Analog Explorer
Analog Explorer Podcast
AE. 18 | "Bezel Action"
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AE. 18 | "Bezel Action"

Looking at the history and alternative methods of measuring time with and without a complication in a mechanical movement.

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding affordable GMT complications in microbrand watches. On the mic is long-time Analog Explorer alumni  ⁠⁠Dan⁠⁠ ( @Timely_Moments ) from the ⁠⁠Zulu Time Podcast⁠⁠, and in this collaborative episode, we explore how the bezel surrounding GMT movements can enhance their functionality. We cover a brief history of the evolution of bezels and what they measure. And we put out our conjecture that perhaps we may see a revival of simpler bezel designs that allow for different timing options without the added expense and complexity of a mechanical 4-hand movement

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Fixed Bezels

  • Pulsmeter scale 30-220 (pulse rate) 

  • Tachymetre - 60 to 400-600 (calculate speed and distance) 

  • Telemetere  - number up to 19 with mile/km markings (measure the distance between a person and a remote event/object) 

  • Decimal bezel (1- 100) (This bezel helps present time in percentages and decimals)

Turnable Bezels 

  • Count up or Elapsed Time (Diver)

  • Count Down (Mission Timer) 

  • 24hr

  • Worldtime (passive)

  • 12hr

  • “Double over” (count up and 12 hrs for example, but any two tracks of measuring. See No Deco)

  • No Deco (decompression)- created by Doxa, showing two tracks on one steel bezel of a diver on the inside and recreational no decompression depth on the outside in a ‘double over’ design.  

  • Segmented (Blok

  • Compass (Seiko Alpinist

  • Yacht - 0-10 

  • Tide Bezel

  • Aeronautic Computer/ Slide Rule - Breitling Navitimer  

  • Lindbergh Bezel

Different bezels as described aboveDifferent bezels as described aboveDifferent bezels as described above
Different bezels as described aboveDifferent bezels as described aboveDifferent bezels as described above
Different bezels as described aboveDifferent bezels as described above
Bezels in the wild

Requires complication combo

History

A bezel that moves. 

Air-Era

  • Rolex Zeropgraphe- 1930’s rotating bezel 

  • 1938-1941 Hanhart, Tutima, Glashutte -  pilot chromosome with a turned bezel and a red mark at 12 for a “reference marker” 

  • Glicine Airman : 24hr watch and double 12 watch 

  • Soviet watches like the 3133 chronographs have a rotating inner 12 bezel 

Sea-Era 

  • 1950’s Rolex Turn-o-Graph

  • 1953 Submariner

Rolex Submariner was the “…first diver’s wristwatch to be waterproof to 100 meters) and have a rotating bezel.” - Rolex

  • 1953 Blacpain fifty Fathoms 

  • Blancpain was the first company to make its timing bezel unidirectional, only ratcheting counter-clockwise. A unidirectional bezel is useful since, should it get bumped during the rough and tumble of diving, it will only subtract time from a diver’s bottom time and not put him in danger of overstaying his no-deco limit. Until Blancpain’s patent ran out on this feature, other brands had to make do with bezels that spun both ways. Today, unidirectional bezels are virtually universal.” - Revolution

  • 1953 Zodiac Sea Wolf 

  • 1970 Omega Ploprof, big orange button to unlock the bezel

  • Yema, lock from the crown to hold the bezel in place 

In the late ’60’ - Compressor case = Internal Bezel 

  • 1967 IWC Aquatimer 

  • 1967 Doxa introduced the no-deco bezel 

  • Mid 70’s Seiko : 600meter pro diver with a shroud that screwed into the case. Bezel cutouts for two finger access

  • Soviet Boctok Amphibias

Travel Era

  • 1937 Patek Philippe World Time watches - 515 HU 

  • 1954 GMT master 6542

  • Combinations of bezels inside and outside

Double independent  external bezel watch 

Analog Explorer
Analog Explorer Podcast
Embark on a journey through the world of horology and the connections many of us have to watches. With host AJ Barse, The Analog Explorer connects with fellow enthusiasts in the #watchfam and beyond, from avid collectors to creative watchmakers. As a professional photographer, active hiker, and recreational diver based in the Pacific Northwest, exploration holds a significant place in his life and he encourages others to make time for their passions. Through insightful interviews and engaging discussions, The Analog Explorer celebrates the impact and art of horology. After all, we all share in the most universally limited resource; time. And the Analog Explorer reminds us of the need to Fac Tempus Ad Explorandum i.e. "Make the Time To Explore."
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Appears in episode
AJ Barse
Daniel