The first time I saw a GPS Watch I was in an odd sort of school learning how to take things like GPS Watches and make them do things like track vehicles and the sorts. That was a few years ago (20 in tech years) and things have come a long way since then.

I’ve had several GPS watches since then. Some looked like small candy bars strapped to my wrist and some resembled Star Trek wrist communicators. A bevy of shapes and sizes; but none that I would consider wearing as a daily timepiece. Until now.

I’m still in shopping mode so I’ll be looking at other watches as well; but here are my basic criteria and why the SUUNTO AMBIT SILVER is currently on the top of the list.

Courtesy Suunto Aesthetics:

This matters because I need to be able to wear it on the daily. If you read my piece on “Stop Preparing For Emergencies” you’ll remember that my primary focus was to have my gear ready to get out and get active. I use GPS’s for many things and I always want one on me. Capturing the moment isn’t enough. I need to make sure I can find my way back to relive it as well.

Water Resistant:

I spend a lot of time in the water so any watch I wear must be able to tolerate the ocean. I need something that can track spearfishing spots, paddle boarding courses, and supports me when I’m out on a boat.

*** SPECIAL NOTE ***

I’m not sure the reason, but I’ve yet to find a GPS watch that also has a depth gauge in it. I’ve been told that a GPS doesn’t work underwater, which is somewhat true; but I don’t need the GPS to work when I’m diving, but not knowing when I pass 60 feet on a breath hold is the worst kind of loss. It’s time watchmakers put a SEAL on their design teams! Sea – Air – Land. It’s not Rocket Surgery.  suunto sketch

Battery Life:

I want as much as they can give me; but I’ve got no problem with having to charge the thing. The SUUNTO looks like it goes 30 days if you’re not using the GPS too much. That will work. I’m developing a great Solar package for my truck and it’s portable so getting some juice while out in the bush is no problem.

Everything But The Kitchen Sink:

Though I’m a tech guy, I don’t like all of the more complicated features. It’s been my experience that when they try to pack all these little things like heart rate, peak training programs, accelerometers and more, the navigation gets too complicated.

I bought a free diving watch that had all of these amazing capabilities, but when I was coaching soccer I could never figure out how to work the stopwatch. Ridiculous.

So for me, besides the core functions, I’ll take a simple stopwatch, timer, and alarm to go with my watch sized satellite communicator/time piece. I’ll leave the sink at home.