How to Use a Watch as a Compass for Finding Direction? (Tips & Tricks)

It will be amazing for you to know that there is no problem if you are lost or if you don’t have a compass for finding the directions. You can use your watch for this purpose. This article covers the simple methods on how to use a watch as a compass. The things will be easy and you will be able to keep them in your memory.

Which hemisphere do you live in? Go ahead and find out (How to Use A Watch As A Compass):

use a watch as a compass

It is necessary that you know hemisphere in which you live if you want to use your wristwatch as a compass. Four hemispheres including Northern and Southern or Western and Eastern divide the earth. Two methods will be helpful to you.

Using a North Star

It is very easy to step. Just look at the sky and find if the North Star is visible. If it is visible then you are in the Northern hemisphere and if it is not visible when you are in the Southern hemisphere.

Using moss

If you are in the wild then find the position of the moss.  If it grows on trees on their north side then you are in the Northern hemisphere and if it grows on the Southside then you are in the Southern Star. Moss grows on the Southside because here the sun shines least.

How you can use an Analog watch as a compass in the Northern hemisphere?

Northern hemisphere

Now just find the where north is when you are in Europe. The northern hemisphere is the half of the planet from the equator and above. It includes several countries: US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and half of Africa. Owing to the large population, most of the people will use the timepiece for finding the North.

Just follow the given steps

  • First of all, remove the timepiece from your wrist.
  • You need to use this method during day time because it needs sun. just place the watch on the flat surface.
  • Be sure that your time is correct. Now rotate the watch in such a way that the hour hands are in the direction of the sun.
  • Find the midpoint between that point and the 12’O clock. This is the South and the opposite of that point is pointing towards the North.

Some more points need to remember:

  • Just find the position of the shadows in the cloudy days. The shadows are in the opposite position of the sun.
  • Some watches are hard to use because of the unavailability of the hour and minute hands. Those watches which have the hour and minute hands are easy to use for this purpose.

How you can use an Analog watch as a compass in the Southern hemisphere?

Southern hemisphere

If you are in Australia or New-Zealand then use the following steps which are similar to the above ones.

  • Just remove the watch from your wrist. The choice is yours!
  • Just place it on the flat surface. If the watch has not daylight saving then face of the 12’O clock must be towards the sun and if it has then you need to move the face of the 1’O clock towards the sun.
  • Find the midpoint between the hour hand and 12’O clock or 1’O clock.
  • This midpoint is towards the North and the opposite of it is towards the South.

Quartz watches are more accurate than mechanical watches. And keep the time accurate. If the time is wrong then you will get the wrong direction.

Using a compass bezel on a digital watch

Through this, you can find the North easily. The difference is that you need to determine the watch hands’ position. This process can be completed by imagination. Just use two sticks or a pen or paper. You must set up your watch so that it doesn’t show time in daylight saving. Just back it up by one hour.

Northern hemisphere

  • Hold the watch parallel to the ground after removing it from the wrist.
  • Point the hour hand towards the sun. But if you have a digital watch then use sticks according to the time watch displays.
  • Rotate the S mark on the compass. It must be between the hour hand and 12’O clock.
  • Just use N, S, E and W markings for finding the required direction.

Southern hemisphere

  • Place you watch on the flat surface.
  • Make sure that 12’O clock is pointing towards the sun. you can use sticks or pen and paper.
  • The N marking on the bezel should be between the hour hand and 12’O clock.
  • Just read the markings on the watch bezel for different directions.

How to Use A Watch As A Compass- FAQs

How do you tell direction with a watch?

Keep the clock face facing you and is parallel with the ground. The hand of the watch should be placed towards the sun. Turn your hand towards the body. So you can easily tell the direction with a watch.

How do I use my GMT watch as a compass?

  • The 24-hour hand must be set to the correct time zone.
  • First, you should see the weather (Is sunny or dark?).
  • When you turn the clock, you have to keep it facing the sun.
  • Finally, The 24-hour hand will be pointing North.

What does wearing a watch upside down mean?

This means the dial is always pointing at you. Typically you notice that when you wearing a watch upside down then helps to save time which is the best for you.

Difference between Northern and Southern Hemisphere

The major difference between northern and southern hemisphere as a Geographical is stars because Northern Hemisphere has half of the planet. On the other hand, Southern Hemisphere is full of stars.

Related Video: How to Use A Watch As A Compass


Now, we hope that you can find easily the direction. All the above steps cover the problem of your location. No problem where you are, just follow the given steps. These steps are easy and suitable. You can use them on any watch. An Analog watch with or without compass bezel helps a lot.

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