Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)

- L -

Lapel compasses

Go to Pin-on compasses.


Former French manufacturer that also made (among other companies) the French Army's Modčle 1922 marching compass (see this category) and an artillery level (sitomčtre) like the one displayed in this museum and made by SECRÉTAN (see Survey and Artillery Compasses).

Markings on reverse side:
LEMAIRE - PARIS, no. 521
Technical Data
- Wrist strap (not shown): leather
- Casing: bakelite
- Bezel: brass, black anodized
- Diameter: 55 mm
- Depth: 20 mm
- Weight: 72 g
- Divisions: 360 deg., clockwise
- Card: black figures on luminous ground
- Sighting system: a dash and a luminous dot on the bezel

Markings on reverse side:
Same as above but the number was changed to 520 M. ("modified")

(Pictures Cl. Millet)
Technical Data
- Wrist strap (not shown): leather
- Casing: bakelite
- Bezel: brass, black anodized
- Dim. and weight and divisions: as above
- Card: luminous figures on black ground
- Sighting system: Rifle-type (compare with the BEN compass)

Technical data
- Strap: plastic
- Case: aluminium
- Diameter: 53 mm
- Depth: 13 mm
- Weight: 35 gr
- Divisions: 360 degrees clockwise
Markings: LEMAIRE 'COMMANDO' - Bts (Brevets = Patents) SILVA

NOTE: A similar compass design is also to be found in a Bulgarian version called GUGK.
Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)


Special compass for orienteering made by the Belarus company VABULOVA located in Minsk Минский механический завод им. С.И. Вавилова.


This famous Swiss watch also signed Mark VI compasses for the WW1 troops. The compass card of this item differs from the better known pocket compasses (for comparison go to LONGINES) insofar as the maker's name is smaller and written in uppercase non-italic letters and features the British Army's broad arrow. The compass case was made by Dennison. The dîscrete lid unlocking push-button seems to be a modern or repair solution intended to replace the fragile stem and loop design.

Picture by courtesy of Nicola Dauphas      


German manufacturer - see LUFFT.

Diver's version with wristband

(Pict. courtesy 7twentyone,
click for enlarged views)

Cardinals in Dutch language:
South = Z for Zuid
Vehicle version
with suction disc

Technical Data
- Dia.: 43mm
- Height: 50mm
- Weight: 70gr
- Markings: logo Lufft + P.P.P. (?)
- Production date: 1970's


The only information that we have is a machine-typed non-dated document from the French company SERA describing a liquid-damped compass. See the Original document.
Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)

- M -


MARBLE'S of GLADSTONE (Michigan) is a U.S. company created by Webster L. Marble specialized in rifle sights and gear for hikers like pocket knives and compasses (more information on the company's own website www.marblearms.com).
MARBLE'S also produced some compasses. The most famous were pin-on compasses that could be carried attached to one's clothes. There were at least two different forms (long or short stem) and faces (plain white with needle or black-and-white card). The black face design was registered in 1901 (follow link to pic of patent).
On MARBLE'S website, it is said that famous explorers or pioneers like Theodore Roosevelt during a scientific exploration of the Brazilian wilderness in 1913 or Charles Lindbergh on his legendary flight from New York to Paris across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927 carried with them a Marble's compass but we don't know which model is meant. Lindbergh designed a very special Longines compass watch. MARBLE'S most probably had a cooperation in the second half of the 20th century with the German manufacturer WILKIE.
Below: Wrist-top compass made approximately in the 1930's:

MARBLE'S compasses in a
1949 catalogue for hunters' gear
Technical Data
- Casing (aluminum):
- Diameter (face): 1 inch / 25 mm
- Depth: 11 mm
- Weight (with leather strap): 20 gr
- Markings (around casing):

(Click for enlarged view)
marked PAT. APL'D FOR i.d. made in 1901.
See also TRU NORD and WILKIE.

