Sunday, September 15, 2013
A FRIEND RECENTLY ASKED me to go over and test a merchandise that he received of late from his trading activities. This is a button compass that used to be popular in the ‘80s and ‘90s as an accessory for diver’s watches, notably a SEIKO Diver.
The main body is made of plastic in black color which hold the bezel and a floating dial that would rotate when the compass is moved clockwise or counterclockwise and this act as the magnetic needle. The dial is also in black which is housed inside a transparent plastic filled with liquid.
The cardinal direction symbols like N, E, S and W which are located on the rotating dial are painted in luminous green as well as the direction arrow located above the N. All other features are painted white to include those found on the bezel. I test the compass in the dark and it glowed. After about three hours it lost its luminosity.
The bezel could be rotated by hand and you would hear a click each time you move it left or right. The bezel is notched to accommodate easy manipulation by thumb and forefinger. By the way, each click is equivalent to 10-degrees according to its packaging literature. However, I could not determine the accuracy of this information.
At the back is a narrow slot which has a flexible cover that could accommodate most wristwatch strap sizes not more than 1/8-inch thick and not beyond 3/4-inch wide. It could be easily slipped on the strap but I doubt if it could hold itself fast when it is accidentally snagged.
A small triangle jutting two millimeters on the housing beside the bezel act as the orienteering arrow. Smart design for a directional instrument whose function is limited due to its size. General direction-wise, it could hold its own when placed side-by-side with a standard compass but is accuracy is suspect when I used it for some serious navigation exercises.
This wrist-bound compass is made in China for use in the United States of America. A health-hazard warning is attached at the back of the package pursuant to California Health and Safety Code.
According to its label, the compass is great for camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, outdoor activities, travel, etc. Without a doubt, it could be done but I believe it could not approximate the performance of standard-sized compasses.
It is just too small and lacked the handling capability that bigger compasses possess. It is just too small to project its details to one who is visually-impaired under dim-light conditions. It is just too small to be noticed in your presence and would likely get misplaced.
Its lightness is its only advantage. Although, it accomplishes the function of locating the cardinal directions but beyond that I would rather trust a compass with base plates. This button compass would never replace a standard-sized compass but this is a great backup compass if in case you broke or lose the main one.
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