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All great outdoor adventures start with one step - and it always great to know what direction to take that first step in. 


And if you're here, one of the first things you consider before you step out is what watch to strap on your wrist - and this is where the handy military-grade matte black PVD compass here comes in.


The compass here slides on your watch strap before you start your adventure, providing a rather useful and neccessary tool for orienteering the journey.


Lightweight and compact, you might just forget its there - until you need it.


But don't take our word for it - this compass closely mirrors the design of the Waltham WW II and Vietnam-era military compasses USMIL service members - to include the secretive and highly classifed Military Assistance Command, Vietnam - Studies and Observation Group (MACV-SOG) - were issued as part of their kit.


As documented in an article we wrote for Watches of Espionage (WoE), we tracked down and spoke with respected MACV-SOG operator, Michael “Magnet” O’Byrne.


Upon arrival at the SOG’s Command and Control North (CCN) command in mid-1968, O’Byrne was wearing a USMIL-issued watch.  Not just any watch, but a Seiko, issued originally on a canvas (later replaced with a rubber) strap replete with matte Waltham W.C.C. compass.  One of O’Byrne’s responsibilities during missions into Laos was to surveil the Ho Chi Minh Viet Cong supply trail and place wiretaps along it to gather additional intelligence on enemy logistic movements and patterns of life.

O’Byrne told us he would wear his Seiko and Waltham compass, “on every trip across the fence because it gave off very little light, just enough to read the time and the compass still worked.”  In late 1969, on his last patrol leading RT Rhode Island, the compass would play an integral role (albeit in a less than traditional sense) during an operation that would earn him his third Purple Heart.


During a fire fight after an ambush, the W.C.C compass partially deflected North Vietnam grenade shrapnel from O’Byrne’s wrist, damaging the compass in the process and resulting in a dislocated shoulder, shrapnel embedded in a bicep, and a concussion.  He was left with a scar the size of a quarter on his wrist (still visible during our conversation).


Much less expensive than its vintage Waltham brethern (if you're lucky enough to track one down in good condition, that is), this matte black PVD compass comes on a black nylon strap.

Matte Black PVD Military Watch Strap Compass

  • CASE: Matte black PVD circular case measures 30mm in circumference, and will fits up to an 18mm wide strap.


    DIAL: Compass dial features crisp writing and phosphorescent lume


    CRYSTAL: Slightly domed acrylic crystal.


    BAND: This military-grade compass comes on an black nylon pass-through strap.

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