How to Use Divers Watch Bezel?

A divers watch bezel serves as an essential piece of equipment for any serious diver, providing an efficient method of tracking time underwater. As diving often involves strict adherence to time limits, mastering the use of a divers watch bezel is of paramount importance for safety and precision.

A divers watch bezel is a unique component specifically designed to help divers keep track of their elapsed diving time. This rotating ring, marked with 60-minute graduations, enables divers to set their dive start time and then monitor how long they have been under the water. Using a divers watch bezel properly can significantly contribute to a safe and enjoyable diving experience.

This article offers an in-depth exploration of the divers watch bezel, from its history and function to the step-by-step guide on its usage. Dive in to gain a thorough understanding of this invaluable tool and how it can enhance your diving adventures.

What Is a Divers Watch Bezel?

A divers watch bezel is an external component found in professional diving watches. The bezel, marked from 0 to 60 minutes, rotates around the face of the watch and is used for timing various activities, but most commonly, diving.

The bezel’s main function is to provide a way for divers to monitor their time underwater, helping to prevent decompression sickness, which can occur if a diver spends too long at certain depths. Given its purpose and importance, understanding and using a divers watch bezel correctly can be a life-saving skill for any diver.

History of the Divers Watch Bezel

The first commercial divers watch was introduced by Rolex in 1953, named the Rolex Submariner. The watch had a rotatable bezel, which allowed divers to monitor their dive time.

Over the years, the functionality and design of the divers watch bezel have evolved significantly. Modern bezels feature a variety of systems, such as unidirectional and bidirectional rotation, offering enhanced safety and convenience to divers.

How Does a Divers Watch Bezel Work?

The operation of a divers watch bezel is remarkably straightforward. The typical bezel rotates either unidirectionally or bidirectionally, with engraved or printed minute markers. Before starting a dive, the 0 mark on the bezel is aligned with the minute hand on the watch face. As time passes, the minute hand moves away from the 0 mark, indicating the elapsed dive time.

It’s crucial to note that unidirectional bezels, which can only rotate counterclockwise, are often preferred for diving as they offer an additional safety feature: if the bezel is accidentally moved during a dive, it would only overestimate the elapsed time, prompting the diver to surface earlier than necessary, which is a safer outcome.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Use a Divers Watch Bezel

Understanding how to read and use your bezel is vital for safe diving practices. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use a divers watch bezel:

  1. Pre-dive setting: Before the dive, turn the bezel so that the 0 or 60-minute marker aligns with the minute hand.
  2. Understanding the markings: The bezel is marked with 60-minute graduations. The first 15 or 20 minutes are often marked in detail since these initial minutes are critical in a dive.
  3. Reading the elapsed time: As the minute hand moves, you can read the elapsed time on the bezel.
  4. Considerations during the dive: Ensure that the bezel is not moved accidentally during the dive. If it does move, it is safer to surface, reset, and start again.

Types of Divers Watch Bezels

Divers watch bezels come in different types, each offering unique features that enhance usability and safety during diving. Here, we will discuss three main types: unidirectional bezels, bidirectional bezels, and digital bezels.

  • Unidirectional bezels: This type of bezel rotates in one direction only – counterclockwise. This design ensures that if the bezel is accidentally moved during the dive, it will only indicate that more time has passed, encouraging the diver to surface sooner, thus erring on the side of safety.
  • Bidirectional bezels: Bidirectional bezels can be rotated either way, clockwise or counterclockwise. These bezels are more versatile but can pose a risk if unintentionally moved in the wrong direction during a dive. For this reason, bidirectional bezels are less common in modern dive watches.
  • Digital bezels: With the advancement of technology, digital bezels have started to appear on high-end dive watches. These bezels use electronic displays to show elapsed time and usually come with a lock feature to prevent accidental changes during the dive.

Frequently Asked Questions about Divers Watch Bezels

This section covers some common questions about divers watch bezels, providing answers that may help clarify any confusion and offer additional insights.

Can you use a diver watch bezel for activities other than diving?

Yes, divers’ watch bezels can be used to time any activity, not just diving. You could use them for parking meters, cooking, workouts, and more. Their usage is not limited to underwater activities.

What if the bezel gets displaced during a dive?

Unidirectional bezels are designed to provide a safer outcome if they’re accidentally moved. They would only overestimate the elapsed time, prompting an earlier-than-necessary ascent. If you notice that your bezel has moved, it’s safer to end your dive and surface.

How to maintain and care for your divers watch bezel?

Rinse your diver’s watch in fresh water after each dive, ensuring that any salt, chlorine, or dirt is removed. Be careful not to force the bezel if it becomes stiff; instead, seek professional help.

Choosing the Right Divers Watch with a Bezel

When it comes to selecting the right divers to watch with a bezel, several factors need to be considered, such as bezel type, water resistance, legibility, and durability. Here are some tips for choosing the right divers watch:

  • Important features: Look for features such as a unidirectional bezel, strong lume for visibility in low light conditions, a secure band, and high water resistance.
  • Top brands and models: Some renowned brands in the diverse watch market include Rolex, Omega, and Seiko. Each brand offers different models with varying features, so choose one that fits your needs and budget.
  • Factors influencing the cost: The price of a diverse watch can vary greatly based on factors such as brand, materials used, features, and whether the watch is mechanical or quartz.


Understanding and properly using a divers watch bezel is a vital skill for any diver. Beyond its utility in diving, the divers watch bezel can also serve as a handy tool for timing in a range of everyday activities. The key is to choose the right divers watch that meets your specific needs and to familiarize yourself with its operation and maintenance. With this knowledge, you can fully harness the potential of your diver watch and enhance your experiences, both underwater and on land.

Sherry's editorial journey seamlessly merges with her passion for horology at WatchReflect. As a seasoned editor and watch enthusiast, she curates insightful guides that cater to novices and connoisseurs alike. With a penchant for research and a flair for storytelling, Sherry transforms horological complexities into engaging narratives. Her mission is to illuminate the path for those navigating the multifaceted realm of timekeeping.

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