How to use your analog watch as a compassRicardo Sime
With the release of the titanium beast that is the Apple Watch Ultra, many have become interested in the idea of a tool watch. That rough and tumble piece that can get you through anything. However, much in the same way collectors love divers but rarely go diving, most tool watches will rarely touch their limits. But there is one thing every analog watch can do, that has a higher probability of actually being used. And that is compass functionality.
Now, I’m not just talking about watches that have a compass bezel. Since those only represent a small portion of the watch market, that wouldn’t be helpful to many of us. This compass functionality can be used in any analog watch and below I’m going to explain how you do it. Please note, these steps apply to non daylight savings time. During daylight savings, in order for this process to work, subtract an hour from the hour hand position while going through the steps. Furthermore, this method is designed to provide only a rough indication of directions. Do not use when accuracy is crucial.
For those in the Northern Hemisphere
First, identify the direction of the sun. If this proves to be difficult, place a stick or pen upright. The direction opposite the shadow it casts is the direction of the sun.
Now, place your watch parallel to the ground in a way so that your hour hand is pointed towards the sun.
Next, bisect the distance between the hour hand and the 12 o’clock marker. This means you have to find the middle point between both. If the hour hand is before 6 o’clock, look for the middle point going counter clockwise. If the hour hand is after 6 o’clock, look for the middle point in the clockwise direction.
Drawing a line outwards from the middle of the case through this middle point will lead you South. From there, you can plot the other directions and use landmarks to keep you on the right path.
For those in the Southern Hemisphere
If you live in the southern hemisphere, instead of pointing your hour hand at the sun, you will point the 12 hour marker at it. You’ll bisect the space between them and follow the other steps. The major difference is now that the line from the centre of the watch will point you north. Once again, plot the other directions and use landmarks to keep you on the right path. Happy navigating!