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  1. #1
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    Default UPO Gen Insert Bezel Mod "Tutorial"

    INTRO

    A number of members stated their interest to learn how I went about modding the gen planet ocean insert so here’s my attempt to post a “tutorial” on the process I followed.

    Mind you that I’m not a modder nor am I super experienced in the rep game. I have learned quite a lot on this forum however, so thanks to RG for that.

    The truth is there’s not that much to it, and I just muddled my way through. Like most things in life, the key ingredient for success is desire. I’m sure there are many other approaches one could choose if they decided to do this mod, so I think it’s not so much my “techniques” that will be of any value, but more so some of the things I encountered and learned along the way that might be of benefit.


    BACKGROUND

    The UPO has always been my favorite rep, and was the first one I purchased. I bought my first one with some mods done but had wanted to go franken once I saw what some of the other members had achieved.

    Not long ago a franken went up for sale at RWG and I snagged it, but it still needed some work. After getting it reassembled only the gen insert mod remained.

    This is a mod only a few were willing to do for me and in the end I decided to go for it myself.

    A number of members responded to my previous post for assistance (dtan888, Tanya, R2D4, Sylar, and others) so thanks goes to all for motivating me to go for it.

    In the end I just decided that I needed to take the chance and opportunity to add a little of my own efforts to personally improve my “grail” watch. To earn my Spartan stripes, so to speak - kind of like when young Leonidas gets cast out naked into the cold...

    IMO, of all the possible mods, including franken parts, the bezel insert is maybe the least important. The rep insert and pearl are very good, especially after getting the pearl relumed; the pearl just sits too low in the triangle. So this is a mod one could live without.

    For me, though, the insert was something I wanted done because the rep pearl is in fact a “tell”, the mod is possible to do, my watch is highly franken, and I had acquired the gen bezel assembly with my purchase.

    Plus, there was a problem with my rep pearl after the re-build. Here’s a pic of my franken with the rep insert – notice the misaligned pearl:





    Somehow it got messed up during the rebuild, which actually turned out to be helpful as you’ll see later.

    So now for me it was necessary to install the gen insert.


    PROCESS

    Here is a pic of the tools I assembled to begin my mod, and one of the gen bezel packaging:







    My strategy going in was to work only with hand tools and take my time. I was not willing to use a dremel or any grinding tool. If you’re experienced with those things then you might want to go that route. Your progress will be much faster I assure you. I didn’t care how long I spent on this, I just wanted to avoid mistakes and get it right.
    Early on I was very cautious (perhaps overly so).


    REMOVING THE REP INSERT

    This was the part I was most concerned about going in. It turned out however to be the easiest part of the project.

    I used a hairdryer to relax the adhesive and because my pearl was misaligned I was easily able to get a pick into the opening and begin to pry up the insert. Easy Peasy.

    I had read that the pearl was a fixed component to the bezel ring and needed to be ground down. That was not the case for me.

    Amazingly, the pearl just lifted out of the recessed area in the ring (it was only held in by glue). I think this was unusual in my case – and was the result of the build out process - though I speculate.





    Do not expect the rep pearl removal to be so easy if you attempt this yourself.


    REP VS. GEN INSERTS/BEZEL RINGS

    Just some visuals to compare the components:








    MODIFYING THE GEN INSERT

    I started by comparing the two bezels for shape. It was obvious that a significant amount of material needed to be removed from the underside of the gen insert.

    The gen insert also appeared to be thicker at the base (both inner and outer diameters), and it looked like it would need to be thinned slightly – but I chose to wait on that.

    The outer diameter of both bezels appeared equal. Later I learned I was wrong about that and it proved to be a critical point.

    I applied masking tape to the insert to try and help protect the surface as I worked, wanting to avoid any scuffing or damage to the outside of the insert (from all the removed material). This is a good idea as I did dull the insert in a few places along the way later on when I didn’t make an effort to protect it. I chose masking tape since it is not overly adhesive and not as likely to lift any paint from the insert when removed.

    Here’s my initial protective cover:





    I made a few of these along the way as I progressed.