(Click on image for enlarged view)
Short stem versions with safety pin. Here the two different designs: with needle and white dial and with compass card. The (spade-shaped) right one is the oldest. The needle's cap is made of natural rock crystal.

Old dial of a long stem pin-on instrument with radium paint around the north and south marks.

(Click for enlarged view)
Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)


Mares is a manufacturer of scuba equipment, founded in 1949 by Ludovico Mares in Rapallo, Italy (visit the official website).


US manufacturer of ship compasses established 1910 in Pembroke, Massachusetts. Very low-tech compass that was part of the survival kit of the US marine troops (click HERE for picture). It was later also made by R. A. Miller Electronics, Fruitport, Michigan for the U.S. Military (NSN 6605-00-515-5637).  This compass type ressembles the wrist compass made by U.S. Gauge Div. AM&M but is still more simple.

(Click on picture for enlarged view)
Compass, Magnetic, card, pocket, Type MC-1

Technical Data

- Diameter: 2 inches / 49 mm
- Depth: 1 inch / 26 mm
- Weight: .08 lbs / 35 gr
- Inner width of the foldable strap attachments: 0.2 inch / 5 mm.
 This compass type was also a component in a simple sextant made by ILON INDUSTRIES Inc. HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.

Survival kit located under the pilot's seat
(Click on image for details and user instr. in U.S.A.F. manual)
Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)


MARVEL Enterprises was a U.S. company founded in 1939, the forerunner of Marvel Entertainment founded in 1998. This item was made for Marvel by an unknown maker in the 1940s or 50s, probably Chicago Apparatus Co. who made a similar compass featuring the same casing and strap.

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)
Technical Data
- Dia.: 1" /  25mm
- Height:
- Strap length: 8"  /  200mm

M Ch Z (MЧЗ in Russian)

Marking on rear face мчз (M Ch Z), abbreviation of Минский часовой завод i.e. Minsk Watch Plant. Made in Minsk, Belarus.

This simple compass is integrated in a watch case. There is no locking device. Pic at right: the tab in front of B (for BOCTOK = east) protrudes into the opening for the crown so that the dial doesn't rotate.

For Russian cardinals go to menue Miscell./Card. Pts./Russia.
Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)


Mega Sport Srl is an Italian manufacturer of scuba gear located 69/71, Via Galilei Galileo - 10040 Leině (TO).
See also COCHRAN.


Former Swiss company located in Péry and Ettingen (for more information click HERE). See also marching and survey compasses.

© Dobre Ioana

Model 1621
The flyer (at r.) displays two models of wrist compasses with liquid damping: one with a needle on which the cardinal points E and W are swapped (no. 1620) and one with a conventional disc (no. 1621).

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 135 x 145 x 25 mm
- Weight: 55gr
- Illumination: Radium (according to the catalogue and very probable when you look at the dark yellow colour of the paint on the pic at left).
- Built: 1950's

(Click on the images for enlarged views)

Model MH-5002

(Designation used in a German catalogue)

Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist compasses)


Czech company located in Prague, created in 1925, manufacturer of aircraft instruments (www.mikrotechna.cz). The technical data are copied from the Manual for Divers of the Czechoslovak Army (issue 1969). (Pictures of manual „Žen-24-6“ : © Dušan Šuráni).

Model PL-40 (Potápěč Lehký - Diver, light)
Photograph at left by courtesy of Dušan Šuráni
(visit his website
Vintage Scuba Collection)

Divers' compass Model PL-40
(c. 1960's)

Technical Data

- Spherical casing: compare to Spirotechnique/Vez and LUFFT
- Dia. sphere: 70 mm
- Height sphere : 54 mm
- Weight : 200 g
- Max. depth : 40 m

Click on images for enlarged views

Model PB-65 (Potápěčská Buzola = Diver compass)

Sighting over rifle-type sights (identical with those of the WWII AK 39 model made by Kadlec)

Divers' compass Model PB-65
(c. 1970's-80's)

