What Is the Function of a Watch Bezel?

by Rob Wagner

A watch bezel encompasses the dial of a pocket or wrist watch and holds the crystal, the glass or acrylic covering in place. Bezels can be decorative or rotate to perform various functions.


The bezel screws into the watch case, which contains the movement that makes the timepiece run. The crystal is secured under the bezel.


A bezel can be made of a variety of materials. It could be gold filled, 18-karat gold, gold-plated, brass, plastic, titanium or stainless steel.


The bezel can be decorative, encrusted with diamonds or gems, or it may be embossed with the watchmaker’s logo. It could feature numbers and markers instead of being placed directly on the dial.


Some watch bezels rotate, which allows a scuba diver, for example, to move the ring to read water pressure or distance markings.

Bi-Directional Bezel

A bi-directional bezel rotates counterclockwise or clockwise to perform mathematical functions, much like a slide rule, to measure speed.

Safety First

A uni-directional bezel moves only counterclockwise on dive watches to prevent divers from accidentally changing air-supply estimations.

Photo Credits

  • Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Link Back to Our Page

About the Author

Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.