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A rotating bezel is one of a watch’s great features, adding aesthetic appeal and function. It is even considered the hallmark feature of a dive watch. Today, you will encounter countless diving bezels of different kinds and with varied locking mechanisms. If you have been staring a lot at your watch bezel and wondering how they came about, this article will briefly tell you its history.
How Diving Bezels Started
In the 1930s, Rolex introduced a large rotating bezel design on its Rolex Zerographe, reference 3346. During the same decade, the Italian luxury watch manufacturer, Officine Panerai, was selling underwater watches to the Italian Navy’s combat divers. Despite the existing style, it was only two decades later when the actual dive watch was created.
In the early 1950s, this bezel dive watch feature first made its appearance. Back then, scuba divers needed to find a way to track the time they had left before their oxygen tank ran out. Each tank was good to last for around one hour, and divers needed a time indication that would allow them to monitor their tanks’ lifeline without disrupting their watch’s time setting.
Blancpain, Zodiac, and Rolex were responsible for distributing the first batches of this watch style, which would become the prototype for all diving watches. Later on, the rotating bezel became a part of the ISO 6425 or the standard set for diving watches.
From underwater use, this technology crossed the border and became a helpful feature for military pilots. Longines used the same technology and developed watches for military pilots. The rotating bezel allowed pilots to align the vertical zero position with the second hand of their watch or other time sources, like a directive over a radio. It enabled them to follow directions more accurately, such as dropping bombs or loading explosives, without missing the target. The GMT function also helped them monitor time better despite the time zone changes.
The main difference between the first rotating bezel used for diving and the design made by Longines is the bezel’s placement. Longines decided to place the bezel inside the watch. They put the control knob right next to the crown, which one could move to rotate the bezel. In the 1960s, they also decided to create a watch line for the divers. Again, with the rotating bezel located inside the watch.
Seiko’s Rotating Bezel
Seiko also introduced its line of watches with a rotating bezel. Its introduction of the mod with various customization capabilities made the brand stand out.
Seiko decided to introduce the unidirectional bezel, which rotates only in one direction. It served as the watch’s protection against any accidental movements, improving its accuracy. They also added a luminous feature in the 12 o’clock position so that divers could see the watch clearly despite being deep underwater.
Bezels may appear to imitate a traditional analog clock, but they have proven their usefulness even today. They are a practical feature that watch owners find beneficial. Seiko’s creativity and introduction of the customizable elements made this watch feature even better. With the great love and appreciation it is continuously earning, your watch bezel is bound to last for years to come.
Are you itching to change the look of your watch’ bezel? SeikoMods is the country’s number one choice for Seiko mod parts. If you are looking for Stainless Steel 316L surgical grade HQ Divers Bezel for your SKX007, we have six options for you. We also provide free shipping on all UK orders.