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Discussion Starter #1
Why is it that on a big proportion of dive watches the bezel minute marks stop at 15?

I would always prefer them to mark all 60 minutes and can't for the life of me see why they stop at 15.

Cheers.
 

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Why is it that on a big proportion of dive watches the bezel minute marks stop at 15?

I would always prefer them to mark all 60 minutes and can't for the life of me see why they stop at 15.

Cheers.
I'll let you know, but I want to see if anyone else can answer it first. I answered this question a couple of months ago, and I want to see if anyone was paying attention.:-d:-d
 

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Alright, I'll go ahead and answer since I probably won't have anytime until later tonight. Hate to make you wait.;-)

Most dive watches today, with 15 minute bezels, are the result of the watch manufacturer having no idea as to how you use a dive watch underwater. Rolex started it in the 50's and it's been blindly copied ever since. The 15 minute bezel is a "count-down" bezel, and for today's style of diving, is quite antiquated.

The 15 minute bezel was derived, when divers dove a flat profile based on the USN Dive Tables. Back then you planned a dive to a certain max. depth, and then dove your profile accordingly. Remember the old dive saying "plan the dive, dive the plan"?

For example...if the dive was planned for 80ft, then you had a bottom time of roughly 40 minutes. The diver, upon entering the water, would set the arrow on the bezel, 40 minutes ahead of the minute hand. Once the minute hand reached the arrow on the bezel(provided he had enough air) the diver would begin his ascent to the surface. The 15 minute scale helped with timing the ascent and timing whatever safety stop the diver deemed necessary.

If you'll notice, not all early dive watches had the 15 minute bezel. Some like the BP Fifty Fathoms and the Breitling Super Ocean, basically only had a single marker on the dial. They were used it the same fashion as the 15 min. bezel, but didn't have the handy 15 minute scale.

I'm with you, I'd like to see more dive watches with a full 60-minute bezel. For classically styled divers like the Fifty Fathoms, Planet Ocean, Breitling SOH, and of course the Submariner/SD, I don't mind it so much. They've been around long enough that they've earned it...it's part of their heritage.

For newer brands with contemporary styling, it's a deal killer for me. I look at a UTS or an Enzo, and I cringe. They keep churning out the same old design, and they have no idea why. Shameful................
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you, been diving about 20 years now and never heard of pre-setting a bezel, especially as you would still want the minute marks to do this pre-setting. Seems like a good way to introduce a mistake into the mix for me.

Once more thanks. A long held ponder now answered.
 

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Thank you, been diving about 20 years now and never heard of pre-setting a bezel, especially as you would still want the minute marks to do this pre-setting. Seems like a good way to introduce a mistake into the mix for me.

Once more thanks. A long held ponder now answered.
No problem Carl, glad I could help. It can be confusing at first, but once you're used to doing it, pre-setting becomes second nature. In diving that way, the hardest part for me is trusting the bezel. Uni-directionals will only shorten your time, but at first....it feels like a "leap of faith".;-)

The easiest way to set the bezel, is to figure your bottom time, and subtract that number from "60". The number you get, is the number on the bezel that you align with the minute hand, right before descending.

For example...you've determined you're going to have a bottom time of 20 minutes. Using the afore mentioned equation...60-20=40...you then align the "40" on the bezel with the minute hand. This gives you a count-down time of 20 minutes, until the minute hand reaches the arrow/lume pip(zero mark) on the bezel. Easy right?:-!

I don't use my 15 minute bezel watches, unless I'm feeling a bit nostalgic. Sometimes it's cool to put yourself in the mind-set of those divers from long ago....when life was simple and so was the diving.:)
 

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It is interesting to note that the last US Navy purpose designed elapsed time bezel had minute marks for the first twenty minutes, as opposed to the usual fifteen.

 

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It is interesting to note that the last US Navy purpose designed elapsed time bezel had minute marks for the first twenty minutes, as opposed to the usual fifteen.

Whether it's a 15, 20 or even 30 minute bezel, it's still a count-down bezel. It just allows for a longer ascent profile. What I can't understand, is why they used 1-11 instead of 10 -50.:think:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Still pondering .....

It strikes me that the bezels couldn't have been designed to be used in such a way but the method you describe developed due to the poor markings.

After all i have never seen any literature from watch maufacturers stating that method but do see literature stating the standard method and if Rolex originally intended their bezel to be used as a count down bezel instead of a timer bezel surely the markings would reflect this. I do not see a company as theirs expecting divers to jump in the water and do any form of calculation when by marking the bezel accordingly they would not have to?

Kobold sell watches aimed at Police and Military purchasers and these have count down bezels, although i do accept that when zero is reached the bezel markings do not work for diving where by the method you describe it is only at zero being reached that the bezel markings work.

However why would a company like Rolex (for example) sell a watch with a bezel marked in such a manner when all they had to do was minute mark all the minutes as Omega did.

Could it just be that the markings up to 15 (or 20 on some) were a design mistake? Or a fashion thing?

Subkrawler i do appreciate your reply but the more i think of it i see no reason or evidence for the bezel design to be intended to be used as you say, albeit you and others have used it this way.

