What are those tiny little numbers on the bezel of my wristwatch and why do some of them rotate?

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What are those tiny little numbers on the bezel of my wristwatch and why do some of them rotate?

In: Technology

That depends on the type of watch that you have.

If the numbers go from 0 to 60 (and usually those are the spinning type), it is intended for keeping track of time since you started something. They’re called dive watches, used by divers to keep track of how long they’ve been underwater. You spin the arrow to the minute hand of when you started, and when you look you can easily read the difference without remembering any numbers.

Other types have a tachometer. These go from 60 to anywhere from 240-500. If you are racing a car (or any other vehicle) you start your timer and stop it one mile later. The second hand will point at your average speed in miles per hour (also works for kilometers and kilometers per hour)

There are probably other niche watches with different numbers, but these are by far the two most common ones.

As I understand, if there are 0-23, it’s a watch that you can separately set to keep track of a different time zone in 24 hour time. If it’s 0-11, it’s basically the same thing except just 12 hours like the normal hand and you have to remember if the other time zone is AM or PM.