The bezel is quite an important part of both the design and functionality of a watch. In one of the previous posts we already saw the anatomy of a watch.
When the wristwatch was born, the main function of the bezel was to fix the crystal to the case. This had no function other than the protection and aesthetics of the watch. Over the years, the bezel began to be an element not only aesthetic but also functional. Here are the most common bezel types.
Its function is to fix and protect the glass of the box. In these watches, the bezel is fixed and does not add any additional information or functions. However, they provide a unique and creative design.
A rotating bezel can be unidirectional or bidirectional. Depending on the type, nad it offers different functionalities.
Regarding the direction of rotation, as its name suggests, the unidirectional bezel rotates in only one direction. This is the case for bezels with a timer. In contrast, the bidirectional bezel rotates both ways. An example are the bezels that have a nautical rose, for which it is indifferent to turn it one way or another.
They can also be internal or external. The external bezel is the most common for its ease of manipulation. However, the internal bezel is more protected from the external environment. You can see it in more detail in this Citizen Promaster.
The GMT bezels allow the user to display the time in two different time zones at the same time. The way to do this is by engraving a 24-hour time scale on the bezel, which is in addition to the typical 12-hour scale on the dial. This type of bezel is very useful for pilots and for people who do much traveling. In this Ball Roadmaster the combination of colors gives it a unique touch.
With a scale from 0 to 60, it allows you to measure time up to 60 minutes.
These types of bezels are frequently found on diver's watches due to divers' need for accurate time. A curious fact about these bezels is that they only rotate clockwise. This is a safety feature for divers who rely on its bezel to measure how much oxygen they have left. If the watch is knocked and the bezel drifts, it will tell you that you have less time, rather than more.
The tachymeter bezel is almost always found on chronograph watches because its function is to convert distance into speed, and vice versa.
What the tachymeter does is allow you to find the unknown distance or speed, since you already have one of them, and combine it with the elapsed time. This type of watch bezel is a favorite with driving enthusiasts and pilots.
It can be found in more sporty style watch models, but also with a more classic design, like this Ingersoll Regent.
Some watch bezels come with compasses drawn on them. They have North, South, East and West indicators, like this Alpina Alpiner X, and they often have markings between those indicators for more accurate measurement. To use one of these compasses, you have to orient yourself correctly. The best way to do this is by using the sun. First, remember that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Next, find out if the sun is rising or setting. Finally, orient yourself so that the East or West points to the sun. Now you know in which direction to go. This type of bezels are the most used by outdoor adventurers.
This type of watch bezel is the exact opposite of the elapsed time style. To use it, you must match the number you want to count down from on the bezel with the current time. One of the uses for this bezel is the ability to sync with others. This watch bezel is very useful for people who work in aviation or military and even doctors. Unlike diver watches, this type of bezel has 55 to the right of 12.
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These are the main functions of a watch bezel. As you can see, a watch can do a lot more than tell the time and be an accessory.