WRIST AND PIN-ON COMPASSES


The Online Compass Museum displays its own collection of some 100 different wrist compasses from many countries (USA, Great-Britain, France, Germany, USSR, Japan, Finland etc.), made for civilian or military use on land or under water. Pin-on lapel compasses are also displayed here because of the very low quantity and variety.
In addition, you can see some photographs sent by friendly visitors.
Pict. at right: a part of our collection

A
ADMIRAL
ADRIANOFF (in Russian: Компас АДРИАНОВА, Adrianoff's compass)
AIRGUIDE
AK-39 (Kadlec)
ASKANIA
ATCO
AURKKA (Red Army,
    AYPKKA in cyrillic letters)
B
BARKER
B.E.N.
BÉZARD
BEUCHAT (see B.E.N.)
C
Canada (location)
CHETWYND
Ch-Ch-Z (ЧЧЗ in cyrillic letters)
China (PRC) Vietnam, Vietcong
COLLIGNON-HOULLIOT
CREAGH OSBORNE

D
DACOR
DINSMORE
Divers' compasses
DOLLOND
DOXA

E
ESCHENBACH

F
FARALLON
FEE & STEMWEDEL
FPM - Freiberger
    Präzisionsmechanik

G
GEODEZIA (Геодезия, in cyrillic letters)
GUGK (ГYГK in cyrillic letters)

H
HAND
HEINKE
Hunting Compasses
I
INDIC

J
JAPAN

K
KADLEC
KIPZ (КИПЗ in cyrillic letters)
KNM (KHM in cyrillic letters)
L
Lapel (see Pin-On Comp.)
L-1 (s. US Gauge)
LEMAIRE
LIDER (Лидер in cyrillic letters)
LK 10 (Kadlec compass)
Canada (location)
LUFFT
LYNX

M
MARBLE'S
MARINE COMPASS Co.
MC-1 (s. Marine Compass)
MERIDIAN
MIKROTECHNA
MOSCOMPASS

N
NEMROD
Nesco (Jap. mfr.)
Night hawk
NO NAME - GB
NO NAME - GERMANY
NVA (former East German Army)
O
Orienteering


P - Q
PANERAI
PASTO
PB-65 (s. Mikrotechna)
PIF le chien (French cartoon)
Pin-on Compasses
PL-40 (s. Mikrotechna)
R
RGS (F. Barker & Son)
Royal Navy Divers (see NO NAME-GB)
Russia
S
sbe (see Kadlec)
SCOS
SCUBAPRO
SEARS
SEMIONOVA (Семëнова in cyrillic letters)
SILVA
SPIROTECHNIQUE
STEWARD
SUPERIOR MAGNETO
SUUNTO
Symons
Switzerland

T
TAYLOR
TRITON
True North / TRU NORD
U
UOMZ (YOM3 in cyrill. letters)
URAL TECHNOLOGIES
U.S. Gauge Div. AM&M
V - W
Vez (VZ)
Vietnam (s. China)
VOIT

WALTHAM
WBT
WILKIE
X - Y
YAL
Z
ZOP (ЗOП in cyril. letters)
ZUP (ЗУП in cyril. letters)

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- A -

The ANCESTOR of all wrist compasses?

PROFILE - Manufacturer not identified, probably one of the very first wrist compasses ever made (late 19th C.?).
The compass card's design is identical with typical ships' compasses. The compass card features 64 divisions, a number also used on military compasses to assess distances (see MISCELLANEOUS / Divisions).
In reality, it is a Russian-made photographical reduction of a standard ship's compass card and the casing is identical to the Semionova instrument.

Technical Data
- Diameter: 41 mm
- Depth: 12 mm
- Weight: 30 gr
- Divisions: 64 rumbs, main and semi cardinals abbreviated, North: fleur-de-lis (heraldic lily).
- Sighting system: rifle-type
- Transit lock: side (screw head)
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ADRIANOFF / КОМПАС АДРИАНОВА (Adrianoff's compass)

Description: This compass type was developed in 1907 by the Russian cartographer Vladimir Nikolaevich ADRIANOFF (b. Feb. 22, 1875 in St-Petersburg - d. August 24, 1938 in Ostashkov). A version matching the patent was built (later?) at least for Norway and it also appears in a BUSCH catalogue (no. 3350) but it can't easily be used as a wrist compass.