    I began by taking the Leatherman file and filing perpendicular to the insert ring, always starting to the left of the pearl and working my way around in a complete circle. With a few exceptions this was the main method of material removal.

    Initially I thought I would just need to remove the obvious protruding inner ring – but that proved to be only the first task.
    As I progressed I noticed a new, secondary inner ring. Here’s a pic:





    That ring needed to be removed as well. So, more filing…

    Common sense said that I needed to go slow, remove material in shallow depths and test fit the bezel. This I did constantly and recommend you do the same. Measure twice, cut once.

    Here the process becomes mundane – file and clean, file and clean, test fit… file, clean, file, clean, test fit... almost endless repetition. I was purposely non-aggressive in my material removal but I will comment that the gen insert is tough and if you’re more willing you can be a bit more aggressive in your approach.

    Some pics taken along the way:











    Notice how the two inner rings become one. This became a goal along the way:





    Sometimes I used a secondary technique where I used the file like a chisel and removed material in a circular (parallel) motion. Doesn’t really matter in the end I think but it was effective at times.

    A new goal emerged and that was to remove all the paint from the underside on the insert. Over time that was achieved.

    Also worth noting is I was especially careful when working near the gen pearl, so as not to do it any damage. The pearl is really the whole point to this, after all.


    A POINT ABOUT MY TECHNIQUE

    Believe it or not I did this work on my bedroom nightstand. Sounds ridiculous but it had its advantages. By sitting Indian style on the floor I was able to rest my elbows comfortably (one on the bed, the other on the nightstand), keep the insert at eye level, and MAINTAIN THE PROPER FILING ANGLE at all times. Fortunately, in this case, I’m not married – I can’t imagine one’s wife putting up with aluminum shavings going everywhere.

    Whatever approach or location you choose, maintaining the correct filing angle (in order to maintain - or eventually achieve - the correct bevel) is essential.


    BACK TO THE PROCESS


    This is about what it should look like when finished:









    So after making much progress and thinking I must be getting close I was not getting the proper seating in the bezel ring. If you look at your UPO now, or check gen photos, you know that the outer insert perimeter sits flush with the bezel ring – I was not achieving that flushness. It started to get frustrating, as I could get one side of the insert to sit flush in ring, and eventually most of the insert to sit flush, but never the whole insert. Examples:

    Early on in the process –





    Later on in the process -





    After pausing to contemplate the dilemma the solution hit me.

    Earlier in the day I installed a gen SSD insert, but in doing so had to sand down the outer perimeter slightly in order for it to fit. I decided to re-measure the gen UPO insert against the rep…

    Well, low and behold the gen insert was actually slightly larger in diameter than the rep! How did I miss this the first time around???

    So I began to sand down ever so slightly the outer perimeter, being very cautious to uniformly remove a small amount of material and test fit. Also, I did the sanding at an angle, leaning the insert to the underside so as to avoid any damage to the visible area.




    After numerous efforts this revelation solved the problem and I was finally able to get a proper seating. Here’s a poor attempt to show how much of the outer diameter was removed:





    I also tried to anticipate the need to accommodate some space under the insert for the adhesive, which I had to guess at.

    Before gluing be sure to remove all the pre-existing glue from the bezel ring (I used a small screwdriver).

    Also, if needed, take this opportunity to polish the bezel ring (Cape Cod cloth) before you install the insert (thanks to Dan (dtan888) for that valuable advice!).





    I asked Vac what glue he recommended and he suggested “G-S Hypo Cement” (white tube, red font) which has been suggested elsewhere on this forum.





    I ordered my tube from the bay. Simple directions. Apparently I had enough spacing and/or used just enough adhesive because I had no subsequent clean up issues.

    Pic of proper seating post-gluing (looks a little high on the right side but I fixed that - pic was taken before glue was fully set):




    Also, in all the gen photos I found the crystal protrudes a little above the insert, so I tried to replicate that look.

    Let the glue set properly then take it for a test drive to the gym. The watch got a little dirty but survived its first test:





    SUMMARY

    Despite all this rambling I think you get the general idea.

