Suunto doesn't make just "watches," but rather "wrist-top computers." This new line of watches has been designed in partnership with the International Triathlon Union (ITU). That means the watches have been designed for some serious and specific training use. The traditional training watch was light weight, had some timing functions, and that is it. Later models enjoyed such functions like heart rate monitors, and other cool functions. But the Suunto t6c Red Arrow is light years ahead of the "past." The watch is part of an optional modular system of "Pods," which are units that are GPS devices, or others that fit on shoes, bicycles, etc.. .to help measure distance and cadence. In addition to all this available data, the t6c Red Arrow takes all this information together and has some clever software that not only logs and plots it for you, but helps to calculate calories burned, Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), and Training Benefit (which is a measurement of the aerobic benefit of a training session, on a one-to-five scale). Little else out there does this, and only just a few more of you are familiar with these scales to keep tabs on. However, it is quite important when you are a serious triathlon trainer, or other athletic professional. One of the best features of the watches are the customizable displays that give you optional information at a glance - be it the time, your speed, cadence, heart rate, etc... The benefit to you is being able to adapt accordingly with having second by second updated information.
Gear like this is more than just a fancy watch, but exists to be an essential training tool. After each session, that watch can be optionally hooked up to your computer and all the data can be plotted in an accompanying program to help you understand your progress, training productivity, and overall results. This takes the guess work out of a lot of what people in training have to deal with. I've known Suunto watches to be quite serious about their ability to collect data, and are serious tools for professionals as opposed to gadget novelties. Price adds up for all the optional pods and accessories, but these instruments are a good investment. Just over $400 for the t6c Red Arrow watch and more for the other components. The Black arrow ought to be much less.
In addition to the t6c Red Arrow, the t3c Black Arrow will be released soon. The new t3C is to be a bit less expensive and doesn't have quite as many functions. It still has all the basics and can be connected with the heart rate monitor, which is one of the most important parts of the training optimization equation. Both of the watches will be available this month. Both the t6c Red Arrow and t3c Black Arrow are supposed to be improvements on the current models that are out there in celebration of the connection with the International Triathlon Union. To be honest, I don't have all the information about comparing the new and old models, but the new ones will have a few new things. Look out for more detail in the future or check out Suunto.com.