Compass Camera, Self-made One

The Compass camera is avant-garde, extremely sophisticated, and made a name for itself in the photography world with its unique and extraordinary quality. It has only been issued in a limited number of 4,000 units and has been popular with collectors since 1937. About a century ago, Jaeger-LeCoultre left footprints in the photography world. During World War II, Jaeger-LeCoultre produced a unique camera: Compass.

   The adventure unfolded in the UK. The protagonist, Noel Pemberton Billing, is a businessman and pilot who founded an airline in his hometown, a freight company in South Africa, and a casino in Mexico. He is also a poet, writer, and engineer, and has about a hundred inventions, including prototypes of Spitfire fighters. One night in the late 1920s, the distinguished inventor and man bet that he could invent a camera that was superior in quality, had all the functions, and was even small enough to fit in a cigarette case.
   However, he soon realized that to develop and manufacture such a camera, he needed the assistance of a well-equipped watchmaker who fully mastered the miniaturization technology and was ready to take on the challenge. At this time, LeCoultre & Cie, the predecessor of Jaeger-LeCoultre, had made hundreds of movements, including the smallest and thinnest movement in the world at the time, and the classic Atmos air clock. As a result, Pemberton Billing made a special trip to Ru Valley in 1934, and the watch factory was also interested in his invention plan.

   After three years of development and the necessary fine-tuning, the 290-component camera Compass was completed. This camera was formally launched in 1937, and caused a great response due to its avant-garde design and multiple functions. Its functions include: exposure meter, rangefinder, retractable hood, built-in filter, extinction meter, exposure indicator, right-angle viewfinder, and panoramic and stereo viewfinder devices. It is also equipped with a special ultra-light tripod.
   With the outbreak of World War II and roll film issues, the Compass camera was no longer in production and has since become a collector’s favorite.