K&M Matchcases

Match Case Article: Compass Difficulties - Made in the USA?!

Without question the most frustrating single issue to date affecting K&M’s growth and survival has been the repeated loss of a supply of the high quality compasses that are such an integral part of our matchcases.  Having hung on by our fingernails through several “redesign” shutdowns by the Silva company, then switching to Brunton after Silva’s buyout of Brunton and experiencing the deterioration of quality until they were completely unsatisfactory, stumbling onto Suunto’s website and obtaining their excellent compasses, we thought that at last we were home free.  But alas, such was not to be. 

 After several years of enjoying a very satisfactory relationship with Suunto and rebuilding our business from scratch for seemingly the umpteenth time, we were shocked and disappointed to learn in November of 2010 that Suunto was discontinuing manufacture of their excellent button compass.  About that time we came to the conclusion that either we had somehow become trapped in a real life version of the movie, “Groundhog Day” or else were a secret weapon unleashed to put compass companies out of business!  Either option can be very depressing if you dwell on it too much.

In desperation we obtained samples of Chinese made compasses and after comparing several makes/models settled on one that seemed to be of acceptable quality.  Whether it will perform up to our standards or not remains to be seen as we didn’t use them very long before learning of a Japanese made compass that is clearly a very well made and responsive unit.  As of approximately May of 2011 all of our matchcases (except special orders without compasses) are equipped with compasses made by the Sun company of Japan.  Fortunately for us as well as the Japanese people, the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated northern Japan has not affected Sun’s production of compasses.  It is our sincere hope and prayer that the Japanese people will be spared from any more anguish than they’ve already suffered as a result of these natural disasters, not for our sake alone, but for the sake of the monumental task of rebuilding their nation.