Rolex Bezels

Published on Sunday 12th of December 2021
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The bezel is the protective ring around the edge of the watch case. Bezels are usually made from metal or precious metals.  They sometimes have and insert/inlay which are normally coloured and made from steel or ceramic materials.  Some bezels are able to click round in one or both rotations as a timer or time zone function. There is an array of bezels available on many different Rolex watches but what are the differences? What do they actually do?

Rolex offer bezels in an array or styles, but the humble bezel has a much more important function. Initially Rolex designed and used the bezel to aid in creating a waterproof seal around the case but has since evolved as new functions have been added to the watches over the years.

Polished Bezel.

This is the most traditional bezel from Rolex, although this is not unique to them and similar bezels can be seen on watches of other brands. The bezel is used on watches of all materials, stainless steel (Oystersteel), gold (white, yellow and rose/ everose) and platinum watches. The polished bezels can be slightly different in shape, depending on the model watch it goes on.

Polished Bezel on Rolex Air-King

Polished Bezel on Rolex Air-King 

 

Fluted Bezel.

Fluted Bezel on Rolex Day Date

Fluted Bezel on Rolex Day Date
Traditionally the fluted bezel was designed in such a way so that Rolex was able to screw the bezel down onto the crystal (glass) which would improve the seal of waterproofness of the watch. Today the bezel is purely for aesthetics, giving watches a distinctive look of elegance and class. The fluted bezel is only ever made of gold; yellow, white or rose (everose).

 

Gem Set Bezel.

Bezels are sometimes set with precious stones such as sapphires, rubies, emeralds but more commonly diamonds. Selected and inspected by Rolex’s team of gemmologists to ensure each stone meets the high standard that is expected with Rolex watches. Then they are hand set by Role’s team of Gem Setters, who are tasked with placing the stone carefully to reveal the full beauty of it. Gem set bezels have no further purpose other than adding extra sparkle and luster to the watches.

Diamond Set Bezel on Rolex Datejust

Diamond Set Bezel on Rolex Datejust

 

Rotatable Timer Bezel.

Rotational Timer Bezel on a Rolex Submariner

Rotational Timer Bezel on a Rolex Submariner
This type of bezel is only found on Rolex Professional Range of watches such as the Submariner or the Yacht Master. These bezels have 60 minute graduations like the minute scale of the dial and are used to time events that last up to one hour. The rotating bezel of Submariner is unidirectional and used to help divers monitor their diving time and decompression stops. Whereas the Yacht Master bezel is bidirectional and can be used to help the Sailors to time how long it take to cover a specific distance.

 

24 Hour Bezels.

24 Hour Bezels are found on watches such as the GMT Master models or on the Explorer Models. It is used in conjunction with the 24 hour GMT hand and is used to mark and tell the time of another time zone or if it is fixed it can be used as a AM-PM indicator. The bezel of the GMT Master models can rotate in both directions whereas the bezel of the Explorer models is fixed.

24 Hour Bezel on a Rolex GMT Master II

24 Hour Bezel on a Rolex GMT Master II

Tachymeter Bezels.

Tachymeter Bezel on a Rolex Daytona

Tachymeter Bezel on a Rolex Daytona
The tachymeter bezel is found on watches such as they Daytona range. It is a fixed bezel and used to measure speeds based on travel time or distance based on speed. It is used on only Chronograph based watches.

 

Ring Command Bezels.

The Ring Command Bezel is the most recent bezel type that is only used on Rolex’s most complicated watches where the functions are too complicated to just use the crown or pushers (as you would on most other types of watch). This type of bezel is found on Rolex Yacht Master II and Sky-Dweller. On the Yacht-Master II the Command bezel is used to set and activate the 10-minute timer (that would be used in Yacht racing). Whereas the command bezel on the Sky-Dweller is used to set the perpetual calendar, month and date, local time and reference time. The Sky Dweller is considered to have one of the most complicated complications available on a wristwatch.

Ring Command Bezel on a Rolex Yacht-Master II

Ring Command Bezel on a Rolex Yacht-Master II

 

Engine Turned Bezels.

Engine Turned Bezel on Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date

Engine Turned Bezel on Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date
Engine Turned Bezels are no longer used today as it has been discontinued however watches can still be found with this type of bezel on the pre-owned market. The Engine Turned Bezel was a popular option for those people who did not want the fluted bezel but wanted something more decorative than the polished bezel. The Engine Turned Bezel was most commonly found on the Date and Air-King models. The Engine Turned Bezel has a distinctive small ridges and think smooth lines around the hour markers.

 

Bark Finished Bezel.

Bark Finished Bezels are no longer used today as it has been discontinued however watches can still be found with this type of bezel on the pre-owned market. The Bark finished bezel has a much rougher texture and finer details than the engine turned bezel, with many similarities to that of the bark of a tree, traditionally being created and crafted by hand. This bezel type was less common than some and was only really used on ornate, limited editions of the Day-Date and Datejust watches.

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