The item in the 3rd row is identical with the Russian AURKKA and ZUP models but it was only used in Bulgaria and in the former Yugoslavia, in the regions writing in cyrillic letters, i.e. Serbia. The only difference with the Russian version is the letter used for the cardinal point EAST (located underneath the figure 450 mils and between 75 and 105 degrees) and which stands for the word изток (abbrev. и = i, pronounce iztok) in the Bulgarian and Serbo-croatian languages while it is восток (pronounce vostok, abbreviated B) in Russian. It was also called Adrianoff's compass (Adrijanova busola) in the Yugoslav Army's manuals. A similar compass type was also manufactured for a short period in the former communist East-Germany by ASKANIA (see below).

Adrianoff's patent 1907, British issue
(Complete version can be ordered):


Red Army Training Manual
(Click on image for full descr. in Russian)


This type of compass type was awarded to the laureates of the artillery officers school. Engraving on reverse (ancient Russian) :

Captain Adrianoff's compass

Improved version 1911
Artillery Officers School
1 division = 3 degrees i.e. 5 MILS
Norwegian version: for technical data go to BUSCH (no. 3350)



Bulgarian / Serbian version.There was also a version with a floating card signed SEMIONOVA.

Technical Data
- Diameter: 50 mm
- Depth: 20 mm
- Weight: 60 gr
- Divisions:
. 360 degrees clockwise (inner scale)
. 6000 mils counter-clockwise (outer scale)

Pictures at left: Description of the compass in the Red Army's Training Manual (Компас Адрианова) and the Yugoslav Army's manual

(Photocopies can be ordered)
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AIRGUIDE

PROFILE - former U.S. manufacturer (more information HERE).
See also Pocket and Nautical compasses.

LAPEL COMPASS



The compass rose inscriptions appear larger through the magnifying glass



(Click for enlarged views)

Technical Data
- Diameter: 30 mm
- Depth (case): 20 mm
- Weight: 20 gr
- Divisions: Letter for E, S and W cardinals, large arrow head of self luminescent paint for North.

Technical Data
- Diam. : 1 3/16" (30 mm)

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ASKANIA

PROFILE - ASKANIA is a German manufacturer (more information HERE).

This compass is the East-German post WWII version of the Soviet-Union made ZUP and AURKKA (see below) compasses. This one was built in the early '50s by VEB ASKANIA  (East-Berlin). The 360 deg. division shows that it is a civilian version.
See also BAMBERG in the cat. AERONAUTICAL Compasses and ASKANIA in MARCHING and SURVEY compasses.



(Click for detailed view of dial)

(View of reverse side)
Technical Data
- Diameter: 53 mm
- Depth: 20 mm
- Weight: 37 gr
- Divisions: 360 degrees clockwise
- Material: Bakelite case, leather strap
- Crown with rifle-type aiming device and screw activated lock
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ATCO

PROFILE - Nothing is known about this company. This compass was made in Japan* but another object (a collapsible cup like the one we display in OTHER COMPASSES) signed ATCO and displayed by the former Boreal Arrow website was made in Germany.



Picture by courtesy of oldmillenium
Technical Data
- Diameter: .. mm
- Depth: .. mm
- Weight: gr
- Divisions: 360 degrees clockwise

* see examples of other compasses via this link
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AURKKA / AYPKKA (former USSR)

PROFILE - ADRIANOFF-type compass made by Masterskye Artilleriskoye Upravlenye Raboche-Krestianskoy Krasnoy Army / Workshops of the Artillery's Administration of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army.
Same construction as the ZUP and ADRIANOVA compass.

Technical Data 
Model name ADRIANOVA

- diameter: 50 mm
- Depth: 20 mm
- Weight: 60 gr
- Divisions:
. 360 degrees clockwise (inner scale)
. 6000 mils counterclockwise (outer scale)
- Date (at case underside) : 1940

Illustration at right courtesy Topographical Orienteering with Map
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- B -

BARKER

PROFILE - Francis Barker & Son was a British manufacturer (more information HERE and in our LINKS)
See also Marching, Escape, Pocket, Nautical and Survey compasses.


