Maybe it’s because of the translation from Spanish, but Pole’s new watch has an unusual model name – hopefully anger isn’t the first emotion it brings to mind! So, what makes the Pole Compass Livid stand out in the crowded “slimline minimalist dress watch” market?
Pole Compass Livid Watch Review
Long-term readers will know that I’ve reviewed a lot of quartz slimline dress watches and that I am generally, at best, ambivalent about them. The trouble is, they don’t do anything for the vast majority of watch enthusiasts but they do have an appeal to “normal people” who just want a good-looking, versatile and reliable watch. Because of that, I tend to end every minimalist watch review with something along the lines of “I wouldn’t buy it myself but if you like it, go ahead.” When Pole first got in touch I thought the same thing and almost suggested they moved on, but their Compass watches have a unique selling point – their single-hand design.
Pole Compass Livid Packaging
The Pole watch comes in some basic, but also quite cool packaging. I presume it is recycled cardboard, and it has the Pole logo carved in the top. Inside is a cardboard holder for the watch and a card hangtag that’s attached with a little rope. Brilliant if you want to reduce single-use plastics – except for the watch then being covered with stickers to protect it and shipped in a plastic bag! If Pole switched to a paper package like the Newmark 6BB it would be an excellent way to set themselves aside from the crowd thanks to their green credentials.
Hang on… A watch that’s also a compass?
You can actually use any watch as a compass. Simply point the hour hand at the sun and the 12 O’Clock marker indicates North. At least it does if you are in the Northern Hemisphere, so best to keep track of which side of the equator you are on! At first, I thought that maybe there was some clever mechanism that detached the hand and allowed it to float freely but the Pole Compass works by this principle. In an odd design choice, only three of the cardinal points are printed on the dial – and the one you most often want to know (North) is not there at all. Nevertheless, credit to Pole for trying something new.
The watch case is very similar to the multitude of Chinese-built “Daniel Wellington clones” on the market. It’s very thin, very comfortable and of a decent circumference which looks bigger than its 40mm case size would suggest thanks to the lack of bezel. At the back is an etching of the “compass” hand – which I quite liked – better than a plain case back for sure.
The crown is tiny, which is fine as you rarely touch it on a quartz watch. The glass is mineral, which is acceptable at the price-point and the movement is a Japanese quartz which will be reliable and – thanks to the single-hand design – will not have a tell-tale tick. It’s really comfortable to wear and fits under a shirt-sleeve easily.
Dial and Hand
The dial and hand are both flat, which helps to keep the watch’s thickness down. The dial is printed with hours, and you have to estimate the time as best you can from the hand’s location between each hour marker. It makes it quite hard to set the watch accurately, and even if you do, you can’t read it accurately. I don’t think that the Pole Compass Livid is aimed at people who want COSC accuracy, though, so won’t mark it down for that!
The dial is a lot better than it looks at first glance. There is a texture that reveals itself at certain angles, the colour is rich in natural light and the markings are perfectly legible except in low light where the lack of lume makes it impossible to read the watch. The hand also has more detail than it looks at first glance. I like the idea of printing the brand name on it rather than the dial.
Strap and Buckle
The strap supplied with the Pole Compass Livid is a nice soft leather that reminded me of the one supplied with the Sternglas Zirkel. It has a great texture, not feeling at all plasticky or cheap.
The strap is relatively thin and unpadded but I liked the natural leather texture and the quick release pins. I am seriously thinking of marking down watches in reviews with straps that do not have quick release pins: they have become almost ubiquitous in the microbrand world and make life so easy! The buckle is a standard tang style like you would expect from a watch at this price.
What I Liked
- For the money, it’s a fun little watch that looks good
- Credit to Pole for trying something different
- I liked how they made the packaging look “green” rather than cheap
What I Didn’t Like
- It’s not great as a watch as it’s quite hard to read the time
- It’s also not great as a compass
- The green packaging is offset by a load of plastic when you open it!
Pole Compass Livid – the WRUK Verdict
I’m ambivalent about the Pole Compass Livid. It has “green” packaging that’s full of plastic. It’s not great as a watch because it is also a compass but it’s not great as a compass because it lacks a North indicator. All that said, it’s inexpensive and looks quite different to the other minimalist dress watches on the market so I expect there are plenty of buyers who will love it – and those who do will get a perfectly serviceable quartz watch that is worth the asking price when compared to high street fashion brands. Comparing it to, say, the Sternglas NAOS at £169 – which has very similar specifications – this watch is definitely competitively priced.
Buy a Pole Compass Watch
Pole sell direct to customers from their website. The list price of this watch is just €115 (with no added VAT in the UK while we are still in the EU) but you can currently get 20% off, which moves it from a nice fashion watch to a real impulse-buy bargain in our book! We don’t get any kind of incentive or affiliate sales commission when you use this link: https://polewatches.com/discount/WWRUK but if you prefer you can go direct to https://polewatches.com/ and add the code WWRUK (note the two Ws) at the checkout.
Pole Compass Watch Giveaway
Don’t even want to spend that much? Why not try your chances in our competition to win the watch reviewed on this very page? Head over to our giveaway page to enter.