The Finnish word “suunta” roughly translates to “direction,” which is precisely what Tuomas Vohlen was seeking when he founded Suunto in 1936. One of his first inventions was a liquid-filled field compact compass that could be worn on the wrist. Later (some 65 years after) Suunto was the first brand to make an outdoor “wrist-top” computer that would have the “ABCs” (altimeter, barometer and compass) with their Vector which revolutionized mountain travel. The brand’s latest offering, the Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro, continues that legacy.
The Spartan series was first introduced in 2016 with the Spartan Ultra (with high GPS accuracy, long-life battery and ABCs) and the Spartan Sports (no ABCs, lighter, and with the option for a heart-rate monitor). Now, the Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro combines these features, making it the perfect watch for mountain sports training.
We first took out the 2.61-ounce wristwatch on a casual hike in order to get familiar with its interface. It works with Suunto’s app Movescount, which isn’t immediately intuitive, but given a little time, the personal gamification qualities come out and the app becomes natural and easy to use. Movescount has an almost overwhelming amount of built-in sport modes listed in the menu—everything from kitesurfing to motorsports. We found that this feature encourages the wearer to cross train in multi-sports, where other traditional smart sports watches tend to favor triathlon disciplines only.
Each sport has individualized charts to track your training accurately and after a session. These charts have all the input from the watch, heart rate, altitude, speed, pace and route, plus the charts can be customized. Movescount also works with third-party apps like Strava.
With a POI navigation system, route altitude profile navigation, heat maps, a storm alert feature and more, this device is packed with features. Perhaps surprisingly, then, it’s also incredibly comfortable to wear. Easily adjustable, the watch boasts a large face—perfect for a quick glance mid-activity. The case is smooth and the heart rate monitor on the back fits well against the wrist.
You can purchase the Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro online for $599.
Images by John Price