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The Everest Journal

by Nick Payne December 10, 2020 2 min read

With a world of modern technology readily at hand in the form of a smartphone, it can be easy to forget the difficulty of living without it. Whether you are looking at a map, calculating a tip, or finding a direction, it is easy to take for granted the convenience of information at your fingertips.

However, there might be times when you want to escape the digital world and seek refuge in the outdoors. It’s at that time you might find yourself without directions, or a compass, and perhaps your watch could help you once that smartphone battery ticks down to 0%.

A little known trick is that any traditional analog watch can be used as a rudimentary compass should you stray a little too far from your weekend hiking trail.

NORTHERN HEMPISPHERE

These instructions are good for anyone in the Northern Hemisphere, we’ll cover the Southern in more detail later.

Step One: Roll Back Daylight Savings Time

If your watch is currently in “spring forward,” go ahead and set it back one hour to where it would normally be without DST.

Step Two: Point to the Sun

With your watch flat in your hand, point the hour hand toward the sun.

how to use a watch as a compass
@rac63l
with a BLNR on Everest Steel End Link Leather

Step Three: Split the Distance

With the hour hand pointed to the sun, split the distance between the hour hand and your 12 o’clock marker.  The imaginary line between those two points is approximately South.  The picture below shows this in action.

how to use a rolex as a compass

With the hour hand pointing at 10, South will be at the halfway point between 10 and 12, or right at 11.

SOUTHERN HEMISHPERE

If you’re located in the Southern Hemisphere, your instructions are similar, but you do have to make two minor adjustments.

Step One: Roll Back Daylight Savings Time

If your watch is currently in “spring forward,” go ahead and set it back one hour to where it would normally be without DST.

Step Two: Point to the Sun

With your watch flat in your hand, point the 12 o’clock marker on your watch dial toward the sun.

how to use a rolex as a compass

Step Three: Split the Distance

With the 12 o’clock marker pointed to the sun, split the distance between the hour hand and your 12 o’clock marker.  The imaginary line between those two points is approximately North.  The picture below shows this in action.

how to use a rolex as a compass

With the hour hand pointing at 10, North will be at the halfway point between 10 and 12, or right at 11.

If you’re making the escape from your office, perhaps this trick will encourage you to bring your watch with you.  Swap the bracelet for a durable Everest Rubber Strap, and finally take that Explorer II out for an exploration.
Nick Payne
Nick Payne


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