In 1932 the company founder, Tuomas Vohlonen, a surveyor by profession, applied for a patent for a unique method of filling and sealing a lightweight compass housing made entirely of celluloid and filled with liquid to dampen the needle and to protect it from shock and wear due to excessive motion. In 1935, Volhonen was granted a patent on his design, and it went into mass production a year later as the wrist-mount Suunto M-311. Although it was not the first portable liquid-filled compass, his design was compact and lighweight, enabling it to be easily worn on the wrist. With minor changes, the M-311 was later adopted by the Finnish Army as the M-34. The company was entered in the trade register on February 4, 1936.
During World War II, Suunto introduced a compact liquid sighting compass, the M/40, for artillery officers and other users needing a precision instrument for measuring an azimuth. After Tuomas Vohlonen died in 1939, his widow Elli Vohlonen ran the company until 1952, when she sold it to Paavo Kajanne, Aarne Mahnala and Veli-Jussi Hölsö, who also owned Redox Oy. At the very end of 1970s they sold the company to Niemistö family, and in the beginning of 1990s Sponsor Oy bought the company and listed it in a stock exchange in 1995. In 1999 Amer Sports bought the company.
Suunto makes multi-function electronic wristwatches, which can provide a variety of functions including compass bearings, altitude, training effect and even GPS location, depending on model. Suunto multi-function electronic sport watches are made for different sports like sailing, golfing, hiking, mountaineering, alpine skiing and training.