12 March 2013

Orientation with a GMT watch

The art (or science) of orientation using a conventional analog watch is quite explained through the web, with a plethora of written pages about it. However, the process is not that obvious. If you check this page, of the GlobalSecurity.org website you'll see what I mean. Well, it's not rocket science. But it's also not a direct calculation. You'll have to point the 12 o'clock mark to the sun and then bisect a line between so and so... Nah... I'm getting tired just by reading it. So you can imagine how surprised I was when I've read this page from the Omega watches site. Granted, they were talking specifically about a GMT (or dual time) watch. But they were promising the perfect, direct and infallible system to find the North point (on the North hemisphere), using for it just a simple dual time analog watch. But... is it a reliable method? For the test, I used my Citizen GMT Ecodrive.
See the photo bellow:
Both the Citizen GMT Ecodrive and the Silva 15T Ranger compass were positioned flat on the ground. As you can see, the red magnetic needle in the compass is pointing to the (magnetic) North. The trick to use the watch to make the same job is to point its hour hand to the sun (as you can see by the shadow direction). And so I did. If the process is scientifically correct, its GMT (or 24 hour) hand will point to the North. Can you see how accurate it is, compared with the magnetic compass? So can I. I rest my case. Enjoy the outdoors.