Your Ultimate Guide to the Different Types of Watch Bezel

Have you ever looked at your watch bezel? Nowadays, people tend to wear watches as a fashion statement rather than their original purpose of keeping track of time. People new to watches care more about the watch's aesthetic. Since the watch bezel is one of the main parts of the watch face, which makes up the overall design, it's often forgotten by watch users.

If you're curious and want to learn more about watch bezels, read this article. We'll go through each type of bezel's different functions and provide examples of when it might be helpful.

But first, we'll go through some of the technicalities of a watch bezel.

Expedition North Tide-Tem-Compass 43mm Fabric Band

Brief History of the Watch Bezel

While it's not entirely clear when the first bezels were introduced, it's believed that they date back to the early days of watchmaking. The first bezels were likely made from brass or iron and were simple in design. Today, bezels are available in a wide range of materials, including metals, plastics, and even diamonds.

There are three primary types of watch bezels: fixed, rotating, and sliding.

  • Fixed bezels are the most common type of bezel and are typically found on dress watches. As the name implies, a fixed bezel does not move.
  • Rotating bezels can be rotated in one or both directions. The most common type of rotating bezel is the unidirectional bezel, which can only be rotated in one direction.
  • Sliding bezels are less common than fixed or rotating bezels. As the name implies, a sliding bezel moves back and forth along the watch case. Sliding bezels are typically used on chronograph watches and can measure elapsed time.

What is the bezel of a watch?

A watch bezel is the ring that surrounds the watch's face and holds the crystal in place. Bezels come in different materials, colors, and styles. In addition, they can have additional features on a watch, such as a timer or a compass. There are different types of bezels available on watches today.

What is the purpose of the rotating bezel on a watch?

The rotating bezel on a watch is used to help you track elapsed time. This is especially useful when doing something that requires a specific amount of time to complete, such as cooking or working out. The bezel can also help track multiple timers at once. For example, if you're cooking and need to keep track of two different timers, you can use the bezel to help keep track of both.

What Is A Bezel For On A Diver’s Watch?

A bezel on a diver watch is used to track elapsed time underwater. This is especially useful when you are diving and need to keep track of your dive time. The bezel can also help track multiple timers at once. For example, if you're diving and need to keep track of two different timers, you can use the bezel to help keep track of both.

How do I use a rotating bezel?

To use a rotating bezel, simply rotate it until the zero mark is aligned with the minute hand on your watch. Then, as time passes, you can rotate the bezel to track how much time has elapsed.

Here's a quick video on how to use a rotating bezel:


Now that you have an idea on how watch bezels work, we'll run through the different types of watch bezels to familiarize yourself when buying a new watch this season.

Types of Watch Bezels

Plain Bezel

A plain bezel is a watch bezel with no markings or engravings on it. Plain bezels are the most basic type of watch bezel and are often found on entry-level or budget watches. While plain bezels lack any sort of decoration, they can still be made from a variety of materials, including metal, plastic, or even wood.

Fluted Bezel

With its grooves and ridges, the fluted bezel was originally created to help screw down the bezel onto the crystal and provide additional waterproofness on luxury watches. While this function is no longer needed on modern watches, the fluted bezel has become a popular design element. Fluted bezels can be found on everything from dress watches to dive watches and are often made from precious metals like gold or platinum to give.

GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

The GMT dial has a stopwatch function, allowing you to measure your speed and time on the move. The bezels are designed for those who like adventures. The GMT function displays the time in your home country. You may also set the dial to display the current time zone in any nation you visit with the help of the additional hand on the watch face.

Tachymeter

Another type of bezel is the tachymeter, which is typically seen on racing watches. The tachymeter bezel is used to calculate your speed. For example, you can use it to measure your average speed over a known distance, or you can use it to measure your distance traveled over a known period of time.

For example, if you know you're travelling at 60 miles per hour, you can start the timer when you pass the mile marker, and then stop it when you reach the two-mile marker. The tachymeter will then tell you how long it took you to travel two miles, which you can use to calculate your average speed.

How to use a tachymeter?

  1. Look at the watch bezel and identify the tachymeter scale. This will be a row of numbers on the bezel that are divided into small increments.
  2. Find the starting point on the tachymeter scale. This will be a number that is aligned with the stationary marker on the watch dial.
  3. Start the stopwatch function on your watch.
  4. Begin timing yourself from the starting point.
  5. Once you have completed the desired distance or time, stop the stopwatch function on your watch.
  6. Find the number on the tachymeter scale that is aligned with the second hand on the watch dial. This is your average speed.

Elapsed Time Bezel

The elapsed time bezel is used to keep track of how much time has passed. The bezel can be rotated so that the marker aligns with the current minute hand. As time passes, you can see how many minutes, hours, or days have elapsed.

How to use an elapsed time bezel?

  1. Find the starting point on the elapsed time bezel. This will be a number that is aligned with the minute hand on the watch dial.
  2. Rotate the bezel so that the marker aligns with the minute hand.
  3. As time passes, you can see how many minutes, hours, or days have elapsed.

Compass Bezel

A compass watch bezel is used to help you find your way. The bezel can be rotated so that the marker aligns with the current north marker on the watch dial. As you move, you can see which direction you are heading.

Countdown Timer Bezel

A countdown bezel is used to count down from a specific time. The bezel can be rotated so that the marker aligns with the minute hand on the watch dial. As time passes, you can see how much time is remaining.

Count-Up Bezel

Bezels with count-up numbers are most commonly found on dive watches. These scales go from zero to 60 and indicate minutes in an hour, and they're essential for keeping track of time spent underwater. Count-up Bezel is used to time a dive, and it can only be rotated unidirectionally counterclockwise. The aim of this design is to avoid accidental rotation that could add extra time to the dive.

Pulsometer Bezel

A pulsometer bezel is used to measure a person's heart rate. The bezel can be rotated so that the marker aligns with the current pulse on the watch dial. As you take your pulse, you can see how many beats per minute you have.

Decimal Bezel

A decimal bezel is used to measure elapsed time in the tenths of a second. The bezel can be rotated so that the marker aligns with the current tenth of a second on the watch dial. As time passes, you can see how much time has elapsed.

Slide Rule Bezel

A slide rule bezel on a watch is a rare beast, created by only a few companies and aimed at an advanced audience. It's a handy method to bring your calculator with you anywhere around the globe.

The slide rule bezel is used to perform mathematical operations. The bezel can be rotated so that the marker aligns with the current number on the watch dial. As you rotate the bezel, you can see the result of the mathematical operation.

Now that you know all about watch bezels, it's time to choose the right one for your needs. Consider the type of activities you'll be using it for, as well as the material and style of the bezel. With so many options available, you're sure to find the perfect bezel for your watch.

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