Instructables

Find north without compass but your watch.

After I saw this I was quite excited by the simplicity of the way to find north. But in fact, it found the 15 minutes to wait bothersome.
So here, by the way Detective Conan used this way too, is 'my' way to find north easily without waiting 15 minutes. In fact you have to have at least a watch to find north THIS way. In the case it is an analogue watch - you are lucky time-saver. But though you know how to read an analogue watch, it will also work with a digital watch because you can somewhat imagine the needles of the analogue one.
 
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Step 2: Point

Point the little needle towards the sun.
Now look onto the angle between the little needle and the 12 o'clock mark.
Take the middle of the angle and imagine a drawn line from the middle of the watch along the middle of the angle. The imagined line will show you South. In the opposite is North.
Before 6 AM and after 6 PM always take the middle of the smaller angle.

Step 3: Final comments.

In the daylight savings you have to reduce one hour.
The angle must be halved because the earth turns around the sun once while the needle of the watch turns twice (AM and PM).
The method is quite capable, though it works only in the northern hemisphere, but the closer you come to equator the more inexact it will be.
MicroKID4 years ago
For this to work, I assume you must have the correct time for the region you're in? :)
Very nice work time is a big factor in survival so theres 15 minutes you saved me from using the stick method. Thanks for this instructable.
zascecs5 years ago
I guess you save money this way; dont have to buy a compass! =)
anibalo5 years ago
This technique DOES also works for southern hemisphere, just have to align the sun with the 12 o'clock mark instead of the hour hand, the north-south line is still the middle angle between the hour hand and the 12 o'clock mark.
ongissim6 years ago
As an added note, this only works in the northern hemisphere.
knarx (author)  ongissim6 years ago
Yes, of course. I forgot to mention it.
leoleoleo knarx5 years ago
It does work in the Southern Hemisphere with a little tweaking. We point the '12' on the watch to the sun, then draw the line half way between that and the hour hand, and the line points to north.
this would work so easily with a 24 hour watch! or would it? i'd have to experiment
bruc33ef6 years ago
If you have a digital watch, just draw a clock face on a piece of paper with the correct time taken from the watch, then proceed as above.
knarx (author)  bruc33ef6 years ago
As I mentioned in the intro.
ongissim6 years ago
I was just watching that DC episode earlier! (but I prefer to call it Case Closed)