It's not a complication; it makes your watch a tool that tells you much more than just what time it is. Let's take a closer look at the bezel, its origins and practical uses.
For some, it's just a design element of a watch that has lost its functional purpose and has become more of a symbol of adventure, sport and adrenaline. Still, for many mechanical watch lovers, it continues to be a convenient tool that makes their lives easier.
We are talking about a diving bezel, which, together with the super black dial, characterizes the look of the Chronotechna SeaQuest Dive watches. What is it actually for, and what can you do with it?
Technically, the bezel is not considered a complication, unlike a date display, tourbillon or chronograph, but like those complications, it makes your SeaQuest Dive watch a tool that can tell you more than just what time it is. In the case of the bezel, it's specifically about measuring a period within an hour or counting down a predetermined time.
This clever ring of numbers and graphic dots that encircles the dial on the outside has its origins in the diving world, where there was a need to find a way to measure accurate time spent underwater before the advent of digital computers that divers wear today. Measuring precise time is crucial, of course, not only for estimating the amount of oxygen remaining but also, in the case of deeper and longer dives, for calculating the so-called decompression stops on the way back to the surface.
Rolex is considered the pioneer in the development of bezels, having first used them in the early 1930s with the Zerographe; it was in the 1950s that bezels became much more widely used. They have come a long way since then, appearing on watches in different materials, designs and derivative forms such as the tachymeter, azimuth or logarithmic bezel. Still, the basic idea of the original diving bezel remains incredibly simple to this day.
You rotate the bezel so that the marker, in the Chronotechna case, a red or white triangle, is aligned with the minute hand. As time passes (the hand moves while the bezel with the number line is stationary), you can quickly check how much time has passed without complex mental operations.
Similarly, if you want to set a "minute hand" and count down a certain period, you subtract the value from 60 minutes and compare the resulting number on the bezel with the minute hand. The period has expired when the hand reaches the triangle on the bezel.
Although the primary use of this function is in diving, it can be used virtually anytime in everyday life. The bezel rotates counterclockwise only in one direction, ensuring that if the bezel accidentally rotates, the diver's dive is, at worst, shortened but never extended,
You can easily time your spaghetti with the bezel to make it precisely al dente. It can measure the length of a workout or when your baby falls asleep in the stroller during a walk, and you need to know how long they have been sleeping. By the way, you can measure your little one's sleep to the nearest 30 seconds because the Chronotechna's bezel rotates at 120 clicks (the usual standard is more like 60), so not by whole minutes, but by half minutes. A bezel is a more practical and quicker solution than a smartphone, which you must first find in your pocket, unlock and still set up.