Antique Pocket Watches

Pocket watch, Switzerland (?), end 19th c. Antique pocket watch - Belonged to a German captain
Click on the pictures for enlarged views - Photos Jaypee - Priv. coll.

Technical Data
- Material: steel, silver and gold plated
- Diameter:
- Depth:
- Weight: gr
- Markings inside the lid:
- top: AT
- bottom: 39497

Description: The rear face displays a boat inside a circle with eight corners. Three leaves are displayed in the top and bottom corners.
The boat is a paddle steamer rigged like a two-masted schooner with three sails: fock and square rig fore, mainsail aft. Midship are the chimney and the paddle.
In the table below we display 3 instruments:
1 - A pocket watch with compass and map reader
2 - A watch-compass designed by the French Capitaine Charles Adolphe Henri VINCENT (living in Reims). It is described in a comprehensive manual written in 1909 (and donated to Compassipedia by Mr Collignon - check this manufacturer's name).  This instrument was a watch but a special version possessed also in addition to the magnetic compass a sighting device (alhidades) and a style (for the sundial function) stowed in the compass body when not in use.  The watch face was made of émail and divided into three blue zones (indigo, cobalt, light blue).  The basic system without sundial and sights was patented for Switzerland in March 1909 (see below).
3 - The third row shows a system designed by Émile LAINÉ.

1 - Watch with compass in the loop pendant, map reader and stopwatch

Pictures courtesy Ebay member carsten-antik

Front face

Rear face
Technical Data
Dia.: 2 in / 52mm
Weight: 3.5 oz / 115 gr
Made by Droz & Cie in Saint-Imier, Switzerland about 1900.
Front face: enamel dial, radial Roman hours, map reader outer scale calibrated for 20 km (1:80,000), inner scale calibrated for 16 km (1:100,000), blued spade hands.
Rear face: enamel dial, Arabic numerals, outer 15 seconds stopwatch scale, inner 5 km telemeter scale, blued pointer, marking (translation): "The Minister of War informs the officers on the use of the sound telemeter".
2 - Watch Compass design by the French capitaine VINCENT

Fig. of the Swiss patent no. 46,732
(March 1909)

Photocopies of patent and user instruction available
User instruction for the version with sundial and descr. in the MORIN catalogue 1930

3 - LAINÉ, Emile-Carlos
Montre-boussole (sun-watch) "La Solaire"

Patent (1905)

(Click on the images for enlarged views)
List and descr. of new patents

A colour picture of the watch was printed on the frontpage of a calender for the year 1906.
(Picture courtesy PBA Auctions)
Ad published in a French review

Picture courtesy Rambela

Modern Wrist Watches

Several types of wrist watches feature an integrated compass: some have a separate capsule underneath that can be observed by flipping up the watch case (IWC or Breitling Military) or rotating it to the side (Horoswiss, Davosa, Sinn). Some have a swivelling case with the compass being on the opposite face (OCTO and no-name item below)). In other models, the compass needle rotates around the same axis above the watch hands (HOROSWISS, EQS, TIMEX).

Technical Data
- Diameter: 45 mm
- Thickness: 14 mm

Watch with transparent dry compass. The bottom glass features a short ruler (20 mm) and some lines and dots, the meaning of which is not obvious. The watch case can swivel in its frame so that watch and compass are both visible at the same time. The watch case bottom features a mirror. 

INCURSORE is the Italian word for intruder

(Pictures scourtesy

(Click on the picture for adetailed view)
Breitling DPW Compass Military - Incursore

Printed on the glass capsule bottom:
- 20 mm ruler
- Network of lines (unknown function)
- Compass manufacturer: WILKIE

Read more about this item on the website 

(Pictures courtesy

The compass capsule can be extracted.
(Click on the picture for a detailed view)
Breitling Colt Military Diver Compass.

Extremely rare item. Only 800 were produced and used under very severe conditions. Very few still exist.
Read more about this item on the website 

Technical Data
- Production year: ca. 1985
- Casing: Steel
- Diameter: 38 mm
- Depth: 15 mm

The lateral quick release screw
Manufacturer: DAVOSA (Switzerland)

Technical data
Horizontally sideways swivelling watch case.
- Production year: 1990?
- Casing: steel
- Diameter: 50 mm
- Depth: 18 mm
- Weight: 130 g

(Click on the pictures for detailed views)
XEMEX - Offroad
Swiss model designed by Ruedi Külling (signature on case bottom)
Dim. : Ø 37.5mm, thickness 15mm
Movement : automatic
Exists also without seconds hands

Note: The early version (1996 ?) featured a losenge-shaped magnet needle.
MIDO - The Tool
Swiss manufacturer created in 1918. 
Fancy model akin the famous Swiss pocket knife: the case features a lamp and a chain saw wound around a ring concealed below the crown which was also available in blue or red.

