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7 Different Types of Watch Bezels and the Functions

7 Different Types of Watch Bezels and the Functions

Watch bezel is a part of a watch that holds the crystal in place and performs a calculation. Find out different watch bezel types here!
Apr 17, 2024

So many to talk about watches and we can’t just leave out the circular thing around the dial – a watch bezel. It’s not only a decorative element to elevate the look but it also goes for the practical function. In fact, ever since the tool watch is introduced, a watch bezel is the one part of the watch that will exist to perform a number of tasks. 

Although its function is common for diving activities, the bezel is not only available for a diving watch. Well, it does hold an important role for divers but the development of bezels has undergone several advancements that make it a good fit for other types of watches, such as dress watches. 

Technically speaking, watch bezels can be divided into two categories, a fixed bezel, and a rotating bezel. As the name mention, a fixed bezel stays in place and often comes with an inscribed scale. Therefore, it is good for measuring speed over a fixed distance. On the other hand, a rotating bezel can be moved clockwise or anti-clockwise and is useful for calculating elapsed time or countdown.

What’s more, the world of the watchmaking industry has presented a variety of watch bezel types that could serve different calculations. It’s high in function yet also attractive in its design. Below are some popular watch bezel types and its function. But, before going to that discussion, let’s talk about what a watch bezel is.

What is a watch bezel?

A watch bezel is the outlined ring around the crystal. At a glimpse, it’s sort of a decorative element of the watch but serves a special practical function for various calculations. For its common function, a bezel is actually the one that holds the mid-case and crystal to stay in place. Therefore, it could be said that a bezel will always be a part of the watch case.

Watch bezel types

Nowadays, you could find a bezel in various types of watches other than dive watches, such as racing or even dress watches. Its function has gone beyond the decorative element and, thus, serves a number of calculations. Below are the most common and popular watch bezel types.

1. Count Up Bezel

The basic function of watch bezels can be spotted in a dive watch. The diver uses a bezel as a crucial tool to measure how long they’ve been underwater and calculate their oxygen level. That way, they can know when the time is up. Count-up is one of the watch bezel types that are common in dive watches. 

It is called a count-up as it measures the time from 0 to 60 minutes and, thus, it only has a 60-minute scale. In this type of bezels, you can spot an arrow at 12 o’clock to indicate when it reaches 60 minutes. This arrow is often luminous so that divers can easily recognize when the time is almost up.

2. Count Down Bezel

Basically, count down bezel is similar types to the previous one. They can also easily be spotted in diving watches. The only difference is that this bezel counts from 60 to 0 instead of counting up. So, it works like a stopwatch in which the diver can keep track of the time remaining. 

Whether you want a count-up or count-down bezel, it’s a matter of preference. Many athletes also use count-down bezels to time their exercise as well.

3. Tachymeter Bezel

Tachymeter is one of the watch bezel types that are common for measuring speed using elapsed time over a known distance. The way to use this watch feature is way simpler than it might seem. It basically calculates speed movement based on time. All you need is just knowing how to read the bezel to indicate speed. 

You also need to know the distance between A and B to measure the speed it needs from the starting point to the destination. Read further here to learn how to use tachymeter.

4. GMT Bezel

As one of the most popular watch bezel types, the GMT bezel serves a range of complicated functions that make a watch is more valuable than ever. It’s not only a bezel for time calculation but it consists of intricate functions to tell time from different time zones. I would say, this watch bezel type is the most useful one on the list.

GMT bezel is also known as world time or dual time bezel – it depends on how many time zones it presents. As the name indicated, it is definitely a must feature in a GMT watch. This bezel functions as an element to show time from more than one time zone at the same time.  The watch will be available with the 24-hour marker to make time-reading becomes easier.

Read also: Travel at Ease with A Multi-time Zone Watch on Your Wrist

5. Slide Rule Bezel

Unusual, complicated, attractive, and indispensable tool for certain professions. Slide rule bezel is one of the watch bezel types that performs at its highest in an impressive watch. It basically serves as a calculating tool on its own. You can use it to measure airspeed, basic multiplications, and divisions, calculate fuel, and convert miles to kilometers. Have you ever imagined this element exists in a watch?

The appearance is indeed complex with a mess of lines and numbers. Yet, its function would be a remarkable tool for a range of calculations. To make it work, you can operate its outer and inner rings as well as the scale to indicate the measurement. As it is complex, you might need some adjustments to get used to it.

6. Compass Bezel

The name itself is already self-explanatory which means a bezel with a compass function on it. Basically, every watch can function as a compass but the one with a compass bezel would simplify the process. 

You can easily spot this bezel with letters on the watch case representing the directions. This watch bezel is usually common among travelers or hikers who need to keep track of their direction. 

7. Pulsometer

The last watch bezel type is the rare one and hard to be found. The pulsometer is mostly used by medical professionals. As to how a bezel is supposed to do some calculations, a pulsometer is used to measure a patient’s heartbeat over a given time. Nowadays, this type of watch bezels is considered archaic already and the medical world already has a better way to measure the heartbeat rate.

Summing up

That’s the discussion about what a watch bezel is and the different types of watch bezels. After all, a watch bezel is one part of wristwatches that adds the value of the watch. It’s not only a decorative element but also a practical part for a range of calculations. Although some calculations can be done using another tool, the watch bezel remains a charming one, especially in the eye of watch lovers.

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See also: Our 8 Favorite Seiko Dive Watches Perfect for Sea Exploration

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