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WW1 Ed Koehn Military Compass (1915)

WW1 Ed. Koehn Mk V Military Compass (1915)

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A rare WW1 British army officers Mk V pocket compass, dating from 1915. This type of compass was standard issue in the British army at the start of WW1, gradually being replaced by the various models of the Verner’s Pattern Prismatic Service Compass as the war progressed. This example has a very rare aluminium silver and black Singer’s type card design with a prominent 'N’ north marker (most Mk V army compasses were produced with a simpler black and white Singer's design, examples of which can be seen in Kornelia Takacs Compass Chronicles (Schiffer, 2010), p.69-70). The maker’s mark for ‘Ed. Koehn, Geneva, Switzerland’, the ‘V’ for Mark V, the date 1915, and the War Department ‘Broad Arrow’ mark are engraved on the lid. The compass has a nickel plated brass hunter case, floating aluminium compass card, jewelled pivot, and a transit lock operated when the lid is closed.

Ed. Koehn: was a prominent Swiss watchmaker, known to have made high quality clocks and watches, with examples retailed by Tiffany & Co. During WW1 they supplied Mk V and Verner’s Pattern compasses to the British armed forces.


The compass is in good condition and finds North very well. The transit lock is present and working. The glass is in very good condition. The aluminium compass card is in excellent condition. The case is in good condition, with some wear to the original nickel plated finish and a few marks. The nickel plated finish inside the lid is in excellent condition. The small button at the bow (which when depressed should open the case) is missing, but the case still opens easily if a fingernail is pressed under the edge of the lid. The lid closes with a good firm snap and fits very well. The lid hinge is in very good condition.

Dimensions: 45mm diameter (65mm inc. bow & loop), 15mm depth