TIMEX model High Tide
Dia.: 45mm
Thick: 12mm
Weight: 89gr
Analog compass. The needle indicates also the temperature and the tide level.

The models EXPEDITION and COMPASS (links to pics) only feature the compass function with and without deviation adjustment.

User instr. :


(Pictures autoni-2007)

(Click on the pictures for detailed views)
Manufacturer: IWC Porsche Design

Technical Data
- Production year: ca. 1990?
- Casing: Steel
- Diameter: .. mm
- Depth: .. mm.
- Dry compass manufacturer: ?
Note: do not mix up with Horoswiss' fluid compass built in Eterna's version of the Porsche Design

Pic. at left: The compass in the gold-case version* features LUFFT's logo, the maker of the famous Bézard compasses.

* Pic. courtesy

Manufacturer: IWC, model name Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia*
Technical Data - Ref. 5041

- Year of Manufacture: 2014
- Case material: platin, white or red gold
- Dia.: 46 mm
- Thickness: 17.5 mm
Watch without compass but with customizable map of night sky on rear face

Link to description on IWC's web site

(Pictures by courtesy of Proworth)

(Click on the picture for a detailed view)
Manufacturer: Paul Picot

Technical Data
- Production year: 2006
- Casing: Steel
- Diameter: .. mm
- Depth: .. 
- Compass manufacturer: HOROSWISS

Pictures courtesy Chrono24

Manufacturer : SINN Model 171
(Official website of the manufacturer HERE)

Technical data
Horizontally swivelling watch case.
- Production year: ?
- Casing: steel
- Diameter:  mm
- Depth:  mm
- Weight:  g
- Compass Manufacturer: ?



Model series 5000QB with fluid capsule compass
Manufacturer: HOROSWISS *

Technical Data

- Dim.: 48 x 14.4mm
- Casing: Steel, available in various colours (check the manufacturer's website). 
- Luminous paint: Trigalight ®
- Manufactured: 2013.
- High-quality product: label SWISS MADE (follow this link for more details).

* See the company's profile HERE
Picture courtesy HOROSWISS

Model series DCW with dry compass

(see the user instructions in Engl. and Arabian language below)

Examples of  HOROSWISS' production

Above: The models J.M. Cousteau (left, Automatic Eta 2892, blue face) and quartz (right, dark red)
Below: Tachymeter

Click on the images for enlarged views

Prototype of a model with swivelling case that enables a simultaneous view onto watch and compass.

Stop watch made for Hunting World

See also at the bottom of this page the QIBLA-Compass
designed by Mr. Zwahlen before 1990.

Model designed by Mr Zwahlen in... ?

Model JAHAN designed by Mr Zwahlen between 1990 and 2000

Note: Cooperation with Eterna. Do not mix up with the dry compass built into the IWC watches.
Model PORSCHE DESIGN  with fluid compass made by Eterna. The fluid compass can easily be taken off and utilized separately.

View of the dismantled compass showing the various parts
Some luxury watches featuring an HOROSWISS compass

Picture at left courtesy Chrono24 / At right: ad.


(Picture courtesy ASPEN on Facebook)

PICOT (see above)

Unknown Swiss maker
Probably 1st half of 20th C.
A tiny magnetic needle with red north half sits on the hands' axis.

(Click on the image for an enlarged view)


Dry compass watches, plain model and stop watch. The compass is but a weak imitation of the DCW series produced by HOROSWISS. The needle swings on a brass cap and not a jewel and its oscillation movement is not damped by a copper "armour". Needle shape identical to DAVOSA's. Probably supplied by the same manufacturer.

(Click on the images for enlarged views)

(Click on pictures for detailed views)

(Pictures courtesy
Olivier / Corsaire75)

Manufacturer: OCTO - Model name SKYNAVY
Read more about OCTO on the website
(in French and English language)
Technical Data
Very rare combined instrument (revolving watch / compass)
- Production year: 1960's
- Casing: Steel
- Diameter: 38 mm
- Depth: 17 mm
- Weight: .. gr

(Click on pictures for detailed views)

(Pictures courtesy Olivier / Corsaire75)

G.A.C. General Aeronautical Co. Ltd, Watch: CYMA
Technical data
- Cardinal points in French and Engl.
- Casing: silver, signed Huguenin Frères
- Calibre Cyma,13 lignes - 7, réf. 370 Savonette, 371 Lépine.

