Different Types of Watch Bezels

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Were you looking for a perfect watch for yourself and came across watches with a variety of bezels? And now you are confused about which one to choose and also curious to know how many types of watch bezels are exactly there? Do not worry, you are at the right place! In this article, I will tell you about the different types of watch bezels, why they are used and how they are used. So keep reading!

Watch bezels were originally used to protect the watch glass but later watch manufacturers realized that they can be used for additional functionalities as well. Since there is very limited space in a watch and manufacturers wanted to add more functionalities to it, so they figured out that the watch bezel could be a very good place to add them. As a result, you can see different types of watch bezels in the market nowadays.

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Different Types of Watch Bezels

All the watch bezels can be categorized into 2 major categories:

  1. Functional watch bezels
  2. Non-Functional watch bezels

Now let us look at these categories in detail.

Functional Watch Bezels

Functional watch bezels are the ones that are used to represent a particular function. It consists of the majority and as well as the variety of watch bezels that you see in the market today.

I will let you know about these in detail one by one.

1) Dive Bezel

Dive Bezel

This is the most common type of watch bezel that rotates unidirectionally or bidirectionally. And it is believed that the first functional bezel was a dive bezel. As the name suggests, it is a divers watch that helps them to measure the elapsed time under the sea so that they can keep track of how much oxygen is left. The bezel has big numbers that represent the elapsed minutes, it starts from 0 and goes up to 60 minutes.

Using a dive bezel is pretty easy, you just need to set the starting marker, which is generally an arrow, to the minute’s hand when you are about to jump. And the remaining time can be calculated by subtracting the elapsed time from 60.

2) Count Down Bezel

Countdown Bezel

Count down bezel is similar to the dive bezel but rather than showing the elapsed time it shows you the remaining time. Like a dive bezel, it also has numbers on it but instead of starting from 0 they start from 60 and end with a 0.

It can be used exactly the same as the dive bezel. Whenever you need to start, place the starting point of the bezel at the position of the minute hand and you are good to go. Other than divers it can be used by other sportspeople to time their workouts.

3) Tachymeter Bezel

Tachymeter Bezel

Tachymeter bezel is another most common type of bezel found on watches today. It is used to measure the approximate speed of any object over a known distance. Therefore, tachymeter watches are mainly used by people who are into car and motorcycle racing. It has numbers written on the bezel which start from around 400 and end at 60 (this is considered to be the starting point) which represent the average speed of the object.

To use it, you simply have to set the second hand at the starting position of the tachymeter when the object starts moving. And once the object crosses the 1km or 1mile mark, the number at which the second hand is pointing will be the average speed of the object.

4) GMT Bezel

GMT Bezel

GMT bezel is used to show the time in another time zone and is preferred by the people who travel a lot. Watches with GMT bezel can show you local time as well as the time in a different time zone. It contains the numbers that represent time in 24-hour format in another time zone and to read this the timepiece comes with a fourth hand known as GMT hand.

To use it, you need to first find out the time difference in hours between the two time zones, and then you need to adjust the bezel accordingly to the left or right. If the second time zone is ahead then you need to turn the bezel to the left and if it is behind then you need to turn the bezel to the right. For example, if the second time zone is 5 hours ahead of your local time zone then you need to rotate the bezel 5 points to the left from the starting position. Similarly, if it is 5 hours behind then you need to rotate the bezel 5 points to the right from the starting point.

5) Telemeter Bezel

Telemeter bezel is one of the least common bezels and is used to measure the distance between two objects/events that are visible and audible (one of the two objects is the person wearing the watch). It is generally used to measure the distance of the lightning and thunder from oneself. The bezel has numbers written on it that represent the distance in km.

To use the telemeter, you first need to set it at the starting position and whenever you see the lightning you have to start it and stop it once you hear the sound. The number at which the telemeter hand is pointing will be the distance between you and the lightning/thunder in km.

6) Compass Bezel

Compass bezel is used to know the direction and if you are someone that likes to do trekking or hiking then this watch bezel will be very useful to you. It contains the directions North, South, East, and West and because of this, it is very easily identifiable.

