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A case without a winding stem...Now what?

f.webster

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New to watches and I have already be told not to buy a watch case without a winding stem. I understand. But what if you have a case (16s) that doesn't have a winding stem. Do you just pass it on to someone with less knowledge than you?

How do you find a winding stem that fits?
 

musicguy

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Skutt50

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What case are we talking about here?

Many stems follow the movement and not the case. Just need to be long enough so the crown will fit.
On cases where the stem is attached to the case the stem still has to fit the movement. Stems are available with some search and can also be made from scratch. So in short: first find the movement you want to fit in the case and then look for the stem.

If it is worth it depends on how much you want to invest in the watch.................
 
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Jerry Treiman

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Do you just pass it on to someone with less knowledge than you?
Probably quite the opposite. Someone with more experience (and perhaps more spare parts) will likely be able to complete and use such a case, if it is otherwise in good condition. There were many cases from the 1800s where the stems were not part of the case. Some are not quite standard size (such as for Waltham 1872 or 1888 models) and are very desirable.
 

f.webster

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Here we go...

So if I have a case that does not have a winding stem, there is a logical approach to getting one. First, I need to identify the movement that will go into the case. The example I am using here is a 16s case. After getting the case and movement together I should find a pile of appropriate winding stems (like finish to the case, fit into the movement, etc.). Sorting through the stems then to find one that fits into the winding assembly of the movement and into the winding stem opening of the case. Am I on the right track?

I notice that it appears in this case (pun intended) that the winding stem might thread into the case. What other arrangement sound I be aware of?

20191024_140651.jpg 20191024_140705.jpg 20191024_140734.jpg
 

viclip

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Actually the "sleeve" is what threads into the case's pendant. The stem goes into the sleeve which sleeve has springy tongs which enable the stem to alternate between the "wind" & "set" positions.

The sleeve & the stem must be compatible.

Also note that the sleeve is screwed in with a special tool & the position of the sleeve is adjustable based on how far it's screwed in. In the correct position, the watch will wind with the stem in, & set with the stem pulled out (or for a lever setter or for a swing-out case, will allow the movement to be removed from the case or allow the holding ring to swing out, as the case may be).
 

Rob P.

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There are 3 components to a "winding stem".

There's the crown. Then the stem. And finally the sleeve.

Different cases from different eras have differently shaped crowns. Using the wrong crown on a case not designed for that crown makes it look awkward.

Sleeves are different too. Some sleeves are for hunter cases and have the mechanism for opening the cover built into them. Open face cases don't need those style sleeves. Larger cases need larger sleeves. Plus the sleeve has to match the bumps on the stem for size.

Stems are different sizes depending on the size of the movement. A 10 size stem won't fit an 18 size movement, the square end is too small. So you need a stem that fits the movement size. And, as was pointed out, some movements have special stems. Some have a unique size, and some are female type stems rather than male. (And that doesn't even get into helicoidal stems which are really strange beasts.)

Someone with the right knowledge can probably re-stem/sleeve a case in no time flat. The rest of us have to sort through parts and hope we get the right combination of stuff.
 

Jerry Treiman

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There is also the chance that this not a standard case. It is for Waltham's "Equity" line of low-priced watches, many of which were 16-1/2 size.
 

f.webster

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Now I am getting an education (missing when I purchased the case). Thank you all.

The reason I believe it is a size sixteen is the sticker the seller placed on it. The back opening measures 40.7 mm and the front is 42.4 mm. Now the crystal ring (missing crystal) may be on the back and the back on the front (?). I just noticed this morning that they were interchangeable.

I looked carefully at the threads where the sleeve screws in. They look good after cleaning.

20191025_092218.jpg
 

f.webster

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... and another question for the teachers...

I saw an image of a fold-out case (correct me if the terminology is wrong) where the winding stem was in the movement when open. Can any movement be put into a fold-out case? If so, I imagine that the winding stem length becomes critical. The pull out to set function becomes a question. Do fold-out cases require lever set movements? Help me understand.

...asking because I have one of these cases without a movement. .
 

Jerry Treiman

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It sounds like you may be describing a "single-jointed" case.
Calumet.jpg

These cases may or may not take a standard size movement. I have seen them for 16-size and 12-size movements, but also in special odd sizes (such as Waltham's Colonial Series) for factory-cased watches. By the 1900s, most American watch companies were making their movements to interchange with any standard case and stem length should be pretty standard. However, you may also see some of these cases on 12-size Howards, and maybe few others, that have a Swiss-style (negative setting) stem arrangement; in those instances the stem needs to be matched to the case and movement. Lever setting is certainly not required and, in fact, may even be awkward to use.
 

f.webster

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Here are some images of the case that I have. It is different than the case described above because it has the winding stem in the case. Does how the winding stem interfaces with the movement and case depend mostly on the movement or the case?

20191029_093948.jpg 20191029_094035.jpg
 

Rick Hufnagel

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That's called a swing ring case (or swing out case).

The movement mounts to the ring and interacts with the stem when it's closed.

It can be a bit tricky to get the movement installed and aligned correctly if you haven't seen one before.

Do a search for swing ring case above and a ton of threads pop up!