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Last updated: December 28, 2022
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Watches aren’t just for telling the time. They can come with all kinds of other useful features too, with compass watches helping you to find your way around while out in the wilderness, perfect for outdoor adventures like camping and backcountry hikes.
We reviewed dozens of the best compass watches around, finding that the G-Shock Men’s GG-1000-1A5CR is the very best of all with its stylish blend of digital and analog functionality and its wide range of features. We also gathered information on nine other of the best compass watches money can buy right now, aiming to choose a wide range of options to suit all budgets, preferences, and needs. This review should help you find the best compass watch you’ve been searching for.
Our research and reviews team spent several hours analyzing and evaluating the pros and cons of the best compass watches around, considering a wide range of features and factors in order to find the top products to recommend. We looked at the type of watch (digital or analog), the dimensions and weight of each model, the style and material of the strap and face, as well as any extra features it had to offer like a barometer and altimeter to provide even more information on your camping trips, or water resistance for aquatic adventures. The comparison table below shows all of our findings, followed by detailed reviews of each model and the best compass watch buying guide.
"Highly multifunctional model with automatic weather detection technology makes it ideal to be used during any kind of hiking adventure, especially considering that it can handle super low temperatures."
More features: Mud Resistant Buttons, Super Illuminator, high-brightness auto LED light, Twin Sensor
It may have a high price tag, but the G-Shock Men’s GG-1000-1A5CR is one of the toughest and most rugged compass watches around. Perfectly suited for outdoor adventures and expeditions in tough terrain and extreme conditions, this watch has been designed from the ground up to be able to tackle any environment. It might be the most durable compass watch of all and it comes equipped with a thermometer too, but is lacking any kind of altimeter or barometer.
Part of the exceptional ‘Master of G’ series of watches, the G-Shock Men’s GG-1000-1A5CR comes with mud and dust-resistant buttons that are safe to use in any surroundings. It offers 31 time sounds, daylight savings features, a 12 or 24-hr format display, and a full automatic calendar, complete with a 16-point display digital compass. In short, it’s one of the most effective compass watches around.
The G-Shock Men’s GG-1000-1A5CR is also one of the only compass watches to blend both analog and digital components to create a unique fusion of styles, bringing the best of both worlds to its overall design. It offers two years of battery life and comes with an array of alarm features, plus an automatic LED light and luminous hands. Meanwhile, its strap is made of tough, resistant, and skin-friendly canvas that feels nice and comfortable around the wrist.
More features: Graphic direction pointer, Bidirectional calibration and Northerly calibration function, Magnetic declination correction, Bearing memory
When choosing a compass watch, many people favor the reliability of a digital model over analog alternatives. If you’re searching for the best digital compass watch around, look no further than the Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRG-270-1. Available at a great price, this multifunctional sport watch comes complete with a compass, thermometer, altimeter, and barometer.
The Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRG-270-1 is one of the most fully featured compass watches around, and it’s fully solar powered, with Casio estimating that the battery can survive for over five years, so you’ll almost never have to worry about replacing it. The only real downsides we could find in regard to this watch are the fact that some users have reported a lack of accuracy on the part of the altimeter, with others saying that the alarm tone is too quiet and weak to be effective.
In terms of strength and durability, the Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRG-270-1 offers up to 100m water resistance and features a tough, resistant design that can handle knocks and drops without suffering any real damage. It comes with an automatic LED to light up the screen, a full auto calendar, five different daily alarms, 31 time zones, daylight saving mode, and more.
More features: Multilingual menu (EN, FR, DE, ES), storm alarm, sunrise/sunset
The first thing that stands out about the Suunto Core SS014279010 is its design. Slick and minimalistic, this watch featured a ribbed black strap and aesthetically appealing case, with a clear visual display on the face to help you see all the data you need and comfortable buttons on the sides. It’s a nice watch to wear and a comfortable one to use, excelling in terms of both aesthetics and functionality.
