Top 63 Compass Tattoo Ideas [2021 Inspiration Guide]
For any man, the thought of navigating life be a scary thought. With every step we make there is always the possibly of taking a wrong turn or path. Luckily, a compass whether physical or moral, can guide us safely along our journey.
Back in 3000 BCE, the constellation Draco held the Thuban star. For men of this time period, it acted as a faint guiding light with only one-fifth the brightness of Polaris.
By 27800 CE, the Polaris, which rested some 434 light years away, would claim the title as the North Star, or Pole Star. Yet, you might be surprised to know that at the present moment there is no South Star that can measure up to the Polaris.
For the compass itself, it wouldn’t appear until the Chinese Han Dynasty in 206 BC. When it first surfaced, it was used for everything but navigation, like fortune-telling and geomancy!
However, within time the compass would eventually become what it is today, an important directional guide, and one of the 50+ best tattoo ideas.
Speaking of today, the meaning behind compass rose tattoos is quite straightforward. For the traveler, it is a symbol of adventure or a past voyage. For other men it symbolizes a steady focus on the future and a reminder to stay on the right path.
Regardless of what direction you take, you’ll enjoy these top 70 best compass tattoo designs for men. Perhaps in a sense, I’ll be able to guide you on a journey of inspiration and ideas.
This compass tattoo features a nice balance of black and shadow to represent the ocean and negative space signifying the continents. The artist has cleverly placed the compass inside the ocean to avoid a large swathe of black ink.
This compass tattoo has been applied with a mix of traditional styles. The piece utilizes Japanese Irezumi influences in the cloud and wave work, however the partially hidden compass has been etched with an understanding of traditional American tattoo concepts.The piece, while well-developed may have benefited from a fully viewed compass image.
This compass tattoo is a beautifully executed old school classic. The compass is rendered with consummate skill and enhanced by the perfect contrast between gold and black inks. The red rose, etched with a wide gauge needle, is an added traditional touch that signifies love left behind.
A great example of expert depth and detail. The compass reminds of those navigational tools found in the halls of power (or a modern casino roulette wheel). The artist has done a commendable job of linking the subject’s previous work in with this new piece by smart usage of the map lines and shading.
Another beautifully crisp compass using expert color work to contrast between gold and black. The key to this body art lies in the artist’s ability to implement detail in the black work cross hatches, time signatures, and subtle shading of the compass face.
This compass tattoo is a beautifully rendered, almost 3D piece of artwork featuring expert shading techniques to make it almost pop off the skin. The way the compass draws away from the technically exceptional background is a credit to the artist’s use of black line and gray shading.
Now, this is a truly exceptional piece of body art. The artist’s ability to create depth and detail in the compass and Spanish coins is a demonstration of real talent, while the crisscrossing map lines, marking, and shading that make up the backdrop give it tremendous balance. You could be forgiven for thinking that this is a snapshot from the Captain’s desk of a clipper ship off the coast of Costa Rica.
The detail used in this black and gray chest/arm tattoo to create the various spines of the compass is top notch. The artist has gone all out to make the design as realistic as possible and show off the west of the Canadian coastline with exemplary shading technique. The artist also throws in a nicely etched dove to show off their skills at tattooing realistic animals.
This compass tattoo is a brilliantly drawn example of gray scale tattooing. The images are subtle and well developed, however the cleverly drawn gray ink makes the piece seem like a beautifully drawn sketch. The artwork also applies some good, solid negative space tattooing to help enhance the overall image.
The combination of clock and compass makes this a tidy sleeve tattoo. The artist has effectively created a stone look by utilizing a strong gray ink with a black line cracking technique, while also including other previous works to give the artwork an arthouse abstract vibe.
This compass tattoo is an interesting contrast of black and gray shading the background with a nicely executed overlay compass. By using slightly odd colors, particularly the minty fresh green, the compass becomes an almost new wave style tattoo. Again, the line work of the map’s graph and utilization of geographical text creates a nice degree of background detail you don’t find other kinds of tattoos.
Such a finely detailed compass built into a brilliant massive arm sleeve. The artist uses almost unprecedented levels of detail to create the map and navigational piece and doesn’t miss anything. Not only is the compass itself a masterclass in line and clarity, the artwork even gives a mirror-like sheen to the steel cover and functional white inked map border. Not going to lie, the young girl with the bangle and pistol below the compass is also an interesting image worth investigating.
