Suunto altimeter watches have long been a staple in mountain towns where their shield-like form factor is worn like a badge of honor. However, that same badge of honor can be a distraction in the boardroom or when kicking things up for a night on the town. So, Suunto introduced the Elementum line of watches with the Terra being the on-land enthusiast’s choice. It’s classic lines complement any occasion while still remaining true to its roots as a mountain man’s watch.

Suunto Elementum Terra Features:

  • Altimeter
  • Barometric pressure & trend
  • 3D compass
  • Log: last 8 ascent / descent, max. altitude
  • Stainless steel case
  • Sapphire crystal glass face
  • Leather strap (as tested) — stainless also availabe
  • MSRP: $1000

Suunto Elementum Terra Watch Black/Red Leather

Elementum Terra is stylish and functional

I’ve owned a Suunto altimter watch since the first Vector came to market in the 1990’s. As their designs have progressed and become more and more techie, many outdoor enthusiasts have been searching for a timepiece that looks classy, but doesn’t leave anything to be desired when the whistle blows and weekend adventure is on tap. The Elementum Terra fits the bill perfectly.

The Elementum Terra is available in your choice of two leather straps or full stainless. I’ve had the black/red leather strap and have found it to be stylish, comfortable and extremely durable. What’s funny, is I’ve had more compliments on this watch than any other watch I’ve owned. It seems I can’t go anywhere without anyone noticing and commenting on just how awesome it looks. It’s honestly taken me by surprise on some levels since I’m not that flashy of a guy, but the watch definitely gets noticed — in a good way.

As Suunto’s premium line, the Terra leaves nothing to be desired. When I say leather strap, it’s unlike any leather watch band I’ve had previously. This thing is thick and durable and easily withstands daily wear — including extended full water submersion. It did take about a week to get the band to adapt to my wrist and become fully-comfortable, but once past that break-in period, it feels natural.

Suunto Elementum Terra Watch Review

It’s large, for sure. But, there’s a ton going on with this timepiece.

While Suunto has better dedicated watches for cycling and running, I’ve worn the Terra extensively while road biking and trail running. The large buttons are easily pushed with gloves on and when cinched down properly, it stays put even while running. All functions are straightforward — I figured them all out without a single glance at the manual. The only thing that gets me sometimes is the rotating button, which switches between date and chronograph in one direction and scans through previous logs when turned the opposite direction.

While the black reverse face is stunning, you do have to look at it at the right angles for best clarity. Additonally, the three-line display was sometimes difficult to read at-a-glance. I know that the middle (and largest) line is the time, but the leading zero on the time sometimes made me think it was the altitude. A little more time on my wrist and I’m sure that would go away.

All the functions of the watch have been spot-on. I’d daresay this is the most accurate altimeter I’ve owned. As I’ve compared my logs between Strava and the Terra, the elevation gain/loss has been almost exactly the same. Suunto could have added even more features to this watch, but I’d say they have just the right ones for most outdoor enthusiasts who are looking for classic lines and mountain functions.

The Good:

  • Upscale look and feel for a classy outdoors vibe
  • Stainless steel case is rock solid
  • Leather strap is more comfortable than metal
  • Very accurate altimeter readings
  • All functions were discovered sans manual
  • Becomes even more comfortable with use
  • I’ve banged it up a bit and it looks like new

The Bad:

  • Can be bulky
  • Protruding buttons can catch on things
  • Not the ideal running companion
  • Time and date should not display the leading 0 (e.g. 2:15 instead of 02:15)

The Bottom Line

The Elementum Terra is the granddaddy of outdoor watches. This premium watch has solid good looks and performance. I’d say it’s like an Audi A8 for your wrist — supreme engineering, sexy good looks and precise performance.

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About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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