This all black Suunto Core SS014279010 wins our award as the best for ranger school and it might be the best military compass watch too. Designed with reliability and simplicity in mind, it comes with an altimeter, barometer, compass, and even sunrise and sunset time tracker. All of the features of this watch are super accurate, with each one providing detailed data as and when you need it.
The Suunto Core SS014279010 is a great option for mountaineering, skiing, and wilderness adventurers, with its barometer and altimeter being super reliable. It comes with all kinds of extra features and functionality options too, like a multilingual menu, low battery alarm, calendar, weather alarm, and low temperature resistance. The only real flaw we could find is that some users don’t enjoy the futuristic, chic design of this watch, but that’s a very subjective issue and doesn’t affect the product’s functionality.
More features: EL Backlight Display, built-in Swiss high precision sensor
We rank the EZON Hiking Outdoor Sports Watch H001 as the best for hiking. It’s lightweight and comfortable on the rest, always easy to read, and super reliable too. This full ABC watch comes with an altimeter for tracking your vertical location and movement, a barometer to keep track of the air pressure around you, and a compass for guiding the way. It also comes complete with a thermometer and automatic weather detection technology, letting you know if any storms are on the way.
The EZON Hiking Outdoor Sports Watch H001 does an amazing job of keeping track of so much information and being able to deliver it in a precise, concise, intuitive way, with simple buttons on the sides letting you see whatever you need to see. It’s a highly multifunctional device, too, coming with a stopwatch, plenty of world time zones, a countdown timer, a calendar, and more.
It offers 50m of water resistance, so it can handle heavy rain but isn’t quite as strong as some other entries on our list. It also comes with quite lengthy battery life, with the manufacturer estimating that the EZON Hiking Outdoor Sports Watch H001 can last for up to 18 months before requiring a fresh battery. It comes with a year-long warranty and 30-day money back guarantee if you’re not totally satisfied either.
One of the best analog compass watch models money can buy, the Timex Men’s T2N721 immediately catches the eye with its truly stunning design. This gorgeous Timex timepiece has been crafted by an award-winning team of designers who truly understand what goes into a great watch. Appearance is always a subjective issue, but countless customers agree that the Timex Men’s T2N721 is a really attractive watch, blending the functionality of a compass watch with the elegance and style of a more formal timepiece.
Offering a lot of functionality, including a temperature sensor, electronic compass, and tide tracker, the Timex Men’s T2N721 is a nice watch to have by your side in almost any environment. It comes with a powerful INDIGO night light to illuminate the darkness and let you see the full face in dark conditions, and it can offer up to 100m of water resistance too.
As an analog compass watch, the Timex Men’s T2N721 does lack the kind of features and functionality we’d find in a digital model, but for those who prefer analog models, it’s one of the best options you can buy right now. It’s stylish, multifunctional, flawlessly made, and very easy to use.
Many compass watches are big and bulky in their designs, being made with the larger wrists of men in mind, but for those with smaller and slimmer wrists, there are other options out there. The Casio Women’s Pro Trek PRG-330-4CR is one of them. In terms of compass watches, this is the very best for women. It features a small and leaner design, fitting snugly around small wrists and offering easy adjustments for larger wrists too.
The case is smaller than many competing models, but still large enough to let you see all the information you need to see, as the Casio Women’s Pro Trek PRG-330-4CR comes complete with a highly precise direction sensor to act as a compass, a pressure sensor for altimeter and barometer data, and a temperature sensor to allow it to act as a thermometer too. In short, it gives you all the data you need on the current conditions while you’re exploring the great outdoors. On the downside, some users have reported that it can get dirty quite easily, so you’ll need to be careful in muddy terrain.
The Casio Women’s Pro Trek PRG-330-4CR is powered by Casio’s terrific Tough Solar Power technology, which allows it to last for years on a single battery and power down when not in use. It’s a highly energy efficient model, perfect for those who don’t want to have to worry about buying replacement batteries all the time. It can also withstand up to 100m of water and is safe to use in very low temperatures.