Though i will eat my words if any-one can find any watch company literature suggesting it was so.:-s
 

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Cool info subkrawler. Thanks.
I agree, Moish. :-!

Thanks, Subkrawler, for the explanation. For those of us who do not dive, it's always great to be able to learn these things about dive watches from those who do. :thanks
 

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Carl,

To better understand, you have to look at things from an early 1950s perspective. Diving was very simple and conservative back then. Divers didn't even have pressure gauges. Whenever a diver ran low on air, he pulled the J-valve and then made the ascent.

Timing the dive was the same way. The end of the dive was marked on the watch, and once reached(provided the J-valve hadn't already been pulled) the diver made the ascent. In those days, they didn't try to squeeze every minute out of their dive the way guys do today with dive computers.

More importantly, back then, dives were planned. It's not like all of this had to be figured out in the water either. On the boat, or either back at the dock, divers pulled out their dive tables and made a clear dive plan. A plan that wasn't deviated from.

During this planning time is when the diver would figure bottom time. That's when he would get an idea of where to set the bezel. I know this approach seems odd to the modern diver, who plans essentially nothing. All divers do now, is jump in and blindly let the computer conduct the dive.(that statement is not aimed at you)

After all i have never seen any literature from watch maufacturers stating that method but do see literature stating the standard method and if Rolex originally intended their bezel to be used as a count down bezel instead of a timer bezel surely the markings would reflect this. I do not see a company as theirs expecting divers to jump in the water and do any form of calculation when by marking the bezel accordingly they would not have to?
Help me understand what you mean in the above statement. I take it that you don't feel the Rolex-style bezel is configured properly for a count-down application. Aside from the Kobold example, how do you think it should be configured?

If you really wanted to, the 15 minute bezel can still be used as a count-up, timer bezel. You'd use it in the way that you're most familiar. To use the 15 minute ascent scale, you'd have to reset the bezel arrow to the minute hand, immediately prior to ascent.

Regarding literature stating the count-down use....a few years ago, when Rolex introduced the 50th Anniversary Submariner, Rolex had an interactive presentation on their website. In that presentation they addressed the design of the bezel. I don't remember their exact words, but IIRC they stated that the arrow on the bezel indicated the end of the dive, and the 15 minute scale was to help a diver time his ascent, or any necessary decompression. They even had an old photo showing divers(wearing their Submariners) decompressing while holding a line.

It really was a cool presentation that took you decade by decade through important milestones of the Submariner. It was on their website until sometime in early '07. I wish they hadn't taken it down.

I know it seems strange to ask a diver to do a little math calculation, but divers were different back then. That was before the dumbing down of our education system, and people could still do simple arithmetic in their heads. Oh how times have changed.;-)
 
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Discussion Starter #12
Subkrawler.

Excellent reply thank you. It is nice that some-one understands that i am just trying to understand these things.

I wish i had seen that Rolex explanation. It surprises me that they did it this way, but when i think of it how else do we develop a sport but through trial and error.

Yes, i am used to using my watch for diving, predominantly an old seiko and they mark all the minutes so this was never an issue. Dive the plan....so true, i still use a slate with my profile pre-noted (even though i also use a computer) so can now understand how the watch was used in this manner, especially as you explain it as you have. Thanks for humouring me on this.
(and yes the education system is truly pants....don't get me started on that one!)
Once more thanks.
 

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Whether it's a 15, 20 or even 30 minute bezel, it's still a count-down bezel. It just allows for a longer ascent profile. What I can't understand, is why they used 1-11 instead of 10 -50.:think:
As I understand it that was a GMT bezel for a second time zone. and they just added the little 20 minute hash marks as it was also a dive watch (or at least used in places where it would be underwater.)
 

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Subkrawler.

Excellent reply thank you. It is nice that some-one understands that i am just trying to understand these things.

I wish i had seen that Rolex explanation. It surprises me that they did it this way, but when i think of it how else do we develop a sport but through trial and error.

Yes, i am used to using my watch for diving, predominantly an old seiko and they mark all the minutes so this was never an issue. Dive the plan....so true, i still use a slate with my profile pre-noted (even though i also use a computer) so can now understand how the watch was used in this manner, especially as you explain it as you have. Thanks for humouring me on this.
(and yes the education system is truly pants....don't get me started on that one!)
Once more thanks.
Carl, you're very welcome. It was a good discussion and I had fun with it. Thank you for hanging in there, for my rather lengthy replies.:)

Thanks also goes out to all of the non-divers who possibly gained something from it, but may not be really interested in the diving aspect. I realize this is a watch forum and not a dive forum, so I try to be careful not to get too boring and technical. No need in having "1000 eyes glaze over", right Sean?;-):-d
 

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As I understand it that was a GMT bezel for a second time zone. and they just added the little 20 minute hash marks as it was also a dive watch (or at least used in places where it would be underwater.)
Got it..thanks Seth.:-!
 

