I had a real fixation a while ago about “compass” watches and I got myself quite a few at the time, though after my fad wore off, I got rid of most of them, except for a couple of favorites. But it certainly got me thinking of just how many weird and wonderful “compass” creations are out there – and this time I feature analog only models and there are lots of ’em . . . . .
It’s also fair to say that most of them don’t have much to do with accuracy, except in the loosest sense that is, which is why the old schoolboy technique using an analog faced watch is probably as good as any for getting the basic direction.
Anyway here’s a selection of the weird and the wonderful – mostly in the lower price bracket (except for the Porsche!) – of course I like it!
I hasten to add that I do not vouch for any of the models featured here (except the last one, which I own) as I suspect the really cheap ones have all sorts of issues, but looks are something else. I have even found some where the compass doesn’t do anything but “look” like a compass – Wow! – and I thought those days were long gone!
And there’s something about the old schoolboy or often called “spy school” method of finding North and South on your average analog handed watch. Some watches even call themselves “compass watches” because they have a movable bezel with the cardinal points and degrees marked around the perimeter.
A bit of a cheat perhaps, but if you know your sundial method, then these can be as “accurate” as some digital compass models I’ve seen and at considerably more expenditure. I kid you not!
I particularly like the old method of using a small button liquid filled compass and have it attached to your watch strap – I mean what could be easier than that. The beauty of that of course is that you can stick it on any watch you care to be wearing at the time – easy peasy!
The Porsche Design P’6520 Heritage Compass model above is the modern and much more expensive take on the Chinese job in the previous image. Separate compass yes, but a high quality liquid filled
full graduation one at that, semi built in and hidden away until required.
I like the watch, but not the price at around 5000 Euros! Still you get a Titanium cased and beautifully built piece of kit with a Sellita SW300 automatic movement, lots of definition and dial clarity and more James Bond than Bond himself!
The Retowerk features a disk rotor display coupled to an ETA 2824 Automatic Swiss movement, with 45mm diameter and a 200m Water Resistance, though the compass is a little low tech perched on the top. Interesting concept though and the more I see it, the more I quite like it.
The Timex of course is a bit of an old favourite today, IF you can read it, which I always found to be the issue (goes to prove – NEVER believe the online images). The clarity of the dial figuring always to me at least seems to disappear into the background clutter and so much of the indices and so on were reflective. However I understand the later models are improved? but function wise the hands lining up as a pointer is certainly a classic compass idea – but as I say – IF you can read ’em!
My last featured one on this is the Kickstarter promotion job, which I featured once before – The Smith & Bradley AR15 which features digital displays and analog compass set up. Here in compass mode the Minute Hand points to true North and the Hour hand shows your current heading – which to my mind is a really useful compass function and maybe even actually practical!
Personally though, at the moment at any rate, I’m sticking to my wonderful Tissot Solar Touch Compass (Altimeter, Timer, Meteo, Alarm & and everything else it seems), a model I’ve always wanted and bought myself as a present to me, some time ago. It doesn’t disappoint and I’ve also just noticed looking at it that the weather (Meteo) is taking a turn for the BETTER! (this Tissot is great!).
So brilliant! – it looks like the golf course beckons – so I know which direction I’m going in within the next couple of hours!