How to Align A Seiko Diver's Bezel

This is a guide to the bezel alignment of the Seiko SRPA21 PADI Turtle. Other Turtle models, such as SRP777, also apply since the construction of these watches are the same. Only experienced watch hobbyists should attempt this because a simple overshoot can render the bezel spring to the point of no return.

Seiko is notorious for their bezel misalignment, especially on their dive watches. This issue seems to be persistent throughout Seiko's range of dive watches, regardless of their price point.

The SRPA21 PADI Turtle was used for this guide because it is readily available to us. However, most of Seiko's divers would have a similar design with components consisting of a watch case, spring, bezel, and aluminum insert. To tackle the misalignment issue, we must first understand how a bezel works.

This is a photo of the underside of a bezel and spring. When rotating the bezel, each half-second click is generated by one of the two leaf springs, alternating between the grooved slots under the bezel.The spring clicking against the bezel

Seiko stamps the leaf springs in standard length to interact with the grooves. Fortunately, this also means we can change the length of the tabs, essentially changing where the bezel lands. The above visual illustrates how the leaf springs interact with the grooves on the bezel. The red portion represents a part of the leaf spring to be filed away, resulting in the shift to the bezel. 

Let's get started.

Tools Required:

  • Spring bar tool
  • Small plastic bag
  • Case opener knife
  • File
  • Loupe (optional - to assist you for more precision)

Overview of Tools Required

1. To begin, remove the bracelet or strap.Removing the strap off the watchStrap is off the watch

2. Check the alignment of the watch and take note of how much the bezel is off. Our watch has a 1/4 minute misalignment.

3. Find an open notch under the bezel. Every watch is different - the notch on our watch is located under the 12 o'clock position.The notch gap between the bezel and case

4. Put a small plastic bag between the notch and the case opener to prevent scratches to the watch.Case opener knife on the watch

5. Apply pressure towards the notch and the bezel will pop off.Applying pressure on the knife

6. Remove the bezel and spring.The three components on the table - watch case, bezel, and spring

7. The spring have tabs that are in contact with the underside of the bezel. This is the part we will be filing (shortening) to change the landing point.Close up photo of the spring

8. Remove small and equal amounts of metal on both tabs of the spring using a file. Do not file away too much material as we will be repeating this step in small increments.Filing the spring

9. Seat the spring back onto the watch and install the bezel by applying pressure towards the case. Rotate the bezel to the 12 o'clock position and check for alignment.The bezel aligns properly now

10. If the bezel is not aligned, repeat steps 4 through 9. Do not file away too much material because if your spring is filed too short, you will need a new spring. A replacement bezel spring costs under $20 at the time of writing this tutorial. Shaving the spring

11. When completed correctly, the bezel should align with the chapter ring and hour marker.Before and after photo of the bezel after filing

12. Throw a strap on the watch and you are done!Seiko turtle changed to a SMC ocean blue two piece nylon strapSeiko SRPA21 on two piece nylon strap

That's it! If you need to align a bezel, this is a clean method to do so without separating the aluminum insert from the bezel (which is glued on tight!).

Leave a comment below and let us know your result!

5 comments

Do you know anyone that o could pay to do this?

Joe Mallon March 23, 2020

Thanks for the guide! It worked well for me.

Samuel November 19, 2019

Hi John,

Yes indeed you can! However doing so would risk bending the aluminum insert if it isn’t removed carefully.

SMC Team April 16, 2019

Wouldn’t be eazier to remove insert and glue it again in aligned position?

John April 09, 2019

Easy and clean! This helped me aligned my dive watch’s bezels without having to remove the aluminum inserts. Thanks for the great write up guys!

Johnathan January 23, 2019

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