A diving bezel is one of the signature characteristics of a dive watch. Its original purpose was to track a diver’s elapsed time under water and to help manage their air supply while at depth. Beginning in the 1950’s, this style of bezel began to be featured on dive watches and soon became an essential tool for sport divers around the world for decades to follow. Even with the widespread use of dive computers in the current day, divers continue to utilize dive watches as a supplemental back up in the case of emergencies.
At first glance, the function of a diving bezel may seem confusing. However, once you have the opportunity to learn and understand the basics of its functionality, it becomes quite simple to use. The following are the basic steps for adjusting a diving bezel for use:
- Prior to a diver’s descent, the 12 o’clock bezel marker is aligned with the minute hand.
- As time elapses, you should be able to tell from the position of the minute hand in relation to the numbers on the bezel how much time has gone by.
- When the total “bottom time” has been reached for the dive, the diver returns to the surface (assuming no decompression is needed).
- External bezels are what most people think of when a bezel in mentioned. They are an externally mounted ring that is mounted around the outside of the crystal of a watch. Most external bezels operate in a unidirectional manner for safety purposes and have a timing scale (count-down or count-up) marked around their circumference for timing purposes. Around the outside of the bezel, there are grips to make it easy for divers to set the dive time, even while wearing dive gloves.
- Internal diving bezels are less common and a more recent innovation than their external counterparts. This style of bezels is mounted underneath the watch’s crystal and surround the watch dial in a manner similar to an external bezel. To make an adjustment, a second crown has been added to the watch that will typically rotate it in a bidirectional manner to set the dive time. Once this is completed, many watch models include a locking crown to ensure that the time cannot be inadvertently adjusted.
Interested in collecting watches? Join Watch Gang today and you’ll get a brand new watch every month! Every watch is guaranteed to be worth up to 5x what you paid for your membership dues so you always get a great deal. PLUS, every member is entered for the chance to win a Rolex and TAG every week!