What’s the Difference between Bezel and Bezel Inserts?

Do you get confused every time you hear the words bezel and bezel inserts? Well, you’re not alone. Most of the time, these terms get pretty mixed up. And this unique problem doesn’t just happen to beginners but also to expert watch hobbyists at least once in their lifetime.

But why do these watch parts get mixed up anyway? Let’s find out some of the reasons why Seiko watch modders confuse the two complementary watch parts. 

What Is a Bezel

A bezel is a mod part that is a metal ring located in front of your watch surrounding all the crystals. 

Watch bezels can be fixed or can rotate. But most of the time, watch modders purchase rotating bezels more than the fixed ones because of functionality.

For instance, diver’s watches have rotating bezels that have ridges, which give additional grip when diving. 

Rotating bezels are important because:

  1. It serves as a timer for divers. Divers need to make sure that they keep track of their oxygen levels while under water.
  1. It allows people to check the time in different time zones. When you’re traveling in a different country, you can keep track of the time of where you are going while you also keep track of your local time.

Now, here’s the tricky part. Using the bezel by itself will not serve its purpose of acting as a timer or being a time zone keeper. This is because bezels do not bear any markers. If you attach the bezels only on your watch, it will just function as a fidget toy. So for it to be completely functional, you need to have the bezel inserts.

What Are Bezel Inserts

Here comes the fun part. Bezel inserts are watch parts that are placed into the metal watch bezel. With these two parts combined, you will be able to maximise their functionality. These inserts have the indices and number markers, so you will set a timer or track different time zones. 

Bezels inserts are available in different materials, such as bakelite, aluminum, ceramic and   durable materials.

Here is a list of the different kinds of bezels inserts that you can choose from.

Countdown Timer

A countdown timer bezel insert will tell you how much time left you have instead of telling you of how much time has passed. This is great for people that need to time their exercise routine (such as joggers, bikers or swimmers) and people who need to synchronise their time with others (such as people in the military services).

Elapsed Time

An elapsed time bezel insert works as opposed to the countdown timer insert. So instead of tracking the time left, it will show you how much time already passed. This bezel insert is perfect for divers because they are able to keep track of the elapsed time, so they don’t forget about how much oxygen is left for their dive.

Bezels work unidirectionally or both ways. With this in mind, mod watches with elapsed time functionality will only allow to rotate unidirectionally or one way as part of its safety feature. 


GMT bezel insert was first introduced by Rolex (GMT-Master). This is specifically made for Pan American pilots in the 1950s due to the boom of air travel and when people usually go to different time zones. These inserts have 24-hour markers so that it would complement the 12-hour arrangement of dials.


Now, if you are not interested in using it as a timer or in tracking different time zones, then you can purchase a plain bezel insert bearing no markers at all. This will allow you to engrave anything you want, so you can customise it depending on your taste and preference.

Why Bezels and Bezel Inserts Get Mixed Up

One of the main reasons why they easily get mixed up is because they are attached to each other and rotate in the same way together, as if you’re just rotating only one part. Another thing is that most articles also use the term bezel when pertaining to bezel inserts. Lastly, you can’t use bezel inserts without the bezel and the bezel without the bezel inserts. They go together hand in hand, which makes them like they are just one part of your mod watch.

Seiko Mods specialise in various Seiko mod parts, such as bezels and bezel inserts. Customise your Seiko watches anytime you want with our help. Visit our website today so you can choose the design and material of mod parts you need.

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