Technical Data
- Casing: plastic
- Diameter: 43 mm
- Height: 35 mm
- Weight: 58 gr
- Max. depth : 60 m
- Markings (pic. at left):

Click on images for enlarged views
Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)

MOM / Süss Nandor /  Hungary's Plant no. 41

The Hungarian maker Süss Nandor / MOM was attributed during the communist era following WWII the confidential code 41. This compass type is identical to the Soviet Army's ADRIANOFF type of which there also exists a Bulgarian and a Polish version. Only the cardinals differ: K for Kelet (East), D for Del (South) and NY for Nyugat (West). North is represented by a line of luminous paint.

Technical Data
Dia.: 2 in. / 50 mm
Leather strap

Pictures by courtesy of Brandon Soale


Russian company located in Moscow

See also below ORIENTEERING (thumb compasses)
Orienteering compass

Technical Data

Dia.: 1 ˝ in. / 40 mm
Elastic strap


The company Moser & Cie was created by the watchmaker Heinrich MOSER (b. Schaffhausen 1805 - d. Badenweiler 1874) in 1828 in Saint-Petersbourg, Russia, and in Le Locle, Switzerland, a year later (read the full story on the website of the MOSER watches). This compass features a unique device intended to slow down the needle's movements. It was patented by Moser & Cie in 1916 (no. 71473). The needle is equiped with two pivots: the upper one fits into a conical recess bored into the crystal and the lower one rotates in a cup attached to a screw in the bottom (see patent, Fig. 2), a solution also chosen by BILAND. By cautiously tightening this screw, the pivots friction in the cups can be regulated so as to avoid long swinging movements. The dial's design (cardinal points lettering) is identical to other Swiss-made compasses, especially the ones made by Muller & Vaucher.

Technical Data
Dia.: 1 Ľ in. / 33mm
Thickness (case only): 1/5 in. / 5mm
Full description in the patent (in German lang.)

Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)


Former Swiss maker (read the compl. descr. in the Pocket Compasses section).
In the 1920's, Swiss watch manufacturers built also compasses which were sold by numerous watch retailers and jewelers in all Europe.
Typical Swiss design of a compass dial (compare to the pocket compass made for KREIS, Berlin, provider of pilots' watches and with the instrument in Russian language above and to the compass patented by MOSER & Cie).

Technical Data
- Dia.: 35mm
- Thickness: 8mm
- Divisions: 360°
- Revolving crystal with lubber line
- Lever-actuated needle transit lock at the side, concealed between the two walls of the casing.
The design of the rose of the winds on this model is also reproduced on the floating disc of a pocket compass. The oldest instruments known are marked Brevet DEM (= demandé i.e. "patent pending").

Transit-locking by rotation of bezel (patent no. 71,708 - link to pic.) filed by Fabrique de cadrans métalliques. At right: protection grid. Dia. 35mm

Picture by courtesy of
Ian Dinnis

Technical Data
Compass dia.: 40mm

Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)

- N -


Spanish divers' compass.

NEMROD (1950's)

Pictures Franz Rothbrust
Technical Data
- Casing: Steel, chromated?
- Diameter: 45mm
- Thickness: 18mm
- Weight: 94gr
- Markings (rev.):

(Click to enlarge)
Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)


Brand of Japanese wrist compasses


Instrument made by a manufacturer called "The Luminous Compass Co.", Manufacturers under U.S. Patent 1035973, located in Cedarburg, Wisconsin (USA) . The dial features at North a bird and a moon crescent between the words NIGHT and HAWK. The designation hawk is misleading. This bird is a nightjar (see Wikipedia) and only has the shape of a hawk!

(Click on images for enlarged views)
The Night Hawk logo

Technical data
- Strap: leather
- Case: brass
- Diameter: 45 mm
- Thickness: 13 mm
Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)


1 - Divisions: 400 grades, declination arrow pointing to 10 grades West i.e. 9 deg (see picture at right). Approx. 1920s

2 - TYPE 45 SM Fluid-filled Diver compass, graduated every 10 deg., for all depth, made in France, probably in the 1970s.


- Hiking -

(Click to enlarge)
Technical data
- Strap: leather
- Case: aluminum
- Outer diameter: 38 mm
- Thickness: 8 mm
- Dial: SINGER's pattern

- Royal Army - Infantrymen and parachutists compasses

(Click on images for enlarged views)
Technical data
- Fluid dampened prismatic compass (Creagh-Osborne system)
- Materials: leather strap, brass case (cylinder-shaped, compare with Dollond, Steward and Barker)
- Dimensions: Diam.: 60 mm; height: 30 mm
- Weight: 280 gr ( approx. 9 oz.)
NOTE: Very important radiation level due to compound used like in all Creagh-Osborne-type prismatic compasses.

(Click on images for enlarged view)
WORLD WAR I - Mark VI design

Technical data

- Strap: fabric
- Case: brass blackened
- Outer diameter: 45 mm
- Manufacturer: unknown.

NOTE: This compass design was made by several manufacturers,
among many others DENNISON and TERRASSE in Pocket compasses shape.

- Royal Navy divers compass (1960-1970)

(Click on the picture for an enlarged view)
Technical data
- Diameter: 62 mm
- Depth: 40 mm
- Weight: 190 gr
- Manufacturer: ?
- Strap: nylon, standard NATO
(link to picture)
- Box: wood, lead lining (2 mm)
- Markings: T = tritium ; P = ?

Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)


NOTE: A green version (click on link for image) without side ruler nor index ring locking screw also existed.
Technical Data
Compass of unknown origin (Germany, Austria, Switzerland?). Its prism can be laterally swivelled by 90 degrees.
- Dimensions (mm): 55 (side ruler) x 27 (height) x 65 (lid breadth)
- Diameter: 58 mm
- Weight: 230 gr
- Divisions: 6400 Mils, clockwise
- Crown lock: screw
NOTE: the wrist strap buckle is identical with the KADLEC's compass (see above).
Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)

Detail view
This compass probably was an escape compass since it can be removed very easily from the strap and concealed on (or better in) the body. Probably WW I. (see also Glossary: Escape compass)

Technical data
- Strap: Leather
- Case: aluminium
- Diameter: 26 mm
- Depth: 10 mm
- Weight: 6 gr
- Divisions: Four 90 degrees quadrant
Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)

These compass and the strap were especially made to fit together: the compass basis forms a lip and the leather strap has a flat metallic ring with 4 tiny rivets. Between WWI and WWII

The rose design is identical with the LUFFT pocket compass model 440 (see this category)

Technical data
- Strap: Leather
- Case: brass
- Diameter (crystal): 35 mm
- Depth: 13 mm
- Weight (altogether): 35 gr

The strap back bears some indication on one of the former owwners : it was a certain (Prof. ?) NEIKOV S. (Sergei?) teaching at a school called "TPU". Can the "T" stand for transportation?
Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)

German soldiers
This wrist strap is designed to fit for a LUFFT Modell 330 pocket compass (see this category) : the loop protrudes through a slot.

Technical data
- Strap: Leather
- Case: brass
- Diameter (opening): 28 mm
- Diameter (base): 55 mm
- Depth: 14 mm
- Weight (altogether): 35 gr
Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)


Unknown maker. Marked Made in Finland. Addresses in Minneapolis, MN, USA and Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Identical to another version signed TEXTSPORT.

Technical data


The army of the former communist East-Germany (German Democratic Republic, GDR) was called Nationale Volksarmee (NVA). This one was borne by the group leader and called "Gruppenkompass".
For other NVA compasses see FPM / Freiberger Präzisionsmechanik

Technical data
- Height: ca. 40mm; Dia. ca. 55mm; Period: since 1980's.
- Visible sector (link to picture): 1/4,  3/4 being masked by black paint to avoid being detected because of the luminous paint of markings (s. a. PANERAI compasses below).
- Manufacturer: KIPZ 
- Designation: KM40-N (KM40-H in Russian, see picture of back HERE). Compare with KNM / KHM)
Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)

- O -


U.S. manufacturer of diving gear founded in 1972 by Bob Hollis in California (see the official website). Oceanic acquired Farallon in 1976.