This skull and compass tattoo looks well done on first glance, however once you focus on the total work it’s noticeably missing clarity in key technical elements. The scale of the image is off and looks to have been hand drawn by the artist on application instead of stencilled. Only the very best artists attempt to do this on a tattoo of this style. The gears making the central compass image are a sloppy – especially given that they’re the type of implement needing absolute accuracy to function properly.
The amount of quality line and shade work in this tattoo is comprehensive. The magnifying glass is a cool feature of the tattoo which allows the artist to create a patch of space different from the others due to the close-up. Another wicked aspect of the tattoo is the detailed folds within the rose – it combines clever black line work with small yet noticeably tight shadow work. This a premier tattoo!
This is a cracking mix of black and gray realism in the featured compass tattoo supported by vivid water color. It’s a unique and engaging piece which doesn’t try to overdo the color gamble but uses the different hues as a simple background for some nice trickery within the use of negative space for the main image.
The standout aspect of this half sleeve is the detail of the coils, knots, and loops of the rope supporting the main compass image. It creates a pattern different to many others found in this style of tattoo well supported by brief flicks of white inked highlights.
It would be almost impossible to find a black and gray tattoo featuring this degree of skill in application across the entire sleeve. The compass tattoo at the wrist is impressive, small yet tremendously detailed and shaded with expert care. The linework, shading, and background map links beautifully to the exquisite rose, before the realism of the galleon blows your doors off. This looks more like a piece of showstopping art you’d find inside a maritime museum than on the skin of a man’s arm.
Another bad ass bit or rope work realism, the artist has created a fine chest piece by utilizing the shape of tattoo and muscle to make an additional rippling effect in the compass and shading.
This is a more successful partially hidden compass tattoo. It deftly creating the right sense of scale and shape by employing the banner, while the directional text and background map making are hugely expressive pieces of the artwork. Using the thin, sharp, black line work to create wood grain on the compass is an excellent highlight.
The coolest part of this exceptionally skilful nautical sleeve are the scores of lines drawn with precision out from near the subject’s elbow. They’re done with painstaking accuracy (spend some time following each line) but also match up well the graph like contours of the map.
A masterful full chest tattoo with the compass featured on the left breast. This artwork is spot on in the use of dark gray shading, but also does enough with the total image to work well with the subject’s previous ink.
The black line detail meshed with thick fuzzy black shadow looks brilliant – sort of like the tattoo expression of a quintessential dark and stormy night. The rest of the compass tattoo and rose is solid, particularly the lighter, more tightly focused magnified portion, but the backing detail and coloring improves the look across the entire piece.
Don’t get me wrong, this nautical sleeve is excellent quality craftsmanship, however the compass tattoo could actually be too well detailed. There’s so many pinpoint facets of the image in black and gray, but the artist may have gotten a more eye-catching effect with a simpler representation.
Another beautiful half sleeve the artist alleviates the weight of the black ink shading and line work with expert use of white ink to highlight a variety of small details, such as the N.S, the nib of the fountain pen, and edge of the scroll’s binding for example.
Apologies, it took a few moments to even spot the compass tattoo amongst all the other awesomeness. This a bad ass sleeve. The life like bronze finish of the diving helmet, expertly etched Octopus suckers, and effortlessly detailed windswept ship sails are just two indicators of this artwork’s expert quality.
This piece combines sketch technique with elements of bio-mechanical to create a sick chest tattoo. Absolutely love the use of colors here, which give the compass itself a solidity and heft while making the ripped flash more abstract in contrast.
This piece could be magical, however the artist doesn’t quite have the skill to pull off its exceptional idea. The colors are cool but all of the shapes are out of scale, with the moon in particular being a poor mix of circle and crescent.
This is bad ass black work. The circular sweep of black line and shadow create a pretty but effective tattoo trumped by wild skeleton ink. It’s a real showstopper where the artist has just gone to town maximizing the different black tattoo techniques of shading and line in creating a custom classic.
Fuzzy black shading works nicely for this nicely drawn compass tattoo. The use of a single red arrow is a nice, minimalist touch of class, and works well further up the arm with the rose in leaves.
The background map for this piece could be improved with better line work, some more contrast in shading, and some added details like rock formations or current directions. The compass is a great piece of ink though, the artist has achieved an excellent steel look in the gray shadow work.
