There aren’t a lot of women’s outdoor watches on the market. Geeky multifunction tools like the Casio Pathfinder and the Suunto X9i are large even for men, and tend to be functionally styled. The size of the watch case required to accommodate the type of technology found in modern hiking watches, combined with the fact that marketing departments tend to link technology more with men, have kept these types of adventure watches off the wrists of women.
The problem is that plenty of women are obviously into hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, skiing, etc. and have just as much of a need for helpful instruments as men.The answer, therefore, is not to ignore women, but to design something both functional and feminine. The answer is something like the new Suunto Lumi.
The Suunto Lumi is the only ladies’ ABC (Altimeter/Barometer/Compass) watch that we’re aware of. While not as small and dainty as a formal ladies’ watch, it still manages to look stylish while packing in a very impressive set of features:
- Altimeter, barometer, thermometer, and digital compass.
- Altitude recording function (records ascents and descents).
- Ascent and descent rate indicator.
- Weather trend indicator (barometric pressure history for the last 3 and 6 hours).
- Storm alarm (based on sudden barometric changes).
- Local sunrise and sunset times (just set your continent, country, and city).
- Multiple languages (French, English, German, and Spanish).
- Dual time (two time zones).
- Day counter (counts down the number of days to an event, or counts up from an event).
- Daily Alarm.
- Stainless steel case.
- Mineral glass crystal.
- Electroluminescent backlight.
- Water resistant to 30 meters, or about 100 feet.
- Choice of bands which come in a variety of colors and styles.
- Ability to wear as a pendant (requires a $25 accessory).
Suunto has a very nice interactive demo of the Lumi online. Notice how the watch uses a bitmapped LCD which creates an uncluttered and very usable display. Even complicated features like selecting a continent, country, and city for sunrise and sunset times seem simple with the menu-driven interface. The “second hand” and compass pointer are rendered as small pointers around the edge of the gear-toothed display which is both clever and unobtrusive. The entire display has an electroluminescent backlight for night viewing.
From the interactive demo, the Suunto Lumi appears to be a very capable, usable, and attractive ABC watch. I also really like how it can be worn as a wristwatch, or as a pendant which can be hung from a necklace, belt, or clip (if you purchase it as a wristwatch, there’s a $25 accessory that makes it wearable as a pendant, as well). I also really like the unusual “day counter” feature. Their examples were to have it display the days until a visit, your next vacation, or count down to your due date. Very cool.
The Lumi is available from a variety of retailers for around $300.
By Paul Hubbard