Available at a very fair and reasonable price, the LAD WEATHER MASTER LAD002BKGR is one of the most affordable digital watches you can buy today and arguably the best multifunction compass watch on the market. It stands out and catches the eye with its two-tone design, available with either green or orange highlights. A full ABC watch, the LAD WEATHER MASTER LAD002BKGR comes complete with a digital compass, altimeter, barometer, and weather tracking technology.
It even features GPS technology, to provide the most accurate readings and navigational data, and can be hooked up to a PC to download routes and points of interest, with the compass effectively guiding you to your destination. This helps to make the LAD WEATHER MASTER LAD002BKGR such a powerful tool to have on your wrist, a veritable Swiss army knife of compass watches. It comes with alarm features, a workout mode, stopwatch and timer for running laps, and even a heart rate monitor so you can keep track of your fitness.
It’s rare to find a watch with so many features and such deep functionality for such a great price, so the LAD WEATHER MASTER LAD002BKGR is able to offer immense value for money. The battery isn’t the longest lasting, but this watch is fully rechargeable by USB connection. Some users have also complained that the display is a little difficult to see, especially in bright light conditions with the sun glaring off the face.
The Citizen Men’s Promaster Altichron is one of the most expensive entries on our list, but from the very first glance, you can see exactly why it has such a high price tag. It’s one of the best looking analog compass watches, with a beautiful strap and flawless case, with plenty of intricately designed dials and digits. From every possible angle, the Citizen Men’s Promaster Altichron is a truly beautiful timepiece that never looks out of place.
It fits comfortably around the wrist and comes with some powerful technology under the hood, including an altimeter that can measure up to 32,000 feet, a highly precise compass, and powerful Eco-Drive technology that allows it to charge up and stay powered by nothing but the sun. In short, the Citizen Men’s Promaster Altichron is the ultimate all-round compass watch for the modern man.
This visually stunning compass watch features a black-ion steel case and a black polyurethane strap, ensuring it can last for years and still look good as new. It doesn’t get dirty easily and it can perform well in outdoor environments, but the lack of a thermometer or barometer does bring down the overall value for adventurers who prefer watches with long lists of features. If style is your priority, however, this is a great watch for you.
More features: Japanese TMI VD57 quartz chronograph movement
The final analog entry on our list, the Invicta 22970 is another beautifully designed watch with a bold blue dial and a sleek, stainless steel strap. It’s a modern, chic, fashionable watch that looks right at home in the office, on the city streets, or out on a hike. It’s not the most rugged or military-style watch around, but if you want a timepiece that can offer class and functionality, this is a good one to choose.
The Invicta 22970 aviator watch comes equipped with an accurate compass and powerful Japanese quartz chronograph movement. It gives you the time and date, like any good watch, and offers up to 100m of water resistance. The watch is shipped in a stylish Invicta case and comes with a 5-year warranty, which is one of the most impressive warranties on any compass watch.
The Invicta 22970 isn’t exactly designed with adventure in mind, lacking any kind of thermometer, barometer, or altimeter technology, but it’s a tough and durable timepiece that can handle difficult conditions and still look as good as new. The heavy strap and eye-catching case of this watch help it to be a real statement piece, ideal for those who want a watch that oozes class and style, while still having a few fun features and advantages over a more standard and traditional model.
More features: Power saving mode, Step counter, Calorie, Distance record
Our Budget Pick for this list, the SUNROAD Men’s Smart Digital Compass Waterproof Watch is one of the most affordable digital compass watches you can buy today, and it’s surprisingly feature-packed despite coming with such a low price tag. It’s a full ABC watch, coming with a barometer, altimeter, and compass. It’s perfect for running, climbing, hiking, and many other outdoor activities, but has the discreet style and aesthetic appeal to be well-suited for daily life as well.
As a budget model, the SUNROAD Men’s Smart Digital Compass Waterproof Watch lacks a little in terms of water resistance and the materials used to make this watch aren’t as tough or durable as some of the alternatives, but if you’re looking for a reliable and multifunctional watch to take along on your adventures, it’s a great one to choose, offering more than enough features and settings to provide a lot of user satisfaction.
