Original Sestrel Hand Bearing Compass

divisor line

Henry Browne & Son,

Barking, London

Then Henry Browne SESTREL compass in its case imageThe Original

Presented is an exceptionally high
quality original Sestrel
hand bearing compass that was designed and made by
Browne & Son, Barking, London, England, over may years.  These compasses were considered the

finest hand bearing compass in the world, and were often copied inexpensively by pretenders,
but were never duplicated in quality.

This compass is arguably the
finest of its type ever designed as a hand bearing device. The bowl
is made from cast bronze, and can be polished to a high luster. The
optical glass prism magnifies the image, and  allows the user to
see both the object being sighted and the compass card bearing at the
same time. An iridium chip beneath the card was used to light it
for night use and needs replacement. A penlight flashlight is a good
substitute. The compass is mounted on a solid teak handle with attached
card to make notations. At two pounds, it has the heft and feel
of strength and durability. The compass comes in an expensive teak
wood case with clear panel so  the ship’s heading can be
seen at a glance when mounted in a fore and aft direction.
It is good looking enough to appeal to a collector or in
a room decorated in a nautical decor. Both case and
compass show very little evidence of use considering their age
and service at sea.
The Sestrel compass without adornment image
designed this compass in 1937 when it was first offered for sale for
swinging aircraft compasses. Their factory was located at Wakering Road,
Barking, Essex, and they had an office at 71 Leadenhall Street, London,which
opened in 1947. By that time, their product line included Nautical
Instruments, Compasses, Clocks, Binoculars, Telescopes, Thermometers,
Sounding Apparatus, Aircraft Instruments, Signaling Equipment,
Meteorological Instruments, Barographs, Thermographs, Aneroid
Barometers, Sextants, and Yacht Equipment. During WW II, their “Dead
Beat” compass was fitted to most Royal Navy ships through the the
Around 1975, as part of the industry wide
consolidation taking place in the marine instrument and equipment
business, the assets of Henry Browne were purchased by Lilley &
Gilley who continued this compass under the Sestrel brand for a number of
years. The Sestrel operations were sold more than once. Today, there are
reproductions on the market and out right fakes. But even the best of
the reproductions, like those made by SIRS Navigation Company in the UK,
do not have the fine quality of those made by Henry Browne &
Son and later by Lilley & Gilley. The SIRS
compass sells their version under the Radiant brand in the United States for
over $1333.00 with an inexpensive plastic box case.

The compass card is seen in reverse above because it is intended to
be viewed through the prism which reflects the
image properly. The reddish
compound around the inner bezel is the sealing
4″ x 2″ handle, 10″ length overall
TEAK CASE:   9 1/4″H x 5 1/4″ W x 5
1/4″ D
Compass 2 lbs, In case 3
1/2 lbs
CONDITION: The two inch
compass card is clear
and sharp and the prism magnifies its size to the equivalent of 5 inches.
It works like it should, and everything is in good condition regardless of its
age and years at sea. All the brass work
has its original bluish grey paint scheme except for some very
minor losses. The largest  missing piece is on
the top of the plug by which fluid is added. There are no
bubbles or dents, but the original radium chip needs to be
replaced or a penlight might be used at night. The Teak wood
case is in excellent condition, but shows some minor light
scratches and a couple chips. The white plastic notation card on the handle is in good
condition STAR
RANKING: This instrument shows some very minor signs of
use at sea, but is still in excellent condition and ranks 5 Stars. This is the
perfect item for those who have an interest in navigation, or
want to have the best hand compass ever
The maker's markings on the compass imageThe most paint loss is on the removable fluid plugMaker’s markings
along the
Removable plug for fluid has the
largest paint
The compass shows the bearing even in its case image Prism
shows the bearings even when in the
seller, a retired Master, has used a similar Sestrel while at sea. He believes
that In this day of electronic navigation, they are still handy for
the following purposes which are as valid now as they
were 45 years ago. For those people who grew up with
GPS, that system cannot provide the information a  hand bearing compass
can unless coupled to a Radar. And then you need to know Radar
plotting to solve Closest Point of Approach situations. Here’s how to use this compass:WHILE UNDERWAY: Take bearings of vessels in crossing situations
to determine risk of collision.  Take bearings of sea buoys, land marks or other
objects to determine distance off at time of passing In congested waters, take bearings of a number of
different vessels to determine if their relative position is constant
or changing. Sailors learn to take back bearings to determine
your leewayAT ANCHOR: Always take anchor bearings of own vessel to
make sure you are not dragging. Take
bearings of other vessels to make sure they are not a danger to
do you find an old piece seagoing gear in
such great condition. A great find for any nautical collection or use it at

divisor line
Shipping & Packaging

The cost of shipping, packing, handling, and insurance to your destination, will be calculated point to point and is an additional charge. You may email us to get these costs. We price our shipping honestly, but we expect to be reimbursed for the nominal cost of packaging materials and handling.

Our Unconditional 'No Nonsense' Guarantee

If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned, if without damage, within three days of receipt in its original packaging. Return items must be insured for their full value. Only a prior email authorization by us for the return is required. Shipping charges are refundable if due to our error within the continental United States.

International buyers welcome, but inquire first. We have satisfied customers worldwide.

Standard Forms of Payment

Bank wire transfer, cashier’s check, money order, or personal check in which case the item will be held until cleared. Our prices are quoted net to us so that the use of credit cards or PayPal incur extra charges. Terms on overseas sales are different.

Established in 2003

Celebrating 18 Years of Exellence in Nautical Antiques

Join Our Mailing List

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Land and Sea Collection. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact