Pimp your PloProf
At last some glass with class
It is probably safe to say that in 30 years this has been the first (and hopefully not the last) upgrade for the original PloProf. Back in 2007 Mitch Feig a long time PloProf fan who runs the Ocean7 watch company, got talking to a fellow WIS and together they hit on the idea of upgrading the mineral crystal on these watches. Its long been to our minds a small failing on Omega’s part that these used mineral crystal as these watches do take a beating, especially when diving. In fact, the original crystals seem to get scratched just wearing it in the office... But maybe the DeskDiver’s office has more hazards than most!
In the creation of Ocean7’s watches Mitch works with suppliers around the globe to source parts, so a sapphire crystal didn’t represent too much of a problem for him. However it was a one off deal with only a few being made, which meant that they were expensive to produce. Mitch also had to try several crystal factories until he was successful, because of the odd shape of the crystal
Sapphire crystals are cut from a blank called a boule. This is created by pouring raw 'sapphire juice' (a solution of glue and ground up sand) into of all things a condom, hence the distinctive shape (a technique developed during the second world war when G.I.'s were forced to fabricate their own replacement watch crystals behind enemy lines in liberated bathrooms) It looks well... ‘Dodgy...’
We jest of course. in fact it is grown like a stalactite, being slowly drawn out of a crucible of molten Aluminium oxide in a process that can take up to 14 days. The boule is sliced and then ground to shape and polished, not an easy job with something as tough as sapphire. In fact the only material harder than sapphire is diamond and so all the processing is done with diamond based tools and powders.
As for the specs of this crystal, each crystal is AR coated on the inside only and was made to the exact specifications of the original crystal. One hundred were made, and when they are gone, that's it, forever. One watchmaker who fitted one couldn’t stop talking about how well made they are and how much nicer they were than the original Mineral crystal. High praise indeed from a man who has seen plenty of crystals...
What we did:
1. Pop the bezel off. We used a snap-type case back blade at the lume triangle position and it jumped off with very little force. If its tight don’t force it – you will wreck the acrylic bezel insert and never forgive yourself... So try it a little bit further round the bezel to find where the gap in the spring is, keeping going until you find the sweet spot. Definitely put masking tape on the case to prevent damage. MkII watches did a great tutorial on replacing an SM300 bezel which you should seek out if you don’t understand what were saying here. If the bezel is really gummy, it helps to rock it back and forth slightly whilst holding down the red button.  It also helps to have three hands, but it does make removal easier. . Once off you can now clean up the bezel and the under bezel area with a toothbrush to avoid any grime getting in the watch.
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At DeskDivers we were scratching the mineral xtals all the time and so we’ve installed these in all our PloProfs and have to say that its just a superb upgrade. Not only is the crystal now as tough as the rest of the watch, but the light underside AR coats also adds a light tint that is hardly noticeable most of the time, but when you catch it you realise how it heightens the ‘blueness’ of the classic Omega blue dials.  
Whilst all new Crystals should be installed by a watchmaker, and the watch should be tested for water resistance with any seals and gaskets replaced, of course DeskDivers couldn’t resist doing our own! We know, we know.... LOL
We’ll tell you how we did it, and you are welcome to use these as a base for doing your own.... but if you ruin your watch then we wont bear any responsibility for any errors and omissions or your heavy handedness. Saying that, we didn’t think it was that hard to do and have been happy with the results we gained for less than half an hour’s work start to finish
2. This is next bit is the hardest part. You'll see a lock ring (with slots) overlying the edge of the crystal. That ring screws into the case and holds the crystal into the case, compressing it onto the seal. The slots on the ring are recesses and you open it like you would a screw-down case back. To do this you have to find a tool that fits, and then apply a steady force. An adjustable case back opener with small teeth is perfect, go slow and steady as a lot of these rings have been damaged over time and/or are fouled, also beware you don’t chip the old mineral crystal too much as you don’t want any lumps of it in your watch later. Keep the area clean as you go along.
3. Once the ring is fully undone you can lift it off, and the crystal should fall out if you invert the watch. If it doesn't because of a sticky o-ring underneath or a relative vacuum inside the watch, open the crown and see if that helps.  Sometimes just letting it sit with the crown open for a while is the answer. The watch is really airtight! if all else fails a small sucker or lump of 'Blu-tack' can help.
4. With the old crystal out, have  a little look inside (who can resist!) reassembly is the reverse of removal as Haynes once said.... Or for those who never read a car workshop manual - replace the crystal, lock-ring and snap the bezel back on. ;)
And that’s it! Now take it outside and take some photos of it... That’s what most people who've done this did, as it looks great! Don’t forget the watch must be WR tested after changing the crystal.
As these are not really an Ocean7 product and do not fit any of the Ocean7 range of watches, they are not offered on the OCEAN7 web site. Enquires should be made to orders@ocean7watchco.com especially as time goes on as stock is low
Note: We would like to point out that these crystals were made for the original Omega 600 Seamaster (PloProf) only. They were custom made to the exact dimensions of the original mineral crystal. They were not made by Omega, and have nothing to do with them.
Thanks to SL for the PloProf pic and to Mitch for the boule shot.
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