Sport created by Jan Kjellström, son of SILVA's co-founder Alvar (see also the category Marching compasses / SILVA).
The Swedish inventor Erik Bertil NORMAN filed a patent in 1981-82 (no. WO 82/02429) for an extreme light compass held in the hand by means of a thumb loop. This system is used for cross country running, called orienteering (see also MOSCOMPASS).
Participation ticket of an orientation competition in Kalyga (USSR) in March 1968  

NORMAN's patent fig.

MOSCOW Compass, Model 3 - thumb loop

Wrist model SILVA #24

View of the data printed on the box HERE
Two versions of the model called
LIDER Sport Compass (in Russian)
with and without distance scale
and wrist strap

Technical Data
- Liquid dampened needle
- Divisions: 360 deg.

Document issued by SILVA in the 1950s with examples of courses :

(Click on image for a view of interior pages)

Orienteering without compass

This basic technique is dealt with in numerous books. The German soldiers' manuals of WWI and II decribed several simple methods (watch, stars etc.)  whereas the French petty officers' Guide (also called manuel depending on the issue) du sous-officier d'infanterie explained the function of some compass types (see Modčle 1922, Rossignol, Peigné). The communist GDR had made a movie and a brochure for the youth organization Junge Pioniere.

Der Gute Kamerad (1915)
Click on the image to view the full text (p. 162-163).

Dienstunterricht im Heere (1940)
Click on the image to view the complete text (p. 293). 

Orientieren im Gelände ohne Kompaß (GDR, 1954)

Booklet (F 601) of an 8min.-movie explaining the natural signs indicating gross directions like ant hills and trees etc.
Orienteering with a compass was dealt with in the booklets F 600 (Orientieren im Gelände mit Kompaß) and R 207 (Der Marschkompaß in der Touristik).
Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)

- P -


Guido Panerai & Figlio (GPF) was an Italian watch maker of Florence who has also been manufacturing compasses for the Italian NAVY's swimmers and divers since World War II until the end of the 20th century (more information HERE).


Lubber line under the Plexiglas dome, markings every 22.5 deg. (i.e. 2 compass points). Figures and markings: Radiomir luminous compound.

Technical Data
- Steel casing: 70 x 90 mm
- Height (total): 34 mm
- Height (Plexiglas dome): 23 mm
- Weight: 300 g

Pictures courtesy Asi Burstein
(Click on images for enlarged views)
Compass developed for the Royal Italian Navy's special units.
This type of compass had to be held perfectly horizontally to ensure its perfect function.

All data quoted from the book VINTAGE PANERAI

(see also www.panerai.com)
also designated INC. 76 on original box

(Click on images for enlarged views)
with lateral window (see also NVA)

Picture by Michael Adam-Co
Technical Data
- Casing: synthetic material ?
- Diameter: 70 mm
- Depth: 53 mm
- Weight: 210 gr (BSP 851) / 240 gr (BSP 852), incl. 60 gr Liquid (petroleum)
- Tritium lamps under the cover near the window
- Markings
. on reverse: OFFICINE PANERAI
. on the buckle: GPF   Mod. Dep.
This type of compass could be used tilted. Because of the card's large size and the brightness of the markings, the divers could be detected at a depth of 4 to 5 metres. To protect them, a black opaque cover with only a side window was added.

Picture courtesy Ehlers & Wiegmann

Picture courtesy network54
Unsigned (anonymous) models issued to the Italian (Gruppo Gamma) and the German  (Kampfschwimmer) divers during WWII

- Leather wrist band fixed with rivets or sewn and with double hinge

Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)


Former German Company (more information HERE). See also the section Marching and Pocket Compasses.
After WWII, products from Germany had to be labelled "FOREIGN", but after the two German states had been created (FRG and GDR), they were authorized to be labelled MADE IN WESTERN-GERMANY (see table below, first row at right).

