I purchased a used Alpha Milsub and I when I received it I started comparing it to the Rolex 5517 Milsub. There were several differences that I noticed and the more that I researched in the 'Affordable' forum, the more I started looking into modding the Alpha Milsub. Below are the items that I changed.
1.) Hands - The first thing that I noticed on the Alpha was that the hands were slightly smaller than the 5517. I did some searching and found that Raffles Time had some hands that would be a nice upgrade. The hands that I purchased were yellow and not white like the Alpha's.
2.) Crystal - The crystal in the Alpha is a flat mineral crystal, so to match the dome crystal of the 5517 I purchased a GS Lo Dome watch crystal (30.6mm) from Esslinger. I pressed out the mineral crystal, removed the bezel insert and then used a crystal lift (purchased from Esslinger) to install the new dome crystal.
3.) Bezel insert - The bezel insert on the Alpha only has minute marks up to 15. I purchased a new aftermarket 5517 bezel insert on the bay, but after receiving it and test fitting, the bezel insert's outside diameter was to small. After doing a lot of searching, I purchase a milsub style insert from Dagaz which is for a Seiko. The new insert's outside diameter was about 0.5mm to large (which I knew when buying). I reduced the outside diameter by 0.5mm and it fit perfectly.
4.) Aged dial - After installing the new yellow hands, they didn't match the white markers on the dial. I baked the dial in the oven for 1 hour at 400 degrees (F) and then put submerged the dial for 5 minutes in some coffee. The dial markers match the hands and have a nice cream color.
5.) Nato strap - The used Alpha that I purchased came with a black zulu strap, but it was 22mm instead of 20mm, so it was to big. I purchased a new 20mm G10 Nato strap from the bay.
Below are some pictures of the completed watch.