An Easy Guide to Bezel Inserts | Watch Guru

An Easy Guide to Bezel Inserts | Watch Guru

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Bezels are the surrounds to the crystal on a watch, and they often prodive additional measuring functionality to the regular timekeeping ability of a watch.

In this article, we’re going to briefly look through a number of different bezel types and what they do.

Countdown Bezel

First up, and most likely the most popular bezel type, is the countdown bezel. This is mostly found on dive watches, as they can be used to time a dive. Importantly, they are uni-directional - meaning they only rotate one way. Why is this important? If you accidentally knock it, you can only ever decrease the time, never increase the time.

If you’re underwater and your timing is increased then it could be fatal as you could run out of air. To use a countdown bezel, you simply rotate it until the 60 or the triangle is in line with the minute hand, and then as time progresses the minute hand will point to what time remains on your countdown.


Another popular option is the tachymeter, mainly found on sports and racing watches. These give you the ability to measure how fast you are going over a minute.

For example, if you were driving along and started counting when the seconds hand hit 12, and took note of where it points to when you complete 1 mile, it will give you how many mph you are travelling. If you did that mile in 1 minute, obv 60mph. 30 secs? 120mph. 15 secs? 240mph. And so on. This watch is now out of stock, please see the same model in a different colourway.

GMT Bezel

The GMT bezel and associated movement is very popular at the moment. This allows you to tell the time in a second and third time zone.

Watches with a GMT function will have a smaller hand, which is the hour indicator for your second time zone, and a rotating bezel, which can be set to the hour of your third time zone. . Interestingly it only rotates around the dial once per day rather than twice, hence why the numbers go up to 24.

Compass Bezel

Next up is the Compass bezel. Whilst you can find north with any watch, it makes it easier with a dedicated compass bezel. Simply point the hour hand to the sun, and the exact middle between the hand and the 12 marker is south. Point the south indicator to this point and you can then determine the remaining poles.

Slide Rule

Finally, the bezel to rule them all: the Slide rule. Some of these are so complicated you need to read a manual the size of a dictionary and have a PHD to be able to use them.

These tend to have multiple conversion scales, such as mile to km, Fahrenheit to Celsius, as well as some math calculations. They vary from watch to watch, but you tend to have to line up the outer scale with the inner scale to get the conversion you want.

There you have it - a quick guide into the most popular bezel inserts. Check out our Youtube channel to see more videos like this!

blog author

Joshua Clare-Flagg

Watch It All About

As an avid consumer of affordable watches with amazing quality, our Watch Guru Joshua Clare-Flagg from the popular watch blog Watch It All About is giving an insight into his thoughts on the watch world.

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