Musings of a programmer, musician, photographer, and Christian.

Even More Uses for a Diver’s Bezel

(see here for all the posts about using a diver’s bezel)

I’ve written a few posts about things you can do with a diver’s bezel, and today, I’m adding a few more.

What Day Of The Week Is It?

My current daily-wearer watch doesn’t have a day of the week complication on it, and mostly, this isn’t a practical problem I have. However, when I’m off for a few days, I often don’t know what day it is – first world problem, I know. Fortunately, a diver’s bezel can be used to deal with this.

You can do it a few different ways, but this is the way I do it:

Day Pointer At
Sunday 0 minutes
Monday 10 minutes
Tuesday 20 minutes
Wednesday 30 minutes
Thursday 40 minutes
Friday 50 minutes
Saturday 55 minutes

The first digit of the tens (except for Saturday) tells you what day it is. Saturday is a bit of a hack, but that’s good enough. I chose this because sometimes I do nudge the bezel back by accident (no fault of the watch, it’s just the way I live), and this approach has the most resistance to losing a day due to a bump.

Another good choice would be to use the hour instead of the tens digit of the minute.

A worse alternative I can think of is just use the first seven minutes of the scale, as I don’t think the readability is all that good. It also might suffer the accidental bump of the bezel and set you back a day.

A decent one, if bumps aren’t a problem for you would be to set the pointer to the minute corresponding to the last Sunday – or choose some other day of the week as your anchor. This has the advantage that you can’t lose days if you forget to advance it. Additionally, even if you let it lapse a week, or even two, you’re still ok. The downsides are the overhead of having to math things out, visibility (i.e. determining the precise minute being pointed to is) and being less bump-resistant.

Lastly, if you’re familiar with the Doomsday Algorithm by Conway, you can point the bezel at the appropriate day using one of the first two methods above, and you’re set for a year.

What’s The Date?

All of my diver’s watches have date complications on them, but you might have one that doesn’t. If you’re such a place, you can have a “manual date complication”. Point the arrow at the minute corresponding to the current date at the beginning of the day.

Finding North

It’s an old boy scout trick, and AFAIK this only works this way in the northern hemisphere - I suspect the distinctions below about what to do about midnight ahead/behind are basically swapped in the southern hemisphere. A diver’s watch gets you surprisingly close to north. You need to know when the closest 12 o’clock midnight is, and as the emergency exits in a plane might be, the closest may be behind you.

Find the minute of the hour your hour hand points at. If your closest midnight is behind you, divide that minute in half, and point your bezel arrow at that minute. Point the hour hand at the sun and north will be approximately where the arrow on your bezel points. Here’s how it worked out at a bit past 10am.

Comparing Watch And Compass

Now if the closest midnight is ahead of you, set your bezel to point where the hour hand is pointing. Note the minute on the bezel at the 12 o’clock position. Divide that in half, then set the bezel to that many minutes counterclockwise of 12; i.e. 12 o’clock should point at half the number of minutes originally pointed to by 12. Point the hour hand at the sun and north will be approximately where the arrow on your bezel points.

This method doesn’t take DST into account, and so may/will be off by thirty degrees. That said, if you’re resorting to this, I doubt that thirty degrees is the difference between life and death. If it is, and you’re in DST, do the proper adjustment. The adjustment is to treat your watch as an hour fast, and back it up an hour.


Dunno. Still finding more and more uses :).