How To Use The Rotating Bezel On Your Dive Watch

Rotating Bezel, Steel Watch, Dive Watch, Automatic Watch

One of the most classic dive watches is the Rolex Submariner. Among the features that make it stand out is its distinctively bold bezel.

A rotating bezel is one of the most exclusive elements of a dive watch. But do you know how to properly use it?

Next time you’re out diving, test your dive watch’s features and compare its usefulness with that of your dive computer. Personally, I always set my watch every time I go diving in case a malfunction occurs on my dive computer. It’s better to have an extra sense of security as you go deep below the ocean’s surface.

The following explanation is probably better understood by certified SCUBA divers. Nonetheless, it’s important for everyone to know.

As taught in PADI dive classes, one needs to track their dive duration to avoid carbon dioxide build-up. Before a descent, line up the 12 o’clock bezel marker with the minute hand. This is to allow the diver to easily see the elapsed time. Since most dive watches come with a prominent minute hand, a diver with a dive watch can easily discern his dive duration.

Importance Of A Dive Watch Bezel

Rotating Bezel, Dive Watch, Blue, Dial, Omega, Watch Face, Steel
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The bezel on most dive watches has grooves around it to make it easy to turn. As experienced divers know, setting a watch usually occurs when already underwater. But, having an easy-to-turn bezel is key to making it easy for adjusting the bottom time marker.

Dive watch bezels are also designed to move unilaterally. This is to ensure that if the bezel is accidentally moved, the time already spent underwater is indicated as being longer. As a result, the diver is provided with a safety reserve for their ascent.

For those that don’t dive to know, the ascent after a dive is an extremely important and potentially dangerous time for divers.

A diver must take interval breaks of two or more minutes as they return from the depths. If a diver ascends too quickly, he can risk getting bends or other injuries associated with the rapid expansion of air from his/her lungs. Remember that when you are underwater, there is much more pressure. Furthermore, the air you are breathing is compressed.

Most dives last between 30-40 minutes depending on the depth and the conditions during diving. As such, on a dive watch bezel, the first 15 minutes after diving are highlighted. This is because divers need to do decompression stops at the end of a dive and thus need to precisely track the number of elapsed minutes.

An accurate dive watch and well-adjusted bezel allows you to properly time your ascent. Moreover, they allow you to determine the correct surface interval. Thus, it is no surprise that most divers wear expensive dive computers to help them calculate these figures automatically.

Caring For Your Dive Watch

Rotating Bezel, Dive Watch, Submerged, Water-resistant, Red Watch Face
Photo by Guy Sie from Flickr

Due to being submerged in salt water as well as underwater pressure, it is common for issues to arise with an external rotating bezel. Proper care and immediate rinsing with fresh water should help ensure that your dive watch lasts long. If you fail to rinse the rotating bezel well after a dive, it may corrode and become stuck.

Read your owner’s manual thoroughly for recommendations on how to properly care for your dive watch. Remember that proper maintenance after a dive is critical for a watch’s longevity.

Final Thoughts

The invention of the rotating bezel on a dive watch was a huge advancement in the watch industry. Thus, owning a dive watch is like owning a piece of underwater expedition and horology history. As such, top movie personalities like James Bond wear exclusive dive watches even with their black-tie attire (which is usually a no-no). Because of the watch’s classy look and timeless style, men can pull off the heavy dive watch look if done right.

No matter where you plan to wear your dive watch, it is important to know how to use it. In addition, it is extremely critical to familiarize yourself with the functions of your watch. After all, it would be embarrassing to be unable to explain how your $10,000 Submariner works to someone after spending so much money on it.

See our article on 10 Mistakes New Watch Guys Make and How to Avoid Them to make you well acquainted with proper watch wearing.

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