    This is an overly anal mod perhaps, and not inexpensive either. The gen bezel ring assembly goes for around $225 or so from Ofrei, and they supposedly take a long time to deliver them these days.

    It is time consuming work, and I’d think a modder would charge a heavy price. I spent probably 4-5 hours or more on it though I didn’t keep track. IF you decide to do it I recommend patience and attention to detail. Also make constant efforts to clean material away from the insert as you work it so you do not dull the insert’s finish.

  2. #2
    Beach Bum

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    Nice work. It looks excellent.

    You're making me want one of those.

  3. #3
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    What a superlative tutorial! Thanks for taking the time to post this! Sticky this post Mods!!

  4. #4
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    Default

    The Insert King speaks!!!! Now you must be cast naked into the cold!!!

  5. #5
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    All this talk about the UPO makes me want one again....

  6. #6
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    Default

    This does deserve a sticky in the Omega forum.

  7. #7
    The Aussie Mod

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by spamh8r View Post
    This does deserve a sticky in the Omega forum.

    agreed, well done a great tutorial, must be UPO time...
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  8. #8
    Waster of time.

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    Such a beautiful piece. You did excellent work. Thanks for sharing.

  9. #9
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    Great tutorial, Centrino!! Sticky, sticky, sticky!!

  10. #10
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    Sticky it is... Its so good.. I want to do that to mine too... but to risky for my skills...

    COngratulations brother... awesome work and job well done. What an accomplishment eh...

    Dan
    "If you can't say anythin nice, dont say anything at all"

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  11. #11
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    Great work!

    I was thinking about doing this mod myself... I now hesitate a bit given the margin for error.

  12. #12
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    Great tutorial Centrino, well worth the wait for.

  13. #13
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    Great tutorial Centrino, looks very easy to damage the expensive gen bezel though, not sure if I'm ready for that yet



    Quote Originally Posted by unregistered View Post
    All this talk about the UPO makes me want one again....
    Unregistered - Not sure why you sold your last one but I'm glad you did, it looks amazing with gen dial, hands and crystal



    MODS - Any chance this could eventually be moved to the Tutorials section?
    Last edited by rc42; 08-11-2008 at 11:32 AM.
    .



    When a member needs help, the RepGeek mods are never far away.....


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    Quote Originally Posted by dtan888 View Post


    Sticky it is... Its so good.. I want to do that to mine too... but to risky for my skills...

    COngratulations brother... awesome work and job well done. What an accomplishment eh...

    Dan
    How about 100,000 GBs for Centrino for daring to risk this mod??

  15. #15
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    Congrats, you have earned your stripes. Now ready your breakfast and eat hearty....for tonight, we dine in hell!!!
    I'm the dude playing the dude disguised as another dude.

  16. #16
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    Fooooking Awesome Centrino! You know what I love about this mod? You did it yourself and it looks like a gen and you did it as good if not better than the modders I have seen doing this type of work. Great job.
    PM anytime.
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  17. #17
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    Great Turorial!!

    Thanks.
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    great tutorial, awesome job....

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtan888 View Post


    Sticky it is... Its so good.. I want to do that to mine too... but to risky for my skills...

    COngratulations brother... awesome work and job well done. What an accomplishment eh...

    Dan
    Dan, Centrino should recieve an award for this as well. It's well written, easy to follow and the photos are very clear. Very Deserving IMHO.
    PM anytime.
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  20. #20
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    Super well done! Kudos for remembering the camera to document the entire process start to finish.

  21. #21
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    That's an amazing job !


    Has anyone ever tried to source an aftermarket bezel insert, instead of the Gen one ?

    I've found this one :




    Problem is : too small for the UPO.

  22. #22
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    This picture is not the same watch
    ???????????

  23. #23
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    why can't we just switch the bezel with the gen bezel, instead of having to take the pearl out?
    OR can we get the gen pearl alone???? where can I get 1.

  24. #24
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    Great writup! thanks! considering doing this on mine as well...do you have any idea of the ballpark cost on the Gen insert?

  25. #25
    bipity bopity boo biatch.

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    this really is an AWESOME write-up bro.

    I can't wait to do this to mine when I get my piece from Sead.

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