Technical data
- Diameter: 40 mm
- Depth (closed): 22 mm
- Weight: 75 gr

The crystal is protected by a leather cap and on the magnetic needle's North mark, the luminous product (tritium) is in a glass tube.

R.G.S. - The design of the dial on the compass below is referred to as the R.G.S. pattern in some catalogues published in the early 20th c. Barker tried indeed twice to register this design under the name Royal Geographical Society but this project was rejected (5th sept. 1903, number 416643 and 416644). Barker only used the abbreviation R.G.S. for no. 416645 without further explanation.





The British National Archives (South-West London) gave the following information:
The design no. 416645 was published on page 1318 of the Official Journal of patents dated 30th September 1903, covering designs registered in the week ending 17th September 1903. The owners were Francis Barker & Son, of 12 Clerkenwell Rd, London WC. The material class was Class I, covering metals.

Radium wristlet compass (Barker catalog 1926)



Technical data

- Diameter: 37 mm
- Depth: 11 mm
- Marking: Reg. No. 416645 (see left)
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The following compass was built during the 50's and issued to the British troops. It was used during the Korea war and the Suez Canal expedition (1956). Its lack of precision lead the Military to use instead their classical hand-held marching compass (see Barker and Stanley). Moreover, its high radioactivity was the reason why it was no longer used.



(Click on the picture for an enlarged view)

View closed and back
Technical data
- Strap: fabric
- Case: brass
- Diameter: 38 mm
- Depth: 17 mm
- Weight: 45 gr
- Manufacturer: The letter B at the end of the ser. number indicates that this instrument was made by F. Barker & Son and /56 is the production year (1956)
According to the RAF Stores numbering system (Book 7) the ref. 6B stands for "Instruments"
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B.E.N.

PROFILE - Abbrev. for Bianchetti Electronique Nautique. French manufacturer (more information HERE).
BEN Marine is now a division of AMESYS.

BEN built wrist compasses, among others this one resembling the LEMAIRE model used by the French Navy's Special Forces during the 1st Vietnam war (1946-1954) and the Algerian independance war (1957-1962).
The black-and-white picture shows a French soldier wearing an original compass in Algeria. This compass combines the characteristic features of the white Czech KADLEC AK39 (sight elements on a crown without divisions, white line on glass) and the lateral screw-operated locking device of the crown like on british compasses (see T.G. Co. Ltd, Barker etc.).

NOTE: The strap material is called a PoRoMeRic. (cf. WIKIPEDIA definition: Sometimes referred to as poromerics, poromeric imitation leathers are a group of synthetic 'breathable' leather substitutes made from a plastic coating (usually a polyurethane) on a fibrous base layer (typically a polyester). The name poromeric was coined by DuPont as a derivative of the terms microporous and polymeric. The first poromeric material was DuPont's ill-fated Corfam introduced in 1963 at the Chicago Shoe Show.). 



Click on the pictures for enlarged views
(B/W photo of soldiers courtesy Commando Jaubert)
Technical Data
- Diameter x depth: 58 x 20 mm
- Weight: 88 gr
- Divisions: 360 degrees, clockwise
BEN also produced divers' compasses for  SCUBAPRO, BEUCHAT or LA SPIROTECHNIQUE. Several models were built and issued to the French and international armed forces, Police and rescue organizations. 
Label on rear side  
(Pictures Franz Rothbrust and Jaypee)
Technical Data

Dimensions
- Diameter x depth: 70 x 49,5 mm
- Weight: 180 gr
- Divisions:  s. pic. at left
- Manufacturer's data: see pic. at left
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BÉZARD

PROFILE - see special chapter THE BÉZARD COMPASS.


