Suunto Elementum Ventus
When I made a trip round Cape Horn this spring, I brought all kinds of gear and gadgetry along. But my favorite piece of equipment was strapped to my wrist. You see, as a mariner, I found it a constant frustration that a lot of the really cool, high tech sailing watches are, well, less than good looking — and they often require an advanced degree in engineering to operate. Then I met the Suunto Elementum Ventus ($899 and up, depending on the watch strap). Suunto has been making great watches with outdoor and technical applications for years, but the Ventus was the first one that really tempted me. It sports the usual time, date, and alarm functions, but it also packs a strong backlight, an advanced 3D compass for navigation and a sailing timer. My favorite features of the Ventus, by far, are its 12-hour barometric pressure trend graph and the 24-hour barometric pressure trend log. Water resistant to 100 meters, the stainless steel outer case and anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass are made to weather harsh ocean conditions. The large watch face holds a lot of information available at a glance and with the simple push of a button a function can be changed.
In short, the Ventus packed just what I needed and not more and made the information I wanted readily accessible. All that in a watch that was sporty yet elegant: perfect for trips that involve transitions from foul weather gear aboard to fine dining ashore.
Suunto has two other watches available in its luxury line: the Aqua, a dive watch, and the Terra, a field watch. www.suunto.com