Why do some watches have degrees on the bezel?

The watch I’m thinking of…


…has them in 15 degree increments up through 360 (although I couldn’t tell exactly from the photo). You can slide the bezel around, but I don’t know why.

Do you?

I remember reading that if you point the hour hand towards the sun, then the 12 O’Clock position is north, but that never made much sense to me because if the sun is overhead, how can you point it towards the sun.

North (or south) of the tropic lines, the sun is never directly overhead.

Rather directly overhead or not, this basic idea can’t be right, can it? In the Northern Hemisphere the sun is always some degree to the south, from ESE thru WSW. Thus at high noon the hour hand (12) would be facing due south.

In the Northern hemisphere, the rule is that south is halfway between the hour hand and 12 o’clock. In the southern hemisphere that’s where north is. It’s approximately correct (within 15 degrees) if DST is not in effect where you are, and you are actually in the “correct” time zone, rather than one chosen to accommodate political boundaries. If DST is in effect, point the imaginary hour hand for standard time at the Sun. If your time zone isn’t actually the appropriate setting for your longitude, you’ll have to compensate for that, too.