Why do dive watches have rotating bezels

Last Updated on June 30, 2022 by Luis Cooper

You would not be able to answer the following question, but you know what a dive watch is.

Why do dive watches have rotating bezels?

Its rounded glass face, large, easy-to-read dial, and thick wristband make it the ultimate selection for anyone looking for a watch that can handle anything.

The bezel is a circular ring around the outside of a watch that rotates to help you tell the time.

It has a fixed number of divisions on edge, typically specified in position.

The numbers can be set to a 12-hour or 24-hour time format.

What is the point of a subdivide bezel on a dive watch?

I know that the rotating bezel seems pointless, but what’s its end?

Ever tried to read the time underwater?

One of the many innovative features of these diving watches, rotating bezels, allow divers to read the time underwater by rotating the bezel.

The clock and bezel turn, so it’s always easy to read the time, even if it’s blurry from the water.

One of the most entertaining parts of dive watches is the bezel with a circular scale.

It’sIt’s one of the only watches where you can read the time in any direction.

In this article, we will discuss why dive watches have rotating bezels?

How Do Dive Watch Bezels Operate?

It was decades before the development of the digital dive computers that you might be familiar with today, with their capacity to measure everything from depth to the necessary decompression stops, when Blancpain first introduced the revolving bezel on dive watches in the early 1950s.

But in the early days of scuba diving, a dependable and highly water-resistant dive watch was a primary but trustworthy method to track how long a diver had been underwater.

Even in the current era, a well-built and dependable mechanical clock is the ideal backup to the electronic magic of diving computers since it has no batteries to run out of power and a massively durable waterproof case.

The wearer twists the bezel just before the initial drop so the minute hand and the midnight indicator, typically noticeable in some way, such as by using a luminous pip, are lined up.

After that, while the needle continues to circle the dial during the dive, all that is left to do is read off where it is about the bezel.

Therefore, if the minute hand is pointed to the bezel 20-marking, the wearer has been submerged for 20 minutes.

While straightforward in design and execution, a rotating time bezel spares the diver from having to do any math in their head, which is undoubtedly a good thing, given that there is a lot to think about during a dive.

Divers cannot compute the amount of air remaining in their tanks, despite a common myth regarding revolving clock bezels on dive watches.

The amount of air a diver needs depends on a variety of things, including their level of physical fitness, how hard they work when submerged, and even how they breathe.

However, knowing how much time has passed enables divers to determine the number of other crucial factors, such as whether or not a decompression break is required.

Dive watch bezels are employed to monitor elapsed time.

To determine whether a safety stop is necessary on the way up, you may need to keep a note of how much time you spend at the most profound depth during some underwater explorations.

You would calculate, for instance, that you could stay at a specific depth for a maximum of 35 minutes before you needed to rise again using dive tables.

Once you hit your maximum depth, you would light the timer bezel with the minute hand to track your total bottom time.

Why do dive watches have rotating bezels?

Divers can gauge how much time they have spent underwater by using the spinning bezels of dive watches.

Using this computation, they can monitor how much oxygen they have remaining for their dive.

Keeping track of the diver’s duration is crucial to conducting a safe dive.

Scuba divers will be familiar with the bottom time.

Bottom time, for those who aren’t divers reading this, is simply the amount of time between the beginning of your descent and the beginning of your rise.

The rotating bezel on a diver’s diving watch can be used to determine how long they will remain underwater.

Because scuba divers frequently descend to intense levels, divers must constantly monitor their bottom time.

Therefore, they risk suffering major injuries if their timing is not accurate.

Dive Watch Bezel Types:

Whether scaled or not, the rotating dive watch bezel is primarily divided into 60 minutes or 12 hours and features a luminous zero marker, which is frequently a tiny circle or triangle.

Bidirectional vs. Unidirectional Rotating Bezel:

The unidirectional bezel spins counterclockwise, making keeping track of bottom time safer.

Inadvertently moving the bezel underwater wouldn’t prolong the dive time; it would only make it shorter.

External vs. Internal Bezel:

The two different dive watch bezel types are the more common external bezel and an inside variant that was later introduced.

The internal bezel is fitted beneath the watch glass and is controlled by a separate crown, whereas the external bezel is set on top of a watch (on a super compressor, for example).

Even if the internal version is secured against the unforeseen motion, it is more difficult to turn than an external bezel with an indented grip, whether wearing diving gloves or not.

What If You Don’t Dive?

Realistically it’s been a while since someone purchased a pricey dive watch—say, a Rolex Submariner or an Omega Seamaster Diver 300M—to use for scuba diving.

Although these timepieces were formerly thought of as specifically designed underwater gadgets, they have evolved into luxury icons and glamorous status symbols in the modern period.

Even though modern diving watches are more competent than ever in carrying out their tasks underwater, most of them are only used in swimming pools with deep ends.

Dive watches elegant, deliberate style combined with sturdy construction and high water resistance may be the critical factor in their continued popularity as a watch type.

Although these features are essential for use underwater, they also make these watches the ideal timepieces for daily use.

Many dive watches, especially those at the higher end of the luxury spectrum, can be worn formally and casually without issues.

A rotating time bezel is also helpful in many other circumstances outside your upcoming underwater expedition.

A dive bezel may be used to time anything that calls for timing, such as making sure your food doesn’t burn or keeping track of when your washing will be ready.

Of course, suppose you decide to go scuba diving.

In that case, the years of tradition and ongoing innovation in modern dive watches make them the ideal backup for dive computers and a priceless additional safety measure.

The elapsed time function on digital dive watches is often accomplished using a conventional stopwatch feature.

Digital dive watches may also have depth gauge and logging capabilities, but these features are not typically seen as a replacement for a specialist dive computer.

Overall, dive computers have mostly supplanted mechanical dive watches as an essential element of scuba diver equipment since they provide a stable backup time system independent of a battery’s finite lifespan.

How to use a rotating bezel on a dive watch

There are two ways to measure time on a dive watch with a revolving bezel:

  • Count Up approach (straightforward)
  • Countdown technique (need to do some math)

Count Down method:

Although the Count Down approach is more challenging, it is the most secure and time-honored way to use a revolving bezel to track dive time. With this approach, you:

  1. Determine the time you will measure first.
  2. Then you will deduct that time from the allotted 60 minutes.
  3. There is still a time limit, say 20 minutes. The minute hand of your dive watch must be in line with that time.

But suppose you don’t use your dive watch when you dive.

The watch’s rotating bezel can thus be used as a convenient timer.

To time events like dinner or even an exercise.

Count Up method:

The simplest way to measure time with a revolving bezel is to utilize the Count Up technique.

Line up the minute hand and the noon bezel mark.

After then, you can observe how much time has passed.


Dive watches often have rotating bezels because they use divers specifically for their scuba dives.

Diver watches frequently include grooved rotating bezels that are simpler to turn and hold.

A dive watch is a timepiece designed to withstand intense water pressure.

They have significant levels of water resistance as a result.

If you have any questions, please ask in the comments below.

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Hi, I'm Luis, the guy behind this site. I love wearing watches, especially ones that look great on small wrists (mine are about 6.3" around). The Watches Geek is dedicated to helping you learn about and buy watches that you will love wearing. I want this website to be the last destination for people to pick the best watches to fit their needs. You can find our unbiased reviews here on Thewatchesgeek.

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