I had almost forgotten this analogue model from Swiss Army – the Wenger Nomad Compass 70430 LED.
At first glance it looks as if it could be an ideal size at 43mm diameter and the dial set up also looks very clear with large skeleton style hands in white Super Luminova luminous material (as are the numerals). Without using the LED the dial has a simple black background and with the LED function large red LED figures appear.
Operation – On pressing the Compass button a red arrow will light just below the Wenger Cross and the compass will calculate, then display very quickly the heading in large LED red figures across the centre of the dial. As the button function is “on demand” it displays only for 30 seconds then it will turn off automatically. The compass can be calibrated and also the declination angle can be set at the same time. The declination angle being the difference between Magnetic North and True North (Pole), which is different depending where you are in the world. Most maps show the declination angle in Minutes/Degrees east or west and these can be input to the watch using the compass button. Once input the Nomad will automatically compensate the bearing for you.
As with most of the digital compasses the watch should be held horizontally to take accurate readings. Basically to take a compass reading, point the top of the watch (with the red arrow @12 towards the direction you wish to follow, then press the compass button. The compass bearing of that direction will then show in degrees in large RED numerals. North for example will be 0º, East 90º, South 180º and West 270º. I note however that there is no “heading memory” so once you have established the heading you wish to follow, you’ll have to remember it as it can’t be “locked” into the system.
A specially designed Swiss Quartz movement is used and contained in a brushed finish stainless steel case with a black PVD bezel, upon which are shown the functions of the watch in rather large red lettering, a proper steel screw back and Water Resistance of 100m. The LED digital display also shows day, date, time and Compass plus a 2nd Time Zone, so quite well specified. The bracelet is a conventional lugged (22mm) fitting and there are alternative versions that feature a silicon rubber strap and also some have a GREEN LED, which I personally might prefer.
So what you get here is a nice solid conventional looking watch with large white numerals in an uncluttered black dial, with a center second hand (always nice to see that the watch is running!). The “Stealth” LED display, on demand remember, only pops up if you want to check the day, date, month with the appropriate button and the compass lights up when you press compass – now is that simple or what. I’m warming to this already!
So here you are – if you want a solid performer with an unfussy dial set up and a compass function that is not over complicated, then this might be a worth while choice. And from my point of view at 43mm diameter and only 10mm depth, should fit my wrist very well.
It is also around half the price of the Tissot T-touch and the Victorinox Pathfinder, which is of course another consideration.
So yet another contender . . . . it would appear that my choice is becoming more complicated. I think Part 5 (goodness what have I started?) will have to be a serious re-think perhaps of what I actually want, after all. Mmmmmm . . . . . this I did NOT expect!