FLUID Bézard wrist compass - Model "Bw"
(Bundeswehr - Armed Forces of Federal Germany)

Click on picture for enlarged view
(Pictures: copyright Ted Brink - CollectingMilitaryCompasses.tk)

Box with Nato Stock Number (NSN)
Technical Data
- Diameter: 56 mm
- Weight: 35 gr
- Divisions: 360 degrees clockwise
- Date: June 1971
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- C -

Canada (location)

PROFILE - On this compass the cardinals are indicated with the letters common to the latin languages i.e. identical in French, Italian Spanish and Portuguese (see menue Miscell. / cardinal points) but swapped left to right and the divisions are indicated counter-clockwise, a common feature on US survey instruments but not on wrist-top compasses.  Moreover, the red arrow –which is not an adjustable hand but only a pointer printed on the dial to show the magnetic declination at the time the compass was made– points to approx. 15 deg. East (real direction, the divisions are inverted but this is another story) while this value was approx. 5 deg. West in Europe when the compass was made, presumably around the mid 20th c.  This would mean that this compass was intended to be used at some place where magnetic north was located eastward of the user.  The only place in the world that matches this configuration is central Canada.  No manufacturer's name is engraved on the case but it resembles a wristwatch case made in Japan during WWII (Picture courtesy J. Petre).

CHETWYND

PROFILE - Captain Louis Wentworth Pakington Chetwynd (b. 15 December 1866, d. 18 April 1914, read more details in the section Nautical Compasses) patented this compass that could be lit at night by means of a small lamp that fitted into a tube on the lefthand side.
See also Marching and Nautical compasses and also WBT.



(Click on picture above for enlarged view)

Click HERE to view the patent.


Captain CHETWYND's marking



Patent no. 25965/06


View lit through the side opening

Technical data
- Strap: leather
- Case: brass
- Diameter (body): 70 mm
- Depth: 23 mm
- Weight: 225 gr

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Ch-Ch-Z (ЧЧЗ in cyrillic letters)

PROFILE - Ch-Ch-Z are the initials of the Russian watch maker Chistopolsky Chasovoy Zawod (i.e. Chistopol Watch Company, name in cyrillic: see Instructions below). The city Chistopol is located on the river Volga in the Republic of Tatarstan (Capital: Kasan).

Technical Data
- Strap: Leather
- Casing: Brass, chromated
- Diameter (casing): 35 mm
- Depth: 7 mm
- Unlocking of needle by depressing the spring-loaded crown
Detailed view - front face and obverse
(Click to enlarge)
   
Box and data              
User's instructions (Click to enlarge)

Translation of data on box:
Wrist compass, TY 25-07-(019)-75,
Part-Number KN--105-01-28,
Price: 80 kopeks

CHINA (PRC) / VIET-NAM / Viet Cong

This China-made wrist compass was used by the Viet Cong Sapper Special Forces (dated 1968)

 
At left: Made in China - Right: Typ 68 8-1
Technical Data
- Dia.: 37 mm
- Height: 20 mm
- Divisions: 64oo Mils, counter-clockwise
- Strap: white nylon
- Manufacturer unknown

Serial number on back
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COLLIGNON-HOULLIOT

PROFILE - Former French company successor of HOULLIOT located in the Marais district in Paris (more information HERE).
See also Pocket and Survey compasses and also Sundials.



(Click on the pictures for detailed views)

C-H catalogue for the years 1960-70
Technical Data
Dia.: 30mm
Strap length: 200mm

This model was available with and w/o luminos markings


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CREAGH-OSBORNE

PROFILE - Captain Frank Osborne Creagh-Osborne, Royal Navy (1867/1943) was Superintendent of Compasses with the Admiralty and a British inventor (s. his portrait HERE). He patented several versions of this system (see below):
His compasses were manufactured by H. Hughes & Son Ltd (59, Fenchurch Street London), Dent & Co, & Johnson Ltd. and by Sperry Gyroscopes.  
See also the categories Marching and Aeronautical compasses.


