Know your bezel: A short discourse about an oft-overlooked part of a watch (I)

High complication luxury timepieces with one or more functions come in hot! Quiet strangely, almost everybody chases the classic chronograph without looking any further. Only watch nerds look beyond those three small sub-dials.

It’s a general bias for a timepiece that does a few more things aside time telling. It makes a watch elevate to become an essential part of your life’s survival kit. It could be simply a tachymeter or a timer or a world time bezel; a slide-rule or it might be a compass! Sometimes, there stays more than one together. Either way, they make a simple watch an instrument you can use to make the most out of your time.

What all you can do with this combo? You may lap a race or take a pulse; calculate leftover fuel or the distance you may burn it for; speed of a vehicle and you do that alone with a tachymeter! With the timer bezel, you do even more!

You need to know the timer bezel first for that. There is a ‘0-60Count-Up scale (most common) and a ‘60-0Countdown Bezel, which is pretty much opposite to the count-up scale. You set the time remaining before or during an event with the latter by rotating the bezel so the time remaining is opposite to the minute hand, which indicates how much time you got left for that particular event.

With the first type, it’s about indicating the passing minutes underwater for every hour. It is a critical parameter relating to depths and breathing mixture left. There are one-minute increment markings (usually for the first 15 or 20 minutes) and five-minute increments thereafter. The one-minute increments are for timing decompression stops. Precision is usually quite good during ascent as a dive ends.

Set the zero-marker at the tip of the minute hand to use these. It will display elapsed time thenceforth. No mental calculations involved. Easy as cake!

As for the tachymeter, it’s a logarithmic scale proportional to 1/elapsed time, measuring units per time increment, mostly denoted in mph. But it allows calculating any unit per hour, whether on a production line or the pitches per hour in baseball. Just ignore the stated unit or replace ‘m’ with the first letter of your job. In simple words, you get to count an average rate of any repeating event.

To see how to use it, start the chronograph at a mile (or meters; any unit) marker, stop it at the next. The chrono-hand shall point towards a number – the units/hour – on the scale.

Other scales will follow in the next post. Till then, see some of the watches under discussion and buy them clicking through the links.

  1. https://www.creationwatches.com/products/seiko-quartz-262/seiko-chronograph-perpetual-spc123-spc123p1-spc123p-mens-watch-4748.html
  2. https://www.creationwatches.com/products/invicta-watches-307/invicta-pro-diver-26084-chronograph-quartz-mens-watch-17259.html
  3. https://www.creationwatches.com/products/seiko-prospex-299/seiko-prospex-solar-world-time-chronograph-power-reserve-ssc489-ssc489p1-ssc489p-mens-watch-10811.html
  4. https://www.creationwatches.com/products/seiko-pilots-216/seiko-flightmaster-pilot-slide-rule-chronograph-snd253-snd253p1-snd253p-mens-watch-1253.html
  5. https://www.creationwatches.com/products/seiko-prospex-299/seiko-prospex-ssc705p-ssc705p1-ssc705-chronograph-solar-mens-watch-16674.html
  6. https://cdn.creationwatches.com/products/images/large/INV30477_LRG.jpg
  7. https://www.creationwatches.com/products/invicta-watches-307/invicta-subaqua-30475-chronograph-quartz-500m-womens-watch-17069.html