To use it you need to know your hemisphere first i.e. Northern Hemisphere or Southern Hemisphere. Suppose you are in the Northern hemisphere then you need to point the hour hand in the direction of the sun. Then the midpoint of the hour hand position and 12 o’clock position will be the South direction. Therefore you can point the S on the bezel to that position and continue your journey accordingly. Similarly, if you are in the Southern hemisphere then you have to repeat the same procedure and this time the midpoint will be the North direction.

7) Decimal Bezel

The decimal bezel consists of a scale that is divided into 100 parts and is particularly used by scientists while conducting experiments. It helps them in calculating time in decimal form. This bezel is also called the Decimeter bezel.

It is very easy to use and is used with the chronograph. You need to start chronograph normally and when you stop the chronograph the number at which its pointer is pointing is your required time.

8) Yacht Timer Bezel

Different Types Of Watch Bezel - Yacht Bezel

Yacht timer bezel is found on watches used for yacht racing. It has 0 to 10 numbering on two-third of the bezel in the anti-clockwise direction which represents 1 to 10 mins. These kinds of watches are named regatta timers after the regatta races. Since starting the race in the water is pretty difficult as compared to the land, so such watches are used to know the actual remaining time for the race to start.

9) Pulsometer Bezel

A Pulsometer bezel is used to determine the heart rate of a patient. It has a scale that starts from 200 and goes down to 40. This bezel is very easy to use too. The pulsometer is calibrated to either 15 or 30 heartbeats. To measure the heartbeat you need to start the pulsometer and start counting the heartbeats to 15 or 30 depending on the calibration. Once you are done stop the pulsometer and the number that the seconds hand is representing on the scale will be the heartbeat of the patient.

This kind of bezel is a rarity in the modern world where we have smartwatches to track heart rate. However many doctors and nurses still prefer to use a watch that has a pulsometer bezel.

10) Slide Rule Bezel

Slide Rule Bezel - One of the different kinds of watch Bezels

This is the most complicated bezel that is ever made and is used to do mathematical calculations. There is more than one scale in the watch and some of them are on the outer bezel and some of them are on the inner dial. The timepiece has so many scales and complications that you can easily identify one by just looking at it.

There are so many things that you can do with a slide rule like converting the weight in pounds to kg and vice-versa, converting miles into Kms and vice versa, calculating the tip to give for your lunch or dinner, and so on.

We probably will not value this marvel as much these days because we have smartphones and the solution to any calculation is just a few taps away. But having this watch could be a great way to impress your friends when you go out with them and calculate things with your watch.

Non-Functional Watch Bezels

Non-functional watch bezels are the ones that are only used to add an aesthetic appeal to the watches and do not really do anything else. They can be just plain bezels, bezels with some artistic design like fluted bezel, or can be bezels studded with diamonds and jewels.

Non Functional Diamond Studded Watch Bezel

Should You Buy A Watch With A Bezel?

Yes, you should buy a watch with a bezel. They not only protect the watch glass and add an aesthetic appeal to the watch but also provide you the added functionality. But what kind of bezel you should buy depends totally on your needs. If you are someone that likes diving then you can go for a watch with a dive bezel. If you like to travel a lot then buying a watch with a GMT bezel makes more sense and so on. And if you like to purchase a bezel just for aesthetic appeal then you can choose any that pleases your eyes the most.

Now that you know what bezel is used for what specific purpose, I think you are most likely to make an informed decision.


What Is Bezel Type In Watch?

There are mainly two types of bezels. One is the functional bezel that adds additional functionality to the watch. And another is the non-functional bezel that adds just the aesthetic appeal and nothing else to the watch.

What Is A Countdown Bezel?

A countdown bezel is a bezel that helps in measuring the remaining time of a certain activity.

What Is A GMT Bezel?

GMT bezel is the bezel that shows the time in some another time zone at the same time.

What Is The Bezel Used For?

The bezel can be used for measuring the elapsed time or the remaining time, calculating the speed or distance, measuring the pulse, showing the time in another time zone, and so on depending on the type of bezel your watch has.

Tom Nielson

Tom's love for watches started when his grandfather gifted him his Rolex watch when he turned 18! Being a teenager it was a big deal for him. Later when he got his first job he bought Fossil Palm Pilot back in 2003 which was a smartwatch. Since then smartwatches have come a long way and so is Tom's love for them. His experience with watches inspired him to start Wearholic and share his knowledge of wearables including watches, smartwatches, smart glasses, & smart clothing.

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