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well, my eyes didn't glaze over, but I did eat a dozen donuts reading this stuff.b-)
 

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Regarding literature stating the count-down use....a few years ago, when Rolex introduced the 50th Anniversary Submariner, Rolex had an interactive presentation on their website. In that presentation they addressed the design of the bezel. I don't remember their exact words, but IIRC they stated that the arrow on the bezel indicated the end of the dive, and the 15 minute scale was to help a diver time his ascent, or any necessary decompression. They even had an old photo showing divers(wearing their Submariners) decompressing while holding a line.

It really was a cool presentation that took you decade by decade through important milestones of the Submariner. It was on their website until sometime in early '07. I wish they hadn't taken it down.
subkrawler, that would have been neat to see. I went looking for it, hoping that the site map would include an archive section containing it, but no such luck.

I downloaded the features guide for the Sea-Dweller DEEPSEA (a little Flash application on Macs, I don't know what Windows users would get). The bezel section referred to it as being for timing the dive, specifically saying to align the triangle with the minute hand when you go into the water. This would be part of the "new method" of letting the dive computers do all the thinking, yes?

[tangent]
I was reading a long thread on another forum last night, one discussing DC failures. A number of people reported that their DCs' failure mode consisted of registering insufficient depth. Now, I haven't even begun my coursework to get my OW cert, but I work in IT. Knowing computers as I do, there's about a zero-percent chance I'll go into the water without analog depth and pressure gauges as backups to a DC.
[/tangent]


I know it seems strange to ask a diver to do a little math calculation, but divers were different back then. That was before the dumbing down of our education system, and people could still do simple arithmetic in their heads. Oh how times have changed.;-)
Don't get me started. :-d


D.
 

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subkrawler, that would have been neat to see. I went looking for it, hoping that the site map would include an archive section containing it, but no such luck.

I downloaded the features guide for the Sea-Dweller DEEPSEA (a little Flash application on Macs, I don't know what Windows users would get). The bezel section referred to it as being for timing the dive, specifically saying to align the triangle with the minute hand when you go into the water. This would be part of the "new method" of letting the dive computers do all the thinking, yes?

[tangent]
I was reading a long thread on another forum last night, one discussing DC failures. A number of people reported that their DCs' failure mode consisted of registering insufficient depth. Now, I haven't even begun my coursework to get my OW cert, but I work in IT. Knowing computers as I do, there's about a zero-percent chance I'll go into the water without analog depth and pressure gauges as backups to a DC.
[/tangent]


Don't get me started. :-d


D.
D,

It was a great presentation, and a shame that they took it down. You'd have thought as long as Rolex was producing the LV, that the presentation would still be available. That's Rolex for you.:roll::)

I just down-loaded the DEEP SEA features guide. Not bad. As far as the bezel use description being the "new method" of letting the dive computers do all the thinking...not really. It's just a different way of timing the dive, and the best way to use a 60 minute bezel. Generally 60 minute bezels are count-up, and 15 minute bezels are count-down.

However, Rolex's 15 minute bezel isn't terrible as a count-up bezel, it's just difficult to time individual minutes beyond the 15 minute scale. In diving, that's not totally a bad thing, as most bottom times are figured in five minute intervals anyway. I'm just super anal when it comes to tracking time underwater, so if I'm using a bezel as a count-up, I want to know each minute individually.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but I'll save that for a later discussion, if you want.

I wouldn't get too hung up on inaccuracies in depth gauges(I'm talking gauges, not computers). Sure it's important, but you always have your buddies gauge to back you up. Gauges, like everything else, are a team resource. Just because you happen to own it, doesn't mean that it exclusively belongs to you underwater. Everyone's equipment belongs to everyone during the dive.

Analog depth gauges are OK, but aren't as precise as digital. I'll use an analog in certain situations, but digital is the way to go the majority of the time. Analog pressure gauges are always the way to go though. The simpler the better for monitoring gas supply.

You mentioned that you haven't started your course work yet for OW. When are you getting started.;-)
 

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Gauges, like everything else, are a team resource. Just because you happen to own it, doesn't mean that it exclusively belongs to you underwater. Everyone's equipment belongs to everyone during the dive.
Well nice said! Never thought about it that way.. Sure I would lent my buddy air but that's about it. I wouldn't want him to screw my equipment.
Oh and besides, diving is easier now, since you have the dive computer. AND well educated divers still use the tables for diving. PADI divers at least are trained to use those scales and tables and dive accordingly.
 

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Well nice said! Never thought about it that way.. Sure I would lent my buddy air but that's about it. I wouldn't want him to screw my equipment.
Remind me to never dive with Frogger.:-d

In addition to air/regulators being shared, other pieces of equipment that are generally team resources are: back-up masks, back-up lights, spools, reels, surface makers, Wet-notes(slate), double-ended bolt snaps, and any other dive specific tool that may be needed.

In a three man team, it doesn't make sense for every man to carry a back-up mask. The chances of all three team members losing and needing a back-up, are slim to none. Same goes with spools, reels, and surface markers. No need for every team member to have one of these, so normally one will carry the surface marker, one may have the reel, etc.

Maybe I'm the guy carrying the reel, but perhaps I need to donate air. In this case the reel gets passed off to the buddy without the problem, and we continue on. Same thing goes for the surface marker.

This is what I mean by the equipment belonging to the team, not just the individual who paid for it.:)
 
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