Elementum Ventus Review

Thread: Elementum Ventus Review

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  1. #1
    tmc
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    Re: Elementum Ventus Pics and initial thoughts...

    After having a Ventus for a few days, I thought I would add some comments to Jeff's excellent review.

    A little about me: I've been collecting "high-end" (mostly swiss) watches for 17 years. My first watch of note was a Breitling Aerospace and I've always had a spot in my heart for a well made digital watch. This plus buying a black +display Core on a whim at the local REI lead me to Suunto and the Elementum.

    Compared to Swiss construction, the Finnish have made a very competitive watch. The case of the Elementum is top notch with a "carved not stamped" feel to it. I appreciate the sapphire crystal, but I was (am) disappointed that it is neither glare-proofed nor domed. So in a pinch, you can use it as a mirror to fix your hair :)

    The pushers operate well, although the much lauded "rotating A pusher" seems a little less than "swiss rugged" to me.

    The display. Hmm. Alright, after years of Swiss watches that flawlessly pulled off legible negative displays, I don't "get it" with this watch. Why can't Suunto make a negative display with enough clarity and contrast to compete with the likes of a Breitling, TAG or RADO? From my limited understanding of LCD technology, the difference between a positive and a negative display is the polarizing filter. There's not much else to it. So I'm baffled why this is so hard to read. (And yes, I did use the double top secret mode to adjust the contrast, but no setting is even remotely as clear as, say, my Breitling B-1.)

    I am happy with the function of the watch. Suunto seems to have sought to make this watch as uncomplicated as possible-- as possible for a digital wristtop that is! There are essentially four modes (the manual fibs and says there are two): the main time display which can show either barometric pressure numerically or, in the same spot, show the date; the barometric log, which is accessed by rotating the A pusher counter clockwise and scrolls the baro-graph by hour increments; the compass, accessible via the C pusher in all modes except when the "race timer" is running; and the race timer itself, which is a count down to zero chronograph.

    As for the last, the count down chronograph is rather... awkward. It resets to zero by holding the C pusher after it has been stopped by pressing the A pusher. Once zero'd, it assumes 5 minutes as the start time, although you can rotate the A pusher to adjust this by minute increments. If set to zero, it works as a modest chronograph. Why modest? It counts 10ths of seconds (using a faux 100ths of seconds display-- the 100ths place never changes) until 1 minute, then switches to minutes and seconds, and then to minutes only. As for the last mode, there is no way to detect it is still running w/o catching a digit change. Unlike the "standard" convention of blinking the ":" to indicate a running chronograph, the ":" is static. Also unfortunate is that, when stopped, the watch will not display the more precise readings. What do I mean? Compare this to an Aerospace, where when the chronograph is stopped, the watch alternates between showing the minutes and the seconds, so that you can at least access the level of precision stored in the watch. No dice with the Ventus.

    One feature I thought I would like-- and the main reason I chose this over the Terra-- is the barometric pressure graph. I liked that feature of my core and this is very similar to the core. But unlike the core, since it does not have an "auto" altitude mode, the baro will fluctuate as you go up or down in altitude. How sensitive is it? I work on the second floor of a building and it notices the difference when I am in my office vs. on the street. That's unfortunate.

    As to the alarm, it is too weak to wake me up (I did several "real life" tests, thankfully backed up with my trusty desktop alarm clock). That's not a given in wristwatches. The B-1 I have, for example, could wake our flat coated retriever up-- no small feat! It's LOUD. But not the Ventus.

    The battery life estimate of one year is a surprise to me, but the watch can be put in sleep mode when not on the wrist. One down side of sleep mode is that it clears the baro-graph. When you wake the watch back up, the graph starts blank and will take 12 hours to fill up. Honestly, that's just an aesthetic concern-- Suunto "did the right thing" by turning off barometric pressure recording when in sleep mode.

    So it seems to me that the movement design is a little ... needlessly not well thought out. I respect that Suunto did this design themselves. There was no mega Swatchgroup/ETA outsourcer who supplied the movement. That being said, I wish there had been a small additional amount of additional human computer interactive research involved in the development of the watch.

