Three days before I left for Afghanistan my Casio pathfinder piled in. This resulted in a perfect excuse to spend another hundred odd quid on a watch with 93 different functions, only two of which will be used. Anyhow a trip to my local surplus shop with a bare wrist and a pocket full of cash soon fixed this crisis. My choices were; the Suunto Vector, the Suunto Core black the Casio pathfinder (previously owned) and the Casio twin sensor. The very intelligent looking owner approached me and asked if I would like some assistance, I didn't, I had already chosen the vector in my mind. What followed was an awkward discussion about the technical details and barometric accuracy. Being lost for words and not having any interesting facts about anoraks lined up, all I could do was smile, nod and try to remember these questions which I could Google later!
£150 later I was en route home to show the long haired general my early birthday present.... to myself. Not wanting to loose any man points after donning the Vector I swiftly threw the "des-tructions" in the bin, a decision eight seconds later which I regretted. Ten minutes later I had managed to set the time and zero the altimeter... With cuffs blazing I guessed Tidworth in Wiltshire was "about" sea level.
The Vector boasts an impressive array of features such as an Altimeter with vertical speed measurement, altitude alarm, Barometer with pressure difference measurement, compass with leveling bubble and a user replaceable battery. All very impressive for a watch thats sole job it is to tell me when my STAG is up!
After month 2 of ownership I already have some very strong opinions about this watch, only three of which are negative.
Firstly, the method of illuminating the watch face, which is a 2-3 second press of the top right button, also doubling up as the mode switch which I will get on to. This feature has become massively annoying. Possibly the software programmers only imagined the sneaky beaky type of soldier to own this watch and that one accidental press of the illum button would give ones position away! Utter rubbish! whats wrong with a nice soft centre button or even the rotational sensor illum that many Casios sport?
Leading on to the Mode button its self, positioned top right of the face and fairly prominent I find the back of my palm hitting this often, when a quick glance at my old watch would of done, I now have to cycle back through the different modes to the "time" screen. This is not the end of the world, but could be likened to a small metal splinter, it doesn't hurt that much but drives you mad after a while!
Thirdly, the strap is harder than woodpecker lips and if I am honest, uncomfortable. Naturally I have denied this to anyone questioning why I spent so much on a watch. Solution; I have recently taken delivery of an elastic 1 piece strap (about £25 off eBay US), and it has saved the Vectors life! soft and flexible my fat wrist is now at ease.
I have seen an increase in Suunto's being worn my soldiers especially working for"16-AAAB" 16-Ally-Air-Assault-Brigade which to me says they are good solid watches. I'm not entirely sure I will resurrect it when the battery packs in or just keep it in that draw by the phone which is full of crap! Should I have bought the Casio PF or Twin sensor? Probably, but the Vector is by far the best looking watch i have owned. All the cons aside I would rate this watch a 7 out of 10, but an elastic strap is a must for comfort. Is it time to go to bed yet? I shall tell you in 2-3 seconds.