Ooh, now this is unique and totally killer. Sharp, crisp line work and a small amount of negative space effects contrasted beautifully by flawless and vivid water color. This is an incredibly difficult tattoo to achieve greatness, but the result really speaks for itself.
Negative space works well here. The compass is solid, if unspectacular, but the smoky tendril effects created by working with unblemished skin give the tattoo a more exciting and filled out look.
Why do people get a compass tattoo?
Traditionally, compass tattoos were inked by sailors looking for symbols of protection and guidance while on ocean voyages. They also signified a yearning for home while away and provided a means to signify connection to what they had left behind.
What does the compass and clock tattoo mean?
The compass and clock tattoo are used in combination to provide symbols of that time (clock) and direction (compass). They’re a reminder that time in your life is limited so you need to explore in every direction possible until that time runs out.
What does a rose compass tattoo mean?
The rose and compass tattoos symbolize love and a devotion to home. If you’re away from shore and loved ones, the tattoo represents your situation and helps drive your return to home port.
How much would a compass tattoo cost?
Compass tattoos run the gamut, from cheap minimalist designs through expensive, fully realized pieces that cost thousands of dollars.
The most inexpensive compass tattoos can be as cheap as the $50-80 store minimum pricing, however the average cost per hour is usually in the $150-$200 range.
Top line, in demand artists charge anywhere from $350 – $500 per hour of work. They often feature long wait times.
Complex compass artwork in sleeve design or as stand-alone work can run anywhere from $1000-$3000 in total.
Remember that tipping is expected, with 15-20% of the total cost the usual accepted rate. It’s also highly recommended you clarify any pricing issues with your artist and have a clear understanding of the cost prior to commencing your tattoo.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
With cellphones so ubiquitous, your watch choice can be less about telling time and more about personal style. However, a watch is not ‘just’ a watch. For example, the vast majority are made for right-handed people, but a select few cater to the lefties among us. There is a wide range in functionality and size.
The wristwatch is also one of the few socially acceptable accessories for men, so why not have a small selection? If you’re not cashing a CEO’s paycheck just yet, here are the top 28 most handsome watches for men that retail for under $500.
Got a bigger budget? Then check out our guide to the best men’s watches under $1000 instead.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
1. Tommy Hilfiger Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
If you like the feel of a pliable, non-metal band but aren’t comfortable with genuine leather, this watch comes equipped with a handsome synthetic band. At 46mm in diameter, this watch is perfect for men of smaller stature, as it will not overpower your hand or make it look like you’re wearing your father’s watch. With bold Arabic numerals, a stainless steel case, and classic styling, this watch is an outstanding choice for an everyday watch and the man on a budget.
2. Nordgreen Pioneer – Black Dial
Get 15% off using the discount code NEXTL at checkout
Not everyone has an endless amount of cash to drop on a luxury timepiece. If you’re money-conscious but want something high-end, then why not consider the Nordgreen Pioneer.
An inspired take on a classic Chronograph, Nordgreen celebrates the Danish with what they call a timepiece “that captures the sustainable future.” Available in various dial colors from blue, black, and white. There’s even the choice of three case colors – gunmetal, silver, and rose gold. A perfect addition to the collection of any watch enthusiast.
3. Fossil Grant Brown Leather WatchCheck Price
This lovely offering by Fossil features slim Roman numeral hour markers and delicate cut-out hands. The casing is stainless steel and is water-resistant to 165 feet, making it a great dive watch. The band is made of supple, soft calfskin leather and uses a buckle closure.
Of course, this timepiece also comes with the generous 11-year warranty and it’s own fun tin. This watch oozes class and is great for nearly every occasion in your life.
4. Citizen Sport Stainless Steel Men’s Watch With Brown Leather Band
If you don’t want to deal with changing out a battery in a digital watch, this watch is powered by either natural or indoor lighting. The mineral crystal face and stainless steel case make this watch water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for swimmers and snorkelers.
Handsome and utilitarian, this is a great watch for everyday wear. It’s one of the best watches for men who are always on the go.
5. Fossil Men’s Machine Chronograph Silicone Watch
This watch was designed with the active man in mind. The knurled silicone band stands up to sweat and oils without issue, and the timepiece itself is water-resistant to 165 feet.
The patterned bezel and quality craftsmanship of the black dial is excellent, as is to be expected from a Fossil watch. It even comes in the iconic and collectible tin!
6. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Watch
This men’s watch features Japanese quartz movement that charges itself indoors or out when exposed to light, making it a great choice for those who don’t want to change out the battery too often. The stitched canvas strap is soft against your skin and will wick away moisture, while the mineral crystal face stands up to the rigors of your everyday life.
Water-resistant to 330 feet, this dive watch is a classic and simple design you’ll be proud of for years to come.
7. Invicta Pro Diver Chronograph Men’s Watch
Another gorgeous offering by Invicta, this watch features a bold design with a slightly nautical feel to it. It will look at home whether you’re wearing a business suit or are going for a dive of less than 660 feet. This piece is also covered by a one-year warranty as a matter of course. The luminosity feature and magnified date window make it a great choice if you work or play in low light.
If you want something that looks like a Tag Heuer but without the luxury watch brand price tag, this is a good option!
8. Casio Edifice Multi-Function Men’s Watch
This watch has three sub-dials for 12 hour, 60 minute and 60-second displays, in addition to the standard time. It also features a fold-over, push-down clasp on the stainless strap, keeping it secure throughout your activities. If you’re looking for a classy timepiece that shrieks sophistication, this is a great choice.
9. Fossil Machine Three Hand Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This quality watch is a chameleon piece. It looks at home as a dress watch riding below the cuff of your best suit, and it also looks great paired with jeans and a t-shirt. Backed by Fossil’s 11-year warranty as a matter of course and beautifully crafted, this smoke-colored piece is guaranteed to become the go-to accessory for nearly every occasion.
10. MVMT Watches Black Face Men’s Watch
If you like the look of a simple watch, this minimalist offering from MVMT is right up your alley. With just a plain black face, tick marks to denote the hours and a single date window, there is nothing overdone or extravagant about this design. The is understated and suited to the simple design. It’s definitely a classy, low-key piece for the budget-conscious.
11. Timex Weekender Watch
If you’re looking for a fun watch to pair with casual outfits, this is a great option. The band is blue and yellow woven nylon, and the face features both civilian and military timekeeping. An Indiglo night light is also included. This watch is water-resistant to 99 feet, meaning it can withstand splashes of water or exposure to rain but you won’t want to submerge it.
12. PUMA Ultrasize Black Sport Men’s Watch
Boasting a 50mm diameter, this piece is perfect for the large-framed man or one who likes to wear his accessories oversized. A true fashion statement, this sports watch comes in eight different colors schemes to match your favorite hues.
Do be aware, however, that the dial knob is configure for left-handed men!
13. Timex Easy Reader Men’s Watch
Another dress watch designed with the older gentleman in mind, this watch features a white dial with generously sized numerals that do not appear comical to the casual observer.
It’s also an excellent choice if you take your contacts out at night and still want to be able to check the time. With classic lines and a simple white face, the watch would not be out of place at any casual gathering. It comes with Timex’s one-year warranty at no additional charge.
14. Fossil Nate Men’s Chronograph Watch
For men who like a more gritty, industrial feel to their accessories, this Fossil watch is right on point. The bezel is gear-edged and the face is utilitarian black and gray. Water-resistant to 165 feet, this watch is a great choice if you like your adornments to be understated yet add visual interest.
It’s definitely a stand-out piece, for those who would take notice!
15. Timex Expedition Field Chronograph Men’s Watch
Featuring an indigo night light, tachymeter, a date window and a buckle closure, this watch is perfect for men who like to work or play outdoors. It is also water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for snorkeling or swimming.
You won’t want to wear it for diving, however. With classic, black styling and a genuine crystal face, this is a timepiece that will stand the test of time in both form and function.
16. Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This Seiko automatic watch has all the bells and whistles you need, but presents it all in a plain and strikingly attractive manner. It features a date window in either English or Spanish, sword-shaped hands, a sweeping second hand and a mineral dial window. This is a great option for the man on the go. The canvas strap can be removed and hand-washed if sweat or other odors become an issue.
This watch is not water-resistant, so you’ll only want to wear it when you won’t be popping by the pool for a swim!
17. Invicta Pro Diver Collection Silver-Tone Men’s Watch
For those who prefer an all-metal timepiece, the stainless steel Invicta fits the bill nicely. It has a similar aesthetic to a Tag Heuer watch, but at a more affordable price. Equipped with a unilateral bezel and removable links, the band can be customized to fit your wrist perfectly. The face is flame fusion crystal and features a magnifier to highlight the date window.
It’s also water-resistant to 660 feet. If you’re looking for a gorgeous watch that stands up to an active lifestyle, this is an excellent choice.
