This compass was invented and patented by Johann Ritter von Bézard, an officer (of Polish origin) serving in the Imperial Austrian Army.The system was patented in several countries at about the same time. In the German Empire, it was on November 25, 1902 by the then Captain Johann Ritter von Bézard domiciliated in Neusohl, Hungary (now Banska Bystrica in Slovakia).
The 1902 patent describes a wooden casing. These are extremely rare. The oldest models usually found are made of a bakelite type case called Hartgummi (hard rubber) in the German documentation. Later produced models were made of aluminium. The basic model was called the Armeemodell 1910 II, also known as the Spiegelmodell 1906 (1906 mirror version).
A civil version (card calibrated in 360 degrees) and a military version (6400 MILS) were produced.
This graduation could be ordered in clockwise or anti-clockwise versions. The small model was available with (I S) or without (I) the mirror and only calibrated in 360 degrees.