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How to Use Your Watch as a Compass

How to Use Your Watch as a Compass

Mar 31, 2020

Sally Lim

As a kid, I was amazed by my dad's ability to drive to just about any location without needing to check a map.

When I got my first car, I'd bring the street directory into the house and carefully map out my planned route, bookmarking each of the pages I'd need to drive across. Now I just follow the GPS' directions, and easily forget the route as soon as it's done.

With most of us becoming a little too reliant on technology, it's always a good time to get back to basics, so, next time you are lost in the wilderness (or in need of a good party trick), we've got you covered!:

 

HOW TO USE YOUR WATCH AS A COMPASSwatch as a compass

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Visible sun/shadows (if you're having a hard time lining up with the sun, use a shadow. Stick a twig into the ground or hold it over a piece of paper so that the shadow it casts is clearly visible. Then, line up along the shadow.)
  • Analogue watch showing accurate time (During Daylight Savings Time, either set the hour hand back one hour or use the midway point between one o’clock and the hour hand instead.  

 

NORTHERN HEMISPHERE

Hold the watch flat and face-up (face parallel with the ground).

Point the hour hand in the direction of the sun. Turn the watch so that the hour hand is pointing directly at the sun.

The exact mid point between the hour hand and 12 o'clock marker is South.

NOTEBefore Noon - measure clockwise from your hour hand to 12 o'clock,  After Noon - measure counterclockwise

 

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE

The key difference between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres when it comes to using a watch as a compass is that in the Southern Hemisphere, it's the 12 o'clock mark, rather than the hour hand that you must line up with the sun.

Hold the watch flat and face-up (face parallel with the ground).

Point twelve o'clock in the direction of the sun.

The exact mid point between the 12 o'clock marker and the hour hand marks North.