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Omega Proplof homage Helson Sharkmaster 600 bezel ball/retaining ring rust


RickFlorida
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Hi everyone,

 

I was able to purchase from someone a Helson 600 Sharkmaster which is a great Omega Proplof homage but I immediately noticed a problem after using it in salwater. The ball and/or pusher springs that work with the bezel and pusher were not made of stainless steel and rust.   Has anyone ever been able to change these out to stainless steel parts?  Are these parts the same exact size or use the same parts as Omega?   The pusher itself seems different.

 

I go in the saltwater a lot and really thought a watch that can go 600m deep would not rust so this is very disappointing.  I would love to find a solution and change out the parts to stainless steel.  Even if I have to drill out where the ball bearing to to put in different ones.  I guess that would be the solution?

 

The first picture is my watch.   The second picture is what I found on a forum where the person has the same problem.  Very sad that Peter Helson made a great watch with a super high quality rubber strap and case but then used cheap balls/springs that rust for the  bezel.   

 

It looks like the best way (if the size is right), is to use the genuine Omega ball bearing inserts.   It's part 099ST0002 I believe.   But I don't know if they are the same size.

 

 

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Update to this:

 

A really awesome member here has recently traded some projects with me and in the package I should be getting one of the Omega ball bearing inserts and if I get a proper bezel lift tool, I will see if they are the same size used on the Henson.  I wonder if I could make my own if needed once I see it up close. I believe it's a hollow cylinder with a ball bearing pushed towards one opening.   What keeps the ball bearing pushed towards one opening I don't know.  I assume that the cylinder has a spring inside?  If so, they could be why Peter Henson could not get it all stainless steel as he would have had to have someone make the tiny cylinder, the spring, and the ball bearing all stainless steel.  But what a horrible pain in the ass that such a great tool watch has a rusty part right under the bezel.   I'm very disappointed of what was an almost perfect tool watch homage.  If I can replace the 3 ball bearings with stainless steel, the watch is a beast and can be used in the ocean every day.

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Another interesting update.  Someone named Stefan from Helson said he will send me 3 new ball bearing inserts for free so I can fix it.   That is great customer service from Helson Watches!   So what I will do one I receive them is first I will check the dimensions and compare them with the genuine Omega to see if they are the same size. Next, I will test the new ones from Helson and see if they updated them to stainless steel.  I didn't want to ask Stefan too many questions since they are sending me new ones for free.   If the Helson bearing inserts are still not stainles steel, I will use my fishing reel bearing source who makes them in ceramic instead of steel and try to make my own with ceramic bearings.    

 

stay tuned!

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12 hours ago, oldtools said:

Great! How did Helson hear of your problem? It's nice that they are taking care of you.

Since I had the serial number with the watch, I thought why not ask Helson watches so I emailed them and some guy named Stefan answers me. He sent by FedEx (for free) 3 new bearings for me so when I get them I will see if they are same size as genuine Omega Proplof bearings. I'm still not sure if they ones he is sending me are now stainless or not.  I can't believe how friendly and nice Helson watch people are so I'm sold on them being a good company even though they somehow missed that rusty parts were used on their Helson Sharkmaster 600.  Maybe Helson asked for stainless bearings/inserts but their supplier screwed up and used the wrong material?

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I have good and bad news.  The good news is that I received the package from Helson watches today. They gave me some free spare parts like a bunch of gaskets and of course the 3 ball bearings for the bezel.

 

The bad news........the ball bearings and/or the cylinder insert that is part of them are magnetic meaning they are not stainless steel and will also rust.

So I emailed Stefan from Helson Watches and asked these questions to help us go forward with this ridiculous problem:

 

I have two questions please.
 

Thank you for sending the watch parts. I received the package of extra parts and the 3 new ball bearings for the bezel. However, I noticed the ball bearings are magnetic (stick to a magnet) and thus are not stainless steel.  These will rust in saltwater too.

1. Do the genuine Omega Proplof bearings fit the same or are these different size?    (Then one way to prevent Helson 600 from rusting is to use genuine bearings for Omega Proplof bezel).
2. Is it the tiny ball bearing that is tool steel/ferrous steel or is it the cylinder?  Or is it the whole thing that is not stainless steel?
 
There are ceramic ball bearings if it's the ball bearing you can't get made in stainless steel.  
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9 minutes ago, marsupilami said:

Wow, how did you find that? I didn't know these types of ball bearing cylinder things were a standard item.  I will look into this!   But it looks like the smallest one they sell is too large but great find!  My package from Germany that has one original one in it is close to me, it's in Orlando which is about 100 miles away so I should get the package tomorrow to measure.   

 

But thanks to you, I know understand that these contraptions are a standard type of ball bearing device. In English, they are apparently called "ball plungers" and they are almost always made of stainless steel so it's ridiculous that Helson had them made in ferrous/tool steel that rusts. However, I have yet to find one that is small enough for watches so I wonder if Helson had to have them made from scratch and he could not order a standard one that is small enough.  Standard ones already made are always stainless steel I think.   Also I learned Omega and other watch companies use these for bezels, not just ProPlof. They are sometimes made of ruby or the new Proplof might be ceramic ball bearings.  I will try to make my own out of ceramic balls if I can't find one already made that fits.

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Check the working end of almost any nut driver or socket wrench... there's a ball bearing with a spring.  They've got to be readily available.

 

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