    Ok, enough on that. Let me talk about the bracelet, because I purchased the watch with a spare "band", where the "band" was the SS bracelent ($250). Some will gag at the price of the bracelet, but compared to Swiss bracelet prices, that's downright reasonable. It's also a very well made bracelet. I would rank it with the likes of a bracelet on a TAG Heuer. It has the push button clasp and removable links secured via pressure-fit push pins. The links are solid, not folded steel. The mating to the watch itself is perfect, in part because Suunto included two sets of springbar holes in the lugs-- one for the bracelet and one for the straps. That's a nice add-on. I was surprised to find that Suunto doesn't include (perhaps doesn't even manufacture) a "half link" for the bracelet. That would have allowed a little more fine adjustment than the approx 4mm increments that swapping a link in-out provides. Nevertheless, I found a comfortable length for my 7" wrist without drama.

    In conclusion, this is a watch worthy of its price point. I am a little disappointed by the functionality and display quality, but am nevertheless very fond of it. It will have a good place in my rotation.

    Tom

  2. #2

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    Re: Elementum Ventus Pics and initial thoughts...

    Thanks to both Tom and Jeff for their most useful information and comments. I had read neither before I just went to the shop and bought a Ventus. I so much like the looks of the Ventus that I would still have bought it even after the couple or so snags in the reviews. I notice that others dislike the inability to display seconds - that would have made me think a little longer had I realised.
    Actually the seconds are displayed, but only when setting the time functions. And here I come to what for some might be a bigger snag. If you wish to change the time zone - either whilst long distance sailing driving or flying - you will, unless you are lucky, drop a minute. In any of the re-set positions which display the seconds the minutes reading freezes. So this risk exists when selecting 12/24 hour display; setting the hours display, the minutes display or the seconds.The minutes carry on happily when setting the year or the type of date display. The week-day is not available. Maybe the freezing minutes snag is normal with Suunto? My cheap and cheerful Casio doesn't suffer.

    And now a question - perhaps for Tom. How simple is it to change the bracelet? I really like the leather strap but leather usually discolours in salty conditions so I should then like to change to the rubber option.

    John

  3. #3
    tmc
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    Re: Elementum Ventus Review

    John,

    Changing the bracelet requires a good springbar tool, such as the Bergeon 6767F. Sizing the bracelet would require a bracelet press or pin extractor. I have all that dreck because I've been a watch collector for a loooong time. But if that sounds like it is beyond you, then take it to a competent jeweler or watchmaker (don't please just don't take it to a mall Kiosk place or the back of your lugs will look like a hummer ran over them).

    Tom

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    Re: Elementum Ventus Review

    Tom,

    Many thanks - off to the shop!

    John

  6. #5
    tmc
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    Re: Elementum Ventus Review

    As a postscript to this review, I'd be interested to hear from others about whether they are liking this watch or not.

    Tom

  7. #6
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    Re: Elementum Ventus Review

    Sure do LOVE mine!!
    Suunto... Replacing Luck!



  8. #7
    tmc
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    Re: Elementum Ventus Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff_C View Post
    Sure do LOVE mine!!
    I know it's heretical, but I'm seriously thinking of swapping for a positive-display Terra...

  9. #8
    Member adgume's Avatar
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    Re: Elementum Ventus Review

    In my opinion there is nothing wrong with that thought, after all you would still stay within the Elementum family!
    Disclaimer: this comes from a guy that loves his negative-display Terra
    adgume

  10. #9
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    Re: Elementum Ventus Review

    I sold a negative display Ventus due to the difficulty I had reading the display. Now presented with an opportunity to purchase a Suunto at a discount, I'm considering a (gasp) positive display Terra. I am, however, torn over the awefully handsome looks of the negative display overall notwithstanding the compromise in ease of viewing. In another thread, I just learned of the ability to adjust contrast, but am left wondering if this would've made enough of a difference in viewability of the negative display. Thoughts from those who have adjusted the contrast of their Elementums - both from neg and pos display owners? Thanks.

  11. #10
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    Re: Elementum Ventus Review

    Hello. I can't make a decision whether to buy my Suunto Core with a negative or positive display. I know this forum is about the Elementum Ventus but I would assume that the display technology wouldn't be different for among Suunto watches.

    Is the negative display really that bad?
    Is it not legible in normal sunlight (i.e. during the day), or is it that is not legible only in direct sunlight (i.e. watch catching sun rays directly)?

    Thanks.

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