The SUNROAD Men’s Smart Digital Compass Waterproof Watch also doubles up as a fitness tracker. It has a step counter and can keep track of how many calories you burn, so can save you the cost of having to buy an additional wearable. All in all, despite a couple of flaws and a canvas strap that isn’t the strongest, this watch is a big winner in almost every department.
What makes it special?
Comes with altimeter, thermometer, and barometer
Plenty of bonus features
Clear digital screen
What cons did we find?
Not the best water resistance
Weak canvas strap
Cheaper construction than others
Things to Consider
We’ve seen some of the very best compass watches listed above, with a wide range of options to suit different tastes, budgets, and needs, and you’ll need to think of all of those factors when shopping for your next compass watch and trying to choose the right model. This buying guide will help to provide you with the information you need to make the best choice.
Choosing the compass watch
If you’re planning on buying a compass watch, there are some things you need to think about first. As well as considering how much you want to spend and what style or color of watch you’d like to buy, you also need to think about whether you prefer an analog or digital watch, whether you want it to have any extra features, whether it needs to be water resistant or not, what kind of warranty it comes with, and more. Read on to learn about each one of these features and assess how much they matter to you when buying the best compass watch.
Analog or Digital
Watches are generally divided up into two main categories: analog and digital. Analog watches are the more traditional variants, featuring classic watch hands and no digital technology inside. Digital watches are more modern, with screens on their faces to show you the time, data, compass direction, and other features. Digital watches typically come with more features and functionality, with buttons to let you switch between different menus and settings, able to view all kinds of information whenever you like. However, many people prefer the style and aesthetics of analog watches like the stylish Citizen Men’s Promaster Altichron. There are also watches that blend elements of both analog and digital types, having analog hands but digital features too. The G-Shock Men’s GG-1000-1A5CR is an example of this.
Case dimensions and weight
The case of a watch is the part that holds all of the inner mechanisms and parts. Some people appreciate a chunkier and heavier case, while others prefer when the case is slimmer and more lightweight. A lighter case results in a watch that is less noticeable around the wrist and won’t weigh you down, while a bigger and heavier design will often be more resistant and eye-catching from an aesthetic point of view. Women or those with smaller wrists may prefer a compass watch with a relatively slim and light case like the Casio Women’s Pro Trek PRG-330-4CR.
As well as the case, you also have to consider the strap of your watch. Again, a lot of this comes down to personal preference. Some people enjoy metal straps, as seen on the Invicta 22970, while others prefer a plastic strap, as seen on the LAD WEATHER MASTER LAD002BKGR. There are even some compass watches with canvas straps. Ideally, you want your watch strap to be strong and durable, not liable to break or get worn down over time. You also want a strap that is going to feel comfortable when wrapped around your wrist, as well as being easy to adjust to fit you just right.
Some compass watches simply show the time and are able to point to the north, but others can come with additional features like a barometer, altimeter, or thermometer.
A barometer lets you know the surrounding air pressure to track weather patterns, an altimeter lets you know how high up you are, and a thermometer is used for tracking the temperature of the air around the watch.
The EZON Hiking Outdoor Sports Watch H001 has every single one of these features, making it one of the most versatile and fully-equipped compass watches money can buy, while other watches on our list may only feature one or two, or even none of these features.
Temperature and water resistance
If you’re buying a compass watch, there’s a good chance you’re planning to use it on outdoor adventures like camping trips or forest hikes. Many people who invest in compass watches tend to be outdoor enthusiasts or frequent travelers, hoping to use the watch’s features and functionality to get around on their hikes and expeditions. So, if you’re going to spend a lot of time outdoors, temperature and water resistance may be very important factors to you.
The vast majority of watches can handle a little rain and warm days, but some will break down if submerged or lose functionality in extreme temperatures.
If you’re planning some big adventures, you might want a super tough watch, like the Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRG-270-1, which is water resistant for up to 100m and low temperature resistant too.
