How to Choose the Perfect Bezel and Insert for your Seiko Mod
Choosing the perfect bezel and insert for your Seiko mod can significantly impact the overall look and functionality of your watch. That’s why even if it may be a simple mod, you still need to give it a lot of thought before purchasing the parts you will be upgrading to.
In this guide, we will talk about all the things you need to consider before deciding on your next bezel and bezel insert. Let’s not waste more time on introductions, on to the guide!
First, What’s the Difference
Most people often confuse the bezel and the bezel insert, which isn’t at all surprising since these two are very closely linked to each other both physically and in terms of functionality. One will not work without the other.
First, let’s talk about the bezel. The bezel is a metal ring that attaches to the front of the watch case and surrounds the crystal. It may be a stationary component, or it can also be made to rotate so you can make better use of the bezel insert.
The bezel insert then, is a ceramic, aluminum, or stainless-steel part that goes on the bezel, and bears markers that add extra functionality to a watch such as a countdown timer, 24-hour markers for the GMT, and so on.
Now that we’ve explained the difference, let’s look into how you can choose the perfect one of each.
Choosing the Bezel
Bezels, especially aftermarket ones that are made for Seiko mods, are almost always going to be made of stainless steel to match the case material. There will sometimes be bezels made of bronze or plastic, but these will come as part of a set, and normally you wouldn’t want to mix cases and bezels of different materials.
Since the make is the same, you’ll want to focus more on the specific design of the bezel, which in turn will depend on the mod you are trying to make. If you are making a minimalist mod like a tool watch or even a dress watch, you’ll want to look for a pilot bezel. This type of bezel is not meant to rotate, so you will not find any ridges or patterns on it unless you have it engraved.
Bezels for diver mods on the other hand, are a bit more decorative, both for the sake of aesthetics and functionality. Since they are designed to rotate, diver bezels will have patterns that improve finger grip. Submariner style bezels have uniform grooves on the upper half of the bezel, Seiko style ones have the appearance that will remind you of a bicycle gear. Coin edge bezels, as the name suggests, have slim ridges like what you would see on coins, and knurled bezels have cris cross sections that drastically improve grip.
Once you have chosen what pattern you’d like to use, the only thing really left to decide on is the color. Most Seiko modders like to match the color of the bezel to the color of the case for a seamless look, but you can also add a gold bezel on a stainless case, or a silver bezel on a black case, to create a two-tone look.
Choosing the Bezel Insert
Bezel inserts come in a much bigger variety than bezels, so there are more things to consider. Expect to spend twice the amount of decision-making time for the insert than you have for the bezel.
Aftermarket bezel inserts are most commonly made of ceramic. It’s a very durable material that’s virtually unbreakable once you slot it in the bezel, and it has a polished finish that adds style to a mod. They are also quite scratch-resistant and is the material of choice if you want to keep the look of your watch for a couple of years.
The next most common is aluminum, which is less durable than ceramic but has much better color accuracy and features a matte finish which gives it a more subdued look. If you’re going for vibrantly colored inserts, you’d want to use aluminum.
You also have stainless steel inserts which are perfect if you want to give your diver mod a more industrialist look. Stainless steel inserts are rarely painted, but they can have a polished or brushed finish to match the look of your case.
There are also glass bezel inserts that give mods a vintage look, thanks to its raised contours that are reminiscent of aesthetics from the 70s and 80s.
Source: @little.horologiarium on IG
Looking for a bezel insert with a unique material? Check out our forged carbon bezel insert which has a very interesting pattern that will surely make your watch stand out from the crowd!
Choosing which color to get a bezel insert in all comes down to personal preference, but as a general guideline, you’d want to choose an insert that complements the look of your dial. If you’re already using a vibrant dial, you’d want to use an insert in the same hue or a neutral one. If using a black dial, you can be more playful with the insert, maybe even use a two-tone one like a “Coke” or a “Root Beer” insert. Again, these are just guidelines and not strict codes to follow – in the end, it all comes down to your tastes.
Inserts have different markers to add different functionalities to your watch. The most common for Seiko mods are 60-minute timers which are designed so you’d be able to tell how much oxygen you have remaining on your tank when going on dives.
Another trendy insert to use are those with 24-hour markers, which are a must if you’re doing a GMT mod. This allows you to track another international timezone with the GMT hand. If you just want to track a different time zone that’s not over 12 hours from where you live, a dual time insert with 12-hour markers will suffice.
An insert type that bakers, teachers, health practitioners, and other professions with time-sensitive tasks would appreciate are countdown timers, which look like 60-minute markers but in reverse orientation.
Lume or no Lume?
Source: @little.horologiarium on IG
If you’re building a diver watch, one detail that you’d like to have is luminescent markers on the bezel insert. Having legible markers is a must have when diving, and lume will help you check your current oxygen levels. Even if you’re just building a desk diver, lume is a must-have to get the appropriate look!
If it’s a watch made for use in a professional setting, you can probably skip the lume and stick to simpler painted markers.
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