What is the bezel in a watch?

Vaer Watches Updated by Vaer Watches

The bezel of a watch refers to the outer ring that surrounds the watch dial.

The bezel serves multiple purposes, ranging from practical functionalities to aesthetic enhancements, not only protecting the watch crystal, but also providing a long-list of additional features such as interval timing (dive watches), timezone tracking (GMT watches), and average speed (chronograph watches).

There are several types of watch bezels, each offering unique characteristics and functionalities. Here are some commonly used bezel types:

  1. Fixed Bezel: A fixed bezel is a stationary component that is securely attached to the watch case. It serves primarily as a decorative element, adding style and visual interest to the timepiece. Most field watches, including the Vaer C5 and A5 collections, use simple fixed steel bezels that integrate seamlessly into the rest of the case.
  2. Unidirectional Bezel: A unidirectional bezel can only rotate in one direction, typically counterclockwise. This design is commonly used in diving watches as a safety feature to prevent accidental movement of the bezel in the clockwise direction. By allowing the bezel to rotate only in the counterclockwise direction, it ensures that any unintentional rotation would only reduce the indicated elapsed time, providing a conservative measure of dive time.
  3. Bi-directional Bezel: A bi-directional bezel, on the other hand, can rotate in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions. While it may not offer the same level of precision for tracking elapsed time as a unidirectional bezel, it provides greater flexibility for various timing or measurement needs, such as tracking a second timezone or performing calculations using a slide rule or other features incorporated into the bezel design.
  4. Tachymeter Bezel: A tachymeter bezel is a specialized bezel with a scale used to calculate speed based on time and distance. It enables users to measure average speeds over a known distance, making it useful for activities such as motorsports or other timing-related applications.
  5. GMT Bezel: A GMT or dual time zone bezel is typically a bi-directional bezel designed to track multiple time zones simultaneously. It allows the wearer to easily read and adjust the time in different locations, making it ideal for frequent travelers or individuals who work in global settings.

Some watch bezels may incorporate additional features and enhancements, including: gemstone or diamond accents, slide rule bezels which offer advanced calculations and conversions, and compass bezels that features directional markers or a compass rose.

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