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Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by Tony10Clocks, Feb 19, 2017.
When you have a watch without a stem, how do you determine the correct stem.
What kind of watch do you have?
If I can identify the watch by maker and caliber I search for a stem on line or in tables from stem manufacturer.
If I can't identify the movement it becomes a measurement, trial and error exercise and often some adjustment on a close fitting stem on the lathe.
Pictures please! And have you checked the movement for