True North in the palm of your hands.

In most cases, you'll be able to ask for directions. Beyond that, Google Maps has got you covered. But then there are the scenarios where one chooses to follow the road less travelled, and venture a bit off the grid. There are even scenarios where your phone has died (conveniently for the sake of this post). What is one to do without GPS, compass app, or actual compass?

Here's how you can navigate yourself around with nothing but your analogue watch (those with a digital watch are immediately MIA and dead in this hypothetical):

Northern Hemisphere 

  1. Find an open space where sunlight is accessible. 
  2. Hold your watch horizontally.
  3. Lay/hold it in a manner in which it is flat and completely parallel to the ground.
  4. Point the hour hand in the direction of the sun.
  5. If you find yourself having difficulties doing this, find a narrow object like a post or stick and place it in the ground so it makes a visible shadow. Line the hour hand with the shadow.
  6. Note the middle point of the angle between your hour hand and the twelve o'clock mark. 
  7. Before noon, measure clockwise from your hour hand to the twelve o'clock mark. Afternoons, you'll need to measure counterclockwise from your hour hand to the twelve o'clock mark. 
  8. This middle point between the hour hand and twelve o'clock marks South. The point directly across from it will obviously signify North.
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Southern Hemisphere

  1. Steps 1-4 are identical. The crucial difference is, instead of orientating the hour hand towards the sun, you will need to reverse it and point the twelve o'clock hand instead. 
  2. Again, if you find yourself having difficulties doing this, find a narrow object like a post or stick and place it in the ground so it makes a visible shadow. Line the hour hand with the shadow.
  3. Note the middle point of the angle between the twelve o'clock and  hour hand mark.
  4. This middle point between the hour hand and twelve o'clock marks North. The point directly across from it will obviously signify South.
    Remember, it's reversed!

Important note: during daylight savings (Summer time), substitute the twelve o'clock mark for the one o'clock mark.