Compass watches often represent quite a big investment for the owner, so you want to be sure that your purchase is protected. Some watches will come with quite short warranties, whereas other manufacturers will offer to protect your purchase for many years to come. The longer the warranty, the better the deal, giving you more peace of mind and ensuring that even if your watch ever suffers some kind of failure or fault, you’ll be able to send it off and get it repaired, without having to pay for the privilege.
As well as being able to tell the time and point the way north, the best compass watches can also offer a great range of additional features. The SUNROAD Men’s Smart Digital Compass Waterproof Watch, for example, comes with a nice suite of extra features including a power saving mode to make the battery last longer and a step counter, as well as telling you how many calories you’ve burned throughout the day by walking around. The Timex Men’s T2N721, meanwhile, comes with a night light, and other watches on our list all have their own unique sets of features for the wearer to enjoy. When shopping for a compass watch, be sure to take a look at the full list of features and consider how useful they’d be to you.
Price vs. Quality
Compass watches can vary in price quite a lot, from relatively cheap models up to watches costing several hundred dollars. As with most things in life, the more expensive models will often be better, offering more extra features, better water and temperature resistance, and other unique advantages too. However, you should never assume that a more expensive watch is always going to be better than a cheaper alternative. There are plenty of more affordable watches, including some options on our list like the SUNROAD Men’s Smart Digital Compass Waterproof Watch, which offer plenty of great features and functionality for a fraction of the price of certain other models. Price is an important factor to think about, and it’s vital to find a watch that meets your needs and matches up with your budget as well.
Proper use and care
If you’re buying a compass watch, you’ll need to use it properly and treat it with care if you want to get the most out of it.
When using the compass feature, for example, you’ll need to keep the watch level to avoid the tilt of your wrist or arm affecting its functionality. If you want your watch to last for years and years and always look as good as new, you’ll also need to clean it often, remembering to take it off now and then, especially if it might be at risk of getting dirty. Pay attention to the resistances of your watch and never expose it to too much water or extreme temperatures if it can’t handle it. You should also get your watch serviced by a professional on a regular basis and store it in a box when not in use to prevent any dirt, grime, or dust building up inside or on its surface.
This really depends on the model you choose and the manufacturer in question. Our Editor’s Choice, for example, the G-Shock Men’s GG-1000-1A5CR, has a battery life of two years. Other models will offer even longer battery life, while others will be on the shorter side. Compass watch batteries can, in some cases, last for up to four years, while others will need replacing after a single year. The battery life also depends on how often you make use of the various features of a digital watch, in particular; viewing the menus and changing between the various options will make the battery drain a little more quickly.
Some people prefer analog compass watches like the Invicta 22970 as they appreciate the more classic and traditional form of a compass, but many of the best compass watches are digital. Digital compasses on these watches are just as accurate and reliable as regular compasses. In fact, there are cases in which digital compasses have been proven to be even more accurate than older traditional compasses. This means that you will always be able to rely on your digital compass watch to guide the way while navigating the wilderness or trying to find a certain direction.
Yes, just like with a standard compass, the best way to use a compass watch is to hold it level and in a horizontal, flat position. Any tilting in one direction or another could impact the reading, although many modern, digital compass watches can be moved around a little without any noticeable effect on the compass functionality. If you’re using a digital compass watch, you should always remember to recalibrate it whenever you change the batteries as the magnetism inside the watch can disrupt its functionality over time.
Overall, our top rated best compass watch is the G-Shock Men’s GG-1000-1A5CR. With its wide array of features and super strong design, this tough watch is ready for anything and is easily the best option for outdoor adventurers, campers, hikers, and more.
The next best compass watch is the Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRG-270-1. By far one of the toughest and most multifunctional watches around, this one comes with a thermometer, barometer, and altimeter to go along with its 16 point compass, giving you all the features you need for outdoor fun.
Our third favorite compass watch to recommend to you is the Suunto Core SS014279010. With its tough, military-grade build and endless list of features, this is the ideal watch to have around if you’re heading off to ranger school or for backcountry expeditions.