Most of us take for granted the fact that, when we need to drive to an Airbnb we rented for a weekend, or get to a new restaurant we saw on Instagram, our phones draw an imaginary line directly from start to finish. (And then they tell us when traffic clogs the road, and where cops are hiding with radar guns.) Leave the beaten path behind, and more rudimentary tools become crucial. That’s why compasses are still around — and why your phone likely has a compass app — and it’s why Brunton recently revealed a limited-edition, high-end one called the Standard Transit.
A compass might seem basic next to a smartphone, but Brunton’s instruments are anything but. The Wyoming-based company has been making them since 1894, when the geologist and mining engineer David W. Brunton hired a watch technician to help him make a compass smaller than those that existed at the time. He called it the Transit, and working geologists and forestry workers continue to hold the device in high regard even 125 years later.
As does the US military. American armed forces have contracted Brunton to supply its personnel with its high-grade navigational instruments since 1973. (Though not exclusively; the military also uses the M-1950 lensatic compass, which is made by Cammenga.) Many of them use a model similar to the Transit called the M2 (here’s the closest model you can purchase) when operating in regions where GPS doesn’t function.
The new Standard Transit contains all the functionality of those pro-grade models but also packs a handful of upgrades. The list includes a non-slip silicone base, faster response due to an adjustment in the compass’s magnets and improved water and dust resistance. Oh, and a built-in bottle opener.
Act fast though: this special 125th anniversary release — complete with a custom product serial number, a stamped leather case and a certificate of authenticity — is limited to the first 125 customers.
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