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Fitting Stems and Crowns to Watches

Things to consider when selecting proper crown: (1) color, (2) tap, (3) outside diameter, (4) inside diameter, (5) post length, (6) overall thickness, (7) design of watchcase. The most common problem you will have when fitting stems is that the stem will be cut too short and rendered useless. One good way to fit stems with a minimum of difficulty is to do the following:

  1. Remove old stem.
  2. With movement in case, insert new stem.
  3. If case is waterproof cut stem 1.5 mm from end of case tube; for dustproof cases, cut stem 1.5 mm from edge of case; for watches that use crowns with long posts, cut stem flush with case or tube (see image below).
  4. Remove stem from watch.
  5. Grip stem in notch with end-cutting pliers and screw crown onto stem tightly (see image below).
  6. Replace stem into watch.
  7. Measure the distance from the edge of the tube or case to the inside edge of the crown.
  8. Remove the crown and cut the measured amount off from the stem minus about 0.25 mm to allow for stoning (see image below).
  9. Stone down the end of the stem to make it flat and round over edges (see image below).
  10. Place a very small amount of LOC-TITE or Superglue on the end of the stem.
  11. If waterproof, place a small amount of silicone on case tube, then repeat steps 5 & 6 and you’re done.

Fitting stems will take practice, but if you use this method you will have less problems.

There are some other things to consider when fitting new stems. Check the pilot hole and other bearing surfaces for excessive wear. If worn excessively you will need to purchase or make a new oversized stem to correct the problem.

Quartz watches generally use smaller crowns than mechanical watches.

Cut stem 1 mm from edge of case or tube

Cut stem 1 mm from edge of case or tube

Use end cutting pliers to hold and cut stems

Use end cutting pliers to hold and cut stems

Fresh cut stem on left, stem with end finished on right

Fresh cut stem on left, stem with end finished on right

Finishing stem end using lathe and stone

Finishing stem end using lathe and stone

2017-02-17T09:02:16+00:00

About the Author:

About Carignan Watch Repair Company

Carignan Watch Company was officially started in January 1996. However, long before that, owner Denis Carignan was repairing watches as a hobby. It all began when he found an old pocket watch while antiquing. He was amazed by the craftsmanship and became captivated by what is known as horology.

Over the years, we have repaired and restored thousands of timepieces. We specialize in repairing the timepieces that others give up on. Carignan Watch Company has a large inventory of parts and materials, and we also manufacture parts that cannot be purchased due to age or rarity. We service a variety of timepieces. We are an independent repair shop; we are in no way authorized by, affiliated with, or endorsed by ANY watch manufacturer, company or re-seller, and we like it that way.
About Denis Carignan, Owner, Carignan Watch Company
Many years ago I fell in love with watches and, like many others, I tried having a few serviced by so-called watchmakers and was very disappointed . The “factory authorized service centers” were even worse to deal with unfortunately. When I say I fell in love with watches, I mean it. They fascinate me on many levels and I think it is an absolute shame that it is difficult to get them serviced properly. I began repairing my own watches and before long I jumped in with both feet.

From that point on, watches and the repair of them has been my passion, or perhaps obsession. I have devoted nearly all of my adult life to learning the craft and have been providing people and their watches the best possible services available for may years. When someone says “it cannot be done” or “you can’t fix this,” it sparks something in my mind that is hard for me to stop. At times I have spent hundreds of hours on a project that many other watchmakers had abandoned, determined to see it through no matter what. This is usually not profitable, but it sure is nice to see the look on the customer’s face when I hand them their running watch that is for all intensive purposes “back from the dead.”

If I don’t know something, I ask someone. If I do not have something I need, I find it. If I cannot find something I need, I make it. If something is truly beyond my ability, I admit it and try to find someone who can help. If help cannot be found, I will do everything possible to learn how to do it myself. I take pride in my work, which I enjoy, and I am grateful to God for the abilities he has given me and plan to use those gifts for as long as I can. I came from a long line of engineers, machinists, and inventors, on both sides of my family, so it’s no wonder, I guess, that I am so interested in mechanical things. Every thing I have I worked very hard for. I hope someday my daughter will get into the business, but only time will tell; she is still young.

I am self-employed and independent from any watch manufacturer at this time, for a reason. I do not like being dictated to and refuse to do things that I do not agree with. I am always working on honing the skills I have and learning new ones. I am very well connected and do not shy away from the tough jobs. I take the training I want to take. I work on whatever watch I want to work on, and I use the tools and equipment that I want and deem appropriate to use. I use both antique tools and modern tools that I have purchased over the course of many years. My shop is extremely well equipped and exactly the way I need it and want it. Very few shops have the capabilities that mine does. In my opinion, you should be able to bring your watch to whomever you want to have it repaired; it is your watch and your money. The person you bring it to should be able to get the training, parts, and equipment to service your watch easily and cost effectively, without jumping through constantly-changing hoops and hemorrhaging money. Pomp and circumstance is not something you will find here.