Serial No. 4803

(Click on the picture ABOVE for an enlarged view)



Sighting aid and prism

Hand-held version
(see Marching compasses)
(excerpt out of the manual
The Prismatic Compass)
Technical data
- Strap: leather
- Case: brass
- Diameter: 65 mm
- Depth: 28 mm
- Weight: 250 gr

Fig. published in the patent no. 1148/15
(12 p., copies available)


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- D -

DACOR

PROFILE - DACOR was a US company founded in 1954 by a former Marine soldier called Sam DAVISON. DACOR is an acronym built with the first syllable of his name DAvison and CORporation. It was consecutively located in Evanston, Illinois, in 1954, then in Skokie, Illinois (about 1965) and at last in Northfield, Illinois. It was bought by the Italian MARES (diving gear) in the early 2000's.



(Photos : copyright J. GRÉPINET,
see LINKS, DIVER COMPASSES)
Technical data
- Diameter (glass capsule): 30 mm
- Depth (glass + basis): 35 mm
- Weight: 70 gr
- Manufactured (approx.): 1970's
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DINSMORE

PROFILE -  DINSMORE is a U.S. company located in Flint, Michigan. It was founded in 1927 (tbc) by Clarence B. "Dinny" DINSMORE. His son Robert C. (born Dec. 22, 1919 - died Dec. 15, 2009) continued but sold the rights in 2001 to the 'The Robson Company' (TRC).
Dinsmore was the world's first maker of car compasses and has had approx. eighty years of experience, and many patents for the correction of vehicle caused anomalies in compass readings. Dinsmore has designed and manufactured compasses for special uses as well as aircraft, mariners and vehicular compasses. See also R. C. Dinsmore's obituary.

However, we were told the following story by the current owner of the plant, Mr. Bruce Blevis: 
"I believe that Dinny worked for Albert Champion, founder of AC Spark Plug and Champion plugs back in the 1920’s.  There was a company in the East trying to work their way into the automobile gage business, which Mr. Champion had a corner on the market because the center of automobiles was in the Flint and Detroit areas in the 1920’s.  This other company specialized in aircraft gages.  So Albert asked Dinny to design a compass that would work in any position.  When Dinny brought the compass to Albert, Albert sent it to the competitor and said "if you don’t stop making auto gages I will market this compass which can be used in airplanes".  They withdrew from the auto market.  Albert having won his battle had no use for the compass so he gave the rights to Dinny, who patented them and started the Dinsmore Instrument Company."





Dinsmore Wrist compass
Technical data
- Diameter: 28 mm
- Depth: 13 mm
- Manufactured (approx.): 19..'s?
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Divers' compasses / Navigation boards

The museum only displays vintage divers' compasses. To see them pls. go to BEN, FPM, Hand, Heinke, KNM (KHM), Mikrotechna, Nemrod, NVA (former East German Army), Panerai, Scubapro, Spirotechnique, Steward, Taylor, Triton, Waltham, Wilkie, ... (to be cont'd).

A very special device is the navigation board used by the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs - Navy Seals) or the Royal Navy's Special Boat Service (SBS) which consists of an instrument panel held by the team leader in front of him while advancing. The other team members follow him holding a buddy line. The system designed by Franz Rothbrust and built by the German compass manufacturer LUDOLPH (see pic at right - click for enlarged view) has many advantages upon the standard NATO system: it is about half as large and features in addition a mirror above the aircraft FK 16 compass (ask for full description in English - pdf).

Examples of navigation boards used by the French Army's divers (Armée de Terre) on the website Collection of diver compasses, boards and other instruments.
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DOLLOND

PROFILE - British instruments manufacturer and retailer, now D&A, Dollond & Aitchison (more information HERE).
Pilot compass with extra long strap. Disk design: "Service Pattern". Compare with Steward
S.a. Marching compasses.






Click on image for enlarged view

Technical Data
- Dia. (casing): 42 mm
- Thickness (overall): 17 mm
- Production period: WW2?
Manufacturer marking: DOLLOND LONDON


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DOXA

PROFILE - DOXA was a Swiss clock manufacturer. 
From the 1960s on, the brand was used by a Japanese company for numerous wrist and pocket compasses.
This compass appears in a MITSUI catalogue together with several other compasses.
Picture at right: railroad driver watch late 19th C.

Technical Data
- Diameter: 35 mm
- Production year: approx. 1960

See also Japanese pocket compasses

 
(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)

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CONT'D