The Different Types of Watch Bezels and How to Choose One

A watch is an indispensable accessory because it keeps you on track with time while making a fashion statement. For this reason, all watch lovers take their time to find the perfect watch, especially if it’s from a luxury brand. However, it’s not just the prestige that comes with the brand’s name but also the parts used to make them.

Most watch parts can be switched out through modding, which enhances the watch’s design or function. The bezel is no exception, which is the metal ring that encircles the watch’s face. The bezel’s primary function is to secure the watch’s crystal, though some bezels are designed to rotate, allowing the wearer to measure elapsed time. However, not all bezels are the same because some are designed with extra features beyond timekeeping. These include:

Compass Bezel

The compass insert is a common yet complicated bezel to use. While it may look like an aesthetic feature, it is a working tool. By turning the bezel, you can use it as a compass. You may have to rotate the insert differently depending on which hemisphere you live in.

To use a compass bezel, you must find the sun in the sky and have the correct time set on your watch. Make sure that you do not look directly at the sun. Put your watch on a flat surface and point the hour hand towards it.

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you should turn your compass so that the “S” (which stands for South) is centred between the hour hand and the 12 o’clock marker. Ensure that the hour hand is still pointing in the sun’s direction. If you are south of the equator, take your compass and point the hour hand towards the sun. Turn the compass insert, so the “N” marker is between the hour hand and the 12 o’clock marker.

Diver Bezel

As the name suggests, a diver’s bezel is found in dive watches. The bezel is marked with a count-up system, meaning the numbers go up in increments as time passes. The count-up bezel can be found in different styles, including Yachtmaster, Sub, and SKX007, and they all have the same purpose. According to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 6425 standard, all diver bezels must have certain features, such as:

  • Must include a unidirectional bezel
  • Must have a scale that shows 60 minutes
  • Must have markings at least every 5 minutes
  • Must have a pre-select marker to mark a specific start for minute reading (usually a triangle with a lumed pip).

To use this bezel, rotate the frame around the dial of your watch until the 12 o’clock marker is aligned with the minute hand. This will allow you to easily keep track of the number of minutes that have passed by as the minute hand moves. This is a valuable way to time something, but only up to an hour.

Dual-Time Bezel

This dual-time insert is helpful for simultaneously keeping track of two different time zones. The elegant design allows you to quickly identify the time of day in both places without needing a fourth hand or other complications. All you have to do is set the 12 o’clock position to the time zone you’re currently in, and the numbers on the insert will show the time in the other zone.

For example, if you are in Virginia and it is 12 o’clock, and your brother lives in Nevada, which is 3 hours behind, you would set the “9” on the bezel to the 12 o’clock hour marker on the dial. This way, when you look at the bezel as a dial, it will display 9 o’clock. As the hour hand moves, the bezel will display the appropriate time in Nevada.

GMT Bezel

The GMT bezel is a watch bezel insert often seen on watches with four hands rather than three. It has 24-hour markers and shows a different time zone instead of tracking elapsed time. This insert has a bi-directional action, meaning the bezel can be rotated clockwise and counter-clockwise. The GMT bezel is slightly larger than other watch bezel inserts and doesn’t need a click spring.

To use the GMT bezel, you must calculate the difference between your current time zone and the one you’d like to track. If the time zone you’d like to track is behind you, rotate the bezel counterclockwise. On the other hand, if the time zone you’d like to track is ahead of you, turn the bezel clockwise.

For example, if you are in New York and want to track California, which is 3 hours behind, you will need to rotate your bezel clockwise 3 hours so that the 21-hour marker on the insert is now at the 12 o’clock position. The GMT hand is like a clock that makes one complete rotation every 24 hours. It is marked with 24 points around the edge of the dial, representing the different military times of the day (AM and PM). This allows you to keep track of the time in two different time zones.

What Should You Get?

Choosing a bezel for your watch ultimately depends on your needs and preferences. Any bezel will do fine, but specialised bezels will be better if you travel or work across multiple time zones. You can get bezels in most watch stores, but you may also be able to find them online.


Watch bezels are a great way to add function and style to your watch. They come in various styles and materials, so you can choose one that best suits your needs and preferences. All that matters is that you find a bezel that works for you.

If you are looking for Seiko bezels, SeikoMods has what you need! We also offer various selections, such as cases, movements, crowns, and bracelets, for affordable prices. Mail us today at to place an order!

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