18. Seiko Men’s Adventure-Solar Classic Casual Watch
This Seiko watch derives its power from either natural or indoor light and can withstand water depths of up to 330 feet. The supple brown leather strap and timeless brushed steel give this piece an attractive look, and the alarm chronograph is easy to set.
If you’re looking for a watch that can serve as a backup for your wake-up call while traveling, stand up to the elements and look awesome, this casual wrist watch is a winner.
19. Nautica Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Resin Band
Featuring a plethora of options and a smart, snappy style, this a great casual watch with a eye-catching blue dial. The hardy resin band is adjustable, and the face is protected by a mineral window. Whether for work or play, this bold blue design is handsome and substantial on the wrist. It comes with Nautica’s five-year warranty at no additional charge.
20. Citizen Sport Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Black Leather Band
The black, red and white face of this piece eschews the traditional two-tone color scheme so often employed in other watches, and the contrasting stitching on the band adds creative flair. It comes backed by Citizen’s five-year warranty and will compliment any casual outfit.
21. Alessi Tic15 Analog Display Analog Quartz Black Men’s Watch
Another not-quite-round offering on our list, the curved square casing of this piece gives it instant visual appeal. Sleek and clean, this unfussy design will be a compliment to almost any occasion. It has quartz movement and is water-resistant to 99 feet, making it a great choice for everyday wear.
22. Invicta 1517 I Force Collection Watch
Another on our list designed for left-handed men, this watch is something special. Water-resistant to 330 feet and featuring oversize stenciled numbers and a sub dial, this watch is great for any casual outfit. The cloth band is extremely durable and stands up to dirt, sweat and grime.
If you lead an active lifestyle, this watch will be right at home in your collection.
23. TRIWA Blue Steel Nevil Canvas Watch
This watch comes in a whopping 14 color variations, all of them beautiful. You may decide to add more than one to your collection!
Designed in Sweden, this watch features Japanese quartz movement, a stainless steel casing and a strap made from Tärnsjö organic leather. TRIWA, which stands for Transforming the Industry of Watches, believes in the artistry of fine jewelry and it shows in their product.
24. Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Watch
Another fine dress watch from the makers of the Swiss Army knife, this watch is emblazoned with the internally recognized cross and shield emblem. It has no sub-dials, tachymeter or other add-ons to detract from its simple and appealing style.
This watch will be at home with all but the most formal of outfits and carries a two-year warranty.
25. Ingersoll Automatic Stainless Steel Bull Run Watch
Again, Ingersoll remakes the classics and brings them into the present day. With a highly polished stainless steel casing, two sub-dials, a date aperture and arrow-shaped hands, this quartz watch is beautiful.
The band features contrasting stitching on the fine-grain leather, adding depth and detail to the workmanship. This watch will compliment any casual occasion and can be relied upon for years to come.
26. Tissot Quickster Chronograph Black Leather Men’s Watch
Made with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and Swiss automatic movement, this watch is a smart and utilitarian choice. If you’re looking for a solid Swiss watch that isn’t flashy, this is an excellent option. It’s also guaranteed for two years.
27. Seiko Sport Solar Men’s Beige Watch
Are you getting tired of squinting down at your watch or holding it closer and closer to your face? Don’t worry, we all get a bit nearsighted with age, especially over the age of 40.
If you’re not quite ready for reading glasses or a comically huge watch, this is a great choice from Seiko. The numerals, indices and luminous hands stand out in stark white against a black background, and the numerals are generous in size. It’s a perfect casual watch for the older gentleman.
28. Seiko Men’s 5 Watch Blue Canvas Band
This simple and affordable watch has a clean, crisp aesthetic to it and doesn’t bog down its design with a ton of bells and whistles. It’s time and date, end of.
If you want a watch for casual wear, this Seiko is a shoo-in. The band is forgiving and comfortable against your wrist, and it’s blue color will likely compliment your existing wardrobe. The price is also extremely affordable.
29. Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Stainless Steel Watch With Brown Leather Band
Featuring the Hilfiger logo at the three o’clock position, this wrist watch is a statement piece. It is a bright, shiny stainless steel work of art that you’ll be proud to wear at all but the most stuffy of workplaces. The calfskin leather band uses a buckle closure and the date window is beside the logo at three o’clock.
If you’re a fan of Tommy clothing, cologne or luggage, you can complete your look with this stunning accessory.