Sangin Navigator Compass (6)

Sangin Navigator Compass Review

The Best Wrist-Mounted Compass on the Market

Sometimes, one line in the specifications sheet is all it takes to get me excited about a product. In the case of the Navigator Compass by Sangin, it was its water resistance of 100m. For years, I had been searching for a small compass to accompany me on my dives. One that could be mounted on my wrist on a watch strap or to my BCD without increasing my drag while in the water. Additionally, I was searching for one device that could accompany me on hikes after the dives while out in remote regions. This compass would ultimately act as an analog backup to my digital compasses on both of my dive computers, one of which is a Garmin, which can be used for many uses on land.

Sangin Navigator Compass (5)

Enter the Sangin Navigator Compass. While most other small compasses that attach to a watch strap are limited to a water resistance of 30 meters and are usually encased in plastic, Sangin does things differently. The Navigator Compass is built to the same exacting standards as their timepieces, primarily for the armed forces. This means that the compass needs to be housed in a tough 316 Stainless Steel case, and its water resistance needs to be that of 100 meters, just in case one’s assignment takes into environments that are ferociously wet – think waterfalls, mudslides, and even possibly helocasting into a covert diving operation.

Sangin Navigator Compass (4)

Sangin Navigator Compass Specs

Lug Width






Water Resistance


In Operation

The compass is available in two sizes, 20 and 22mm, so it can be slipped onto most straps. I wore mine exclusively on a custom rubber NATO strap with the Nodus Sector Deep. While on the wrist, it does add a bit of size to your “watch,” but not in a bad way. It looks very purposeful. This goes a long way towards explaining why many people wear such devices without needing a compass. To date, I only know of one other person not in the armed forces who uses a wrist-mounted compass. He is a land surveyor and often finds himself in the middle of nowhere. Personally, while in unfamiliar rural areas, this compass helped me stay on track while not having to allocate one of the data fields on my Garmin for the compass.

Sangin Navigator Compass (2)

In the water was where this tiny but mighty compass came into its own and was used frequently. Those who have dived in murky lakes know visibility can get quite bad. When you are Leading a large group of students on a dive for them to complete their certifications, you cannot choose your conditions. On many occasions, this compass was used to keep me on track, either when I led a group or trailed them and kept them on track. Though it may be small, the clear and legible white-on-black typeface cemented its place in my dive kit. The compass is also fully lumed, thus securing confidence for usage in any environment. I still rely on my digital compasses for precise navigation in poor visibility. These waters can sometimes have such poor visibility levels that you could have trouble seeing the fingertips of your outstretched arm. In these environments, a precise digital compass with exact single-digit heading readouts is needed to avoid missing your target, such as an underwater landmark, boat, or dock.

Sangin Navigator Compass (1)

Final Thoughts

It is incredibly easy to recommend the Navigator Compass by Sangin. So much so that I find myself refreshing their webpage occasionally in hopes that their 22mm option will be back in stock. It is built incredibly well and performs anywhere the human body can go. It even comes with a second button compass in case your first one gets damaged, though I cannot foresee that ever happening in my civilian hands. Sangin has accomplished something incredibly rare here with this small device. It has made the perfect tool. Full stop. There are no drawbacks. After many hours of use, there is nothing I could suggest for improvement. This simple, compact, and extremely tough compass is simply perfect.

The folks at Sangin should take a bow for their efforts here. They certainly deserve a standing ovation.

Check out the Sangin website here

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