Why Do Watches Have Rotating Bezels?

In full transparency, being an Amazon Associate we may collect a small commission (at no cost to you!) when you click on some of the links in this post and make a purchase. These funds allow us to maintain the site and continue to write great articles for you.

If you have ever wondered why the grooved ring around the glass of your watch (bezel) rotates but have not found your answers yet, then you have landed on just the right page. If you want to learn what exactly is the purpose of rotating the bezel, how to use the rotating bezel, or about the different types of rotating bezels then you are just a read away from your answers. So go through the complete article to learn what is the point of a rotating bezel on a watch.

Quick Navigation

Quick Takeaway
In analog watches, a rotating bezel allows the watch to be used as a compass, stopwatch or timer, and GMT converter depending upon the type of bezel. While on the other hand, by rotating the bezel on a smartwatch the user can zoom in or zoom out of the content on the watch and surf through the menu and features in it.

Why Do Watches Have Rotating Bezels And Their Different Types

why do watch have bezel

Ok, now you know that the bezel allows the wearer to make the most of their watches. Its function is not limited to just triggering that feeling of satisfaction that one gets after hearing that ‘krr-krr’ sound while it rotates. There is much more to it.

But just learning about the purposes that they solve is not enough, if one wants to utilize its rotating power then they must know how to use them. Using the bezel on smartwatches is simple, but in the case of analog watches, there are several types available, if you want to learn how to use a rotating bezel on a watch or why do some watches have a rotating bezel, then read the following section.

1. Why Do Dive Watches Have Rotating Bezels?

The rotating bezel on dive watches is probably the most common type of rotating bezel. It is extremely useful for athletes and common people in general who want to note down how much distance or work they complete in a particular time. Learning how to use it would enable you to learn how to use a rotating diver bezel as well.

The bezel has markings to indicate the seconds usually at an interval of 5 or 10 seconds, with dots in between to compensate for the unmarked seconds.

If you ever want to know how many seconds you finish the 200-meter run or the time you take to swim to the other side of the pool, then you can use the rotating bezel to time your activity.

You do not need to wait for the second hand of the watch to hit 12:00, indicating the 0th second. All you need to do is rotate the bezel as you start your workout to get the second hand aligned with the 0 marking on the bezel. Whenever you stop during that minute, you will be able to record the exact time.

The feature would be also useful when you want to record the time you take while you are engaged in activities that will take multiple minutes to be completed. Just do the same thing with the bezel but this time use the minute’s hand instead of the second hand and there you go.

You will be able to note down exactly how many minutes it took to complete your 3 miles jog.

2. Compass Bezel

For all adventure lovers who love trailing on unknown paths, the compass bezel would be of great use. In case you have ever gone on an expedition in the wild, hills, or unknown and unmarked areas, then you must realize the significance of a compass on such a journey, it becomes an extremely important device and guides you on your journey.

If you have a watch with a compass bezel, then you will not need to carry a compass with you, all you will need to do is utilize the rotating power of your compass bezel, how to do that, let us find out:

In case you are living in the Northern Hemisphere

  •  Place the hour hand of your watch in the direction of the sun.
  • Now, halfway between the hour hand and the 12:00 o’clock mark is the South direction.
  • Now use the rotating Compass bezel and mark the spot as South.

If you are living in Southern Hemisphere

All the steps are the same, it is just that the halfway between the hour hand and the 12:00 o’clock mark has to be marked as North this time.

And there you go, you have your compass ready just rotating the bezel a bit, the need to carry an additional compass on your journey is totally eliminated.

3. GMT Bezel

If you or any of your loved ones are looking to travel abroad and you want to keep a note of the current time in your country as well as the time in the destination country simultaneously, then the Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT) bezel would be of great help.

GMT bezel watches come with 24-hour marking on them so you don’t confuse the local & destination time zone you are tracking while reading the watch.

The general rule of thumb is that you rotate the bezel to the right if the time zone you are in is ahead of the time zone you are tracking. To explain it with an example, if you are in country A which is ahead by 3 hours of country B then you will rotate the GMT bezel 3 hours ahead(right) to the 12 o’clock mark on the dial.

In case, the time zone you are in is a few hours behind then you will rotate the bezel to the left. To explain it with an example, if you are in country A which is behind by 3 hours of country B then you will rotate the GMT bezel 3 hours back(left) to the 12 o’clock marking on the dial.

What Is A Rotating Bezel On A Smartwatch

Purpose of bezel in smartwatch

The small screen of a smartwatch does not justify the number of features it holds as it becomes difficult to navigate all of them with fingers. This is where the rotating bezel on smartwatches like Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic comes to the rescue. The bezel allows the user to navigate and surf through all the features and menu in the watch and at the same time zoom in/out of the contents on the screen.

Purpose Of Rotating Bezel On A Watch: Final Verdict

A bezel enables you to use your watch in several ways, be it as a compass, stopwatch, timer, or navigator. All you need to do is be aware of the purpose of the respective bezel and accordingly just rotate it, simple, isn’t it?


Does The Bezel On A Smartwatch Perform Only One Single Function?

Apart from zooming the content on the smartwatch, the bezel allows the user to surf through the menu as well. This enables a user to effortlessly use the smartwatch as the small screens of the watches often make it inconvenient to use.

Is The Rotating Bezel In A Smartwatch A Complication?

Since the bezel is not a feature being displayed on the watch screen, hence it does not fit to be a complication.

What Is A Diver Bezel?

A diver bezel is similar to the count-down bezel, the scales are marked from 0 to 60, representing minutes in an hour or seconds in a minute. The change in name occurs as the diver community extensively uses this bezel during their training.

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.

Leave a Comment