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So many products in the world seem to have an obvious and widespread need, and yet they are invented or designed long after it seems they should be. Take the lightweight and portable compass. This seems like something that people would have demanded and which inventors would have created almost as soon as the technologies behind compasses were discovered.

However, one of the world"s first lightweight, portable, and durable compasses did not appear until the 1930s. It was then that surveyor and amateur inventor, Tuomas Vohlonen invented a very special compass. It was housed inside a shock and waterproof casing that could be worn on the wrist like a standard watch.

This became known as the M-311 and it was not precisely the first of its kind, but it was the best representative of the lightweight and wearable compasses on the market.

Vohlonen was working in Finland at this time, and World War II would soon interrupt the growth of his company - but in a very favorable way. The technology that he had developed was in high demand for those in charge of artillery, and Suunto (as he had named his firm) was put to work making sighting compasses for those in need of precision measurements. From this period came Suunto"s M/40, and this established the firm in the military and public eye.

The end of the war did not bring an end to demand for Suunto products, and soon the firm was making many types of navigation and compass equipment.

Today, they are considered one of the world"s finest makers of dive watches and equipment, sports watches, and compasses. The current lineup includes:

Ambit3 - These impressive devices come equipped with GPS, heart rate monitors, features for specific sports, distance and speed measurements, and more.

Sports watches - Ambit3, Ambit, Core, Vector, Elementum, Quest, M-Series, and the D-Series.

Dive computers - D-Series Watch Sized Dive Computers, Large Display Dive Computers, and Combo Compasses and Gauges.

Compass collections - Suunto Collection and Professional Instruments.

Accessories - Ranging from heart rate monitors and specialized sensors to memory devices and more.

The obvious superiority of Suunto technology and its advanced product offerings is part of the reason that the firm was attractive to competitors. Though the company remained in family hands for the first two decades it was in existence, it acquired Recta in 1996, and was then purchased itself by Amer Sports Group in 1999. Today it remains a subsidiary of this larger organization and is partnered up with brands such as Atomic, Wilson, Precor, and others.

Even as a subsidiary, the commitment to quality and good design remain in place at Suunto. This can be seen in the many awards and industry recognition their products continue to garner in the years since being purchased by Amer Sports. For example, it nabbed the famous "red dot" prize in 2010 and 2013. It was given the Best Adventure Gear award by National Geographic in 2009, and it was given the Tauchen award in 2013.

Suunto and the Environment

Since the company was first established by someone who had a deep commitment to mountaineering and time spent outdoors, it makes sense that the modern Suunto would also give attention to the environment.

It has firmly established environmental principles that extend well beyond careful manufacturing choices. Suunto uses responsible design that is realized through the use of sustainable materials and suppliers with the same mission. The firm has made every effort to optimize the supply chain and persistently strives to reduce energy and resource consumption at every step of production.

One way this is seen is in the simple fact that the firm"s headquarters and manufacturing facility remain side by side in Vantaa, Finland. Most of the work done in producing the company"s products occurs here, and a tremendous amount of it is handwork. Though Suunto products are distributed in more than one hundred countries, the company employs roughly 400 people around the globe.

Sticking with an effective production method and ensuring that quality and craftsmanship define each piece, Suunto is a brand consistently chosen by enthusiasts. It is noted for its durability and accuracy, and is often cited as one of the best brands for those who know they will put equipment through rigorous experiences and difficult conditions.

Works Cited

Suunto. Environment. 2014. Suunto/Environment/

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