Click on drawing at right for a description in FLIGHT 1915


Hour Angle Watches

Although these watches don't feature any magnetic compass we thought it would be worth displaying them here.

(Click on the images for enlarged views)
A. Lange & Söhne
Projects of watch designed for the Luftwaffe during IIIrd Reich's rearmament endeavour. The German Imperial Air Ministry (RLM) had laid down that all watches had to feature hours and angle values. The minutes represent each 4 degrees (360 / 60). The seconds hand rotates a full turn in 4 min., the minutes hand in 4 hours (60°) and the hours hand in 24 h (360°).
Description (see pic. at left):

Pictures and description by courtesy of Konrad Knirim published on his website  Navigational timepieces of the Luftwaffe.
(See also our LINKS)

Winds in Italian language

(Click on the images for enlarged views)
The sun's position (red hand) follows the day time. Sighting is effected via the retractable arch, which is a part of the bezel. LONGINES 1492 CRISTOBAL C.
Model built in 1992 for the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America by Chr. Colombus (view of his ship on the rear face HERE). Declination adjusment range: abt. +/-1 rhumb (+/-22°). Inventor: Frank Vaucher, Patent no. 452.747. At right: drawings from the user instr.
(copies available)

(Click on pictures for detailed views)

User instructions
(copies available)

This is a down-sized replica of the navigation system designed by Col. Charles Lindbergh to calculate the longitude. It is to be used together with a radio set giving the exact Greenwich Mean Time, a nautical almanach and a sextant.

For more details visit Longines' own website.

Picture courtesy Chrono24

Picture courtesy Geronimo

Rear side: the model designation with the British Army's broad arrow

Click on the pictures for enlarged views.
Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm navigational watch model HS.4 made by Hector Golay & Son Ltd London, Westmoreland House, Regent Street (1937 / WWII)
Technical Data

In Fairey Swordfish aircraft dashboard-mounted navigation watch.
- Dia.: 2 1/2 in. (62.5mm)
- A ring (loop) is not missing: this instrument was stowed in a box, sometimes a cylindrical one out of which only the crown protruded. Additional functionality: The compass scale is printed on a rotating ring (bezel). Read the discussion in the forum INFOPOP displaying several versions of this instrument (in German on See also KNIRIM, British Military Timepieces, pages 423-425.

(Zum Vergrößern Bilder anklicken)
AUDI (Automarke)
As for the THOMMEN watch below, the compass is only a rose of the winds rotating with the hands. The instrument is to be held with the hour hand pointed to the sun. If by night, in the fog or rain, not really useful... If the N-S axis is ok everyday at 12, the East-West direction is absolutely exact only during the equinoxes. Very rare today: the cardinals are in German (O for Ost = East). The l./r. partition along the N-S axis featuring an inversion of contrast (white letters and figures on black ground) has no functional reason and is not related to the Singer design or the one of the Japanese wrist compass. The red hands are not luminous and the time can only be read thanks to the four notches in the case rim. Probably made in Asia. Period unknown.

(Click on pictures for detailed views)
Swiss watch featuring a central dial on which the cardinal points are printed and which rotates according to the hour hand, indicating thus the main directions as in the well-known method used by hikers and soldiers: south always lies halfway between the figure 12 and the hour hand, i.e. between 6 and 12 on the left-hand side until noon and respectively on the right-hand side after noon (see also Macintosh's trading card CAMPING HINT N° 8). THOMMEN (link to website) is a Swiss manufacturer of aircraft instruments. There exists also a light survey compass with this brand name on the rotating card but it is a German product called MERIDIAN PRO made by Kasper und Richter (K&R).
Same system as above. When the sun is not shining, no orientation possible..

Watches showing the direction of Mecca

(Click on images for enlarged views)

Compass manufacturer : HOROSWISS
Both rings (the outer white one and the inner green one) can be rotated via the two side crowns.
Click HERE for a transcription in English of the cities and countries' names indicated on the dial.
(Compassipedia thanks THE BOREAL ARROW for the friendly help and translation).

See also the section Religion / Islam