instagram!
And the leaks go on…
What can be seen from Suunto’s FCC filing is that this new model, number OW222 (following on the Suunto 9 Peak Pro, OW211, iirc) will still follow the design language established with the Suunto 9 Peak.
So, there’ll be exposed lugs for the band, three buttons on the right side of the watch, a pretty sharp-angled industrial design language.
The bezel diameter of this new Suunto watch, however, will be 48.8 mm, making it very similar to the Suunto 9 Baro (which has a 50 mm bezel).
(The Suunto 9 Peak Pro’s bezel diameter is only 43 mm.)
(I’m not going to call this “specifications” since we don’t know too many details so far.)
What the FCC filing tells us is that the Suunto Vertical (well, OW222; the filing doesn’t mention a/the name) will use the bezel as antenna for its dual-band GNSS (i.e., GPS reception on bands L1 and L5).
There will not only be the usual BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) transmission protocol, but also WiFi connectivity straight on the watch.
The way the OW222 follows the looks of the 9 Peak, and just the way things have been going, we can expect to again find a touchscreen.
The Suunto Vertical will be a GPS sports watch with oHR – no surprise there.
I wanted to start speculating what WiFi connectivity could be used for… and then saw that I didn’t need to speculate. The FCC filing actually states that it is meant for map downloading!
By now, I have also seen a rich link to a webstore that included a product image, which clearly shows navigation by route, similar to what we are used to from Suunto watches, overlaid on a map view.
Suunto Vertical Models
Store links/leaks also point to another interesting – optional – feature: solar.
Apparently, there will be “cheaper” (probably steel) models for around 600 EUR and more expensive titanium and solar models for around 800 EUR.
“Solar” must, of course, refer to solar charging capability (used to extend battery life).
What We Should Consider
As I said above, I still have a soft spot for Suunto.
Looking at everything they have done with the Suunto app (now with Training Zone, AI coach – whatever that means here – and pretty uniquely with Android widgets I’d really like to use), I’d love to use a Suunto again.
For my recent training, however, the Suunto watches I still own had not worked well enough.
The Suunto Vertical sounds like it might finally put Suunto back into the game by having the Finnish (if now Chinese-owned) company give us the main features that they had failed to deliver.
As usual, Suunto still seems to think that having their watches Made in Finland and by Suunto lets them command prices that are (nearly) as high as other brand’s top-end models.
I’m not sure they deliver as well as they think – but at the same time, if they manage to deliver an experience like they used to, with a wearable that looks high-class and delivers great performance, and that’s finally up-to-par with the competition in terms of features, I’d still gladly give them a chance.
The “But” of Watch Reviews – and Wearables
My next race is in mid-June already; I’ll finally attempt a mountain ultramarathon again.
Training time is extremely limited now that I have a full-time job and a small child, but that’s exactly what I want the wearables I use to help me with.
And for my content, that use and help is what I want to focus on, too.
This post is a bit of a bait to lure you back to my site, and a carrot and stick to get myself going again.
Where I want to go is not to driving consumerist frenzy, the way only too many reviews do it, however.
I want to use wearables for (my) purposes of learning more about myself and the world, and I want to help you get the most out of them.
You don’t need the newest tool and shiniest toy for that, you need to know how to use it all to the best of its – and your – potential.
Note re. copyright / leaks
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All images are used used under Fair Use ruling for the purpose of news reporting and commentary; their copyright remains with their respective owners.