At right: the model ABALONE (more details in the table)         


Technical Data
- Dia. (base): 58 mm
- Dia. (compass rose): 45 mm
- Height: 18 mm
NOTE: The photograph at left shows the WILKIE version with stabilizing winglets for the magnetic needle, manufactured after the companies merged.

B/w pics: catalogue 1971
(Click on the image at r. for description in English)

See picture of an item exhibited in WILKIE

Pics at left: Models 202, 204
Pic at right: Model ABALONE (link to pic. with box, photograph courtesy www.scubamuseum.com)
Hikers' compass.

Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)
This compass manufacturer is described further below in SUUNTO.

PIF le Chien (Pif, the dog)

This compass was one of various instruments (called gadget in the French original and gimmick in the German version YPS) accompanying some issues of a weekly review called Pif le chien. The character of the dog had been created in 1948 for the official daily newspaper of the French Communist party L'Humanité (more information in WIKIPEDIA).  Read also in section Other Compasses / Toys.

Technical Data
- Case and glass: plastic
- Diam.: 35 mm
- Divisions: quadrants
- Cardinal in Engl., North being the dog's name PIF !

No. 106 (issue March 1, 1971) comprised in the chapter Gadgetus a three-page user instruction for children.

Pin-on Compasses

Pin-on compasses are a specific category but we display them together with the wrist compasses for reasons of place since we only know of few different manufacturers who used the same case shapes with different inserts. They are mainly used by North-American hunters (examples: go to AIRGUIDE, TRU NORD, MARBLE'S , TAYLOR and WILKIE).  A special one was also part of the safety equipment of jet fighters' pilots and sailors and was placed in a pocket of the SECUMAR-type inflatable vests (example see SILVA).


The POINTER is a commercial name of a special model for hunters made by WALTHAM. It shows on the compass face a picture of a hunting dog called Pointer.

Picture by courtesy of H. Kile

Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)

Q - R


Diver's compass on a velcro wrist strap, probably U.S. made. The compass itself is a simple sphere probably made in Japan.

Technical Data
Compass dia.: approx. 1" / 25 mm


The famous watchmaker located 18 rue du Marché, Geneva, Switzerland filed in 1955 a patent (UK issue: no. 795,255) for a diver's compass featuring a side widow. This system was later also used by Scubapro.
Click on the image at r. for a view of the complete page.


For more Russian-made compasses see Adrianoff, Aurkka, Ch-Ch-Z, FEP, KIPZ, KNM, Lider, M-Ch-Z, Moscompass, Semionoff, UOMZ, ZOP / ZUP.
1st row: The face' and the needle's design as well as the transit lock mechanism are identical with the Muller & Vaucher compasses described above.
Production: early 20th c. This can be determined by the indicated correction of the magnetic deviation (10° West, s. detail below).

Swiss made item for export to Russia

Technical Data
- Casing: brass nickel-coated
- Dia.: 40mm
- Depth: 5mm
- Weight: 23gr
- Divisions: four quadrants
- The arrow-shaped lubber's line end is painted unter the bezel's crystal. The circle in the middle of the arrow was probably filled with luminous paint.
- Cardinals: The cyrillic letter C (initial letter of the russian word CEBEP (pronounce sever = North, MISCELLANEOUS / Cardinal points) is entirely covered with Radium-compound paint whereas the other cardinals only bears a tiny dot in the middle.
Technical Data
- Dia.: 40mm
- Price: 1 rouble 30 kopeks
- A later model featured a white casing (r.)

Children compasses

Two models are known: The divisions are printed either in white on black ground or in black on white ground with red cardinals.

- Dia. :  
Back to ALPHABETICAL SEARCH (Wrist Compasses)