Life Hacks for Watches: Hacks You Didn’t Know About

When you get lost, you need to make the most of what you have at your disposal…or on your wrist. Many of us take our wristwatches for granted, but did you know that this small timepiece can do a few tricks for you? To start a fire, indicate the direction, and even produce an emergency blade are all possible with a simple wristwatch!

Indicate a Direction

As an alternative to deconstructing your watch, you can use it as a compass to determine your location. The trick requires an analogue watch or clock and can only be performed during daylight hours for this work. Both hemispheres have slightly distinct processes, yet they both follow similar steps:

The sovereignty of The North

Life Hacks for Watches: Hacks You Didn’t Know About

Rotate the entire watch until the hour hand points toward the sun. To determine which way is south, look at your watch’s hour hand and the number 12 on the dial.

Southern Hemisphere

In order to point the 12 o’clock hand directly toward the sunrise, start by placing the watch flat on your hand and facing upwards. We know North when we see it on our watch, which is located halfway between the hour and minute hands. The compass directions can be determined from this point.

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A Watch Must Be Dismantled in Order to Begin This Step

You can use a watch’s tiny parts in a variety of survival circumstances. You can usually get to the rear of the majority of watches with ease. You can use a sharp knife to peel the backing from the back plate by looking around for a small notch. Take care, as the watch back is really snug.

The remaining parts of the watch can easily be taken out of the housing when the back has been taken off. Also, the watch’s glass front can be gently knocked out of the metal case using a blunt stick or rock wrapped in fabric.

Third, Get a Fire Going

Many timepieces include a convex lens as the glass cover over the watch face, which makes reading the time simpler. Use the lens to direct sunlight toward a blazing ember.

Hold your tinder around six inches from the lens of your camera. Hold the lens perpendicular to the sun and move the lens to focus the sun into a single point of light. It’s easy to start a fire with this concentrated beam of light, so move it to the tinder and keep there for a few seconds before moving on to the next piece of wood or charcoal.

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The Next Step Is to Make a Primitive Sundial

If you’re stranded and your watch runs out of batteries, this is a suitable usage for a sundial made out of a watch. Because the sun casts a variable shadow depending on your latitudinally positioned location while making sundials, they are actually created with great care, despite their crude look.

The gnomon, the arm that extends out from the dial plate and casts the shadow, is fixed at different angles to compensate for the shadow length. True North should be directly above the gnomon in order for it to provide accurate time reading (see the step about using your watch as a compass).

As a general rule, the gnomon should be set to the approximate latitude of your destination before you begin your journey. For example, if you’re camping in Northern California and your latitude is 40o, the gnomon angle for your sundial should be 40o.

To be clear, this is not going to provide you with precise time but may be useful in keeping track of the day when you’re stuck somewhere. When the sun is directly overhead, set the sundial to the 12 o’clock position to begin. It is possible to improve the accuracy of your sundial by using it more often. In order to start keeping track of the time, simply mark the time in 15-minute intervals.

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Using a Reflector, You’re Done!

Life Hacks for Watches: Hacks You Didn’t Know About

Watches with a solid back are excellent reflectors that can draw the attention of people in the distance or passing planes.

It’s likely that your watch back can still be utilized as a reflector, even if it’s matte. Try rubbing the back of the watch with a cotton towel to really shine it up, then point the back of the watch toward the sun and try to reflect the sun. Aim for an area close by to get your reflection technique dialed in before trying to reflect light further.

The reflector can be flashed in their direction to attract the attention of people who are far away when you are ready to signal them. If you’re feeling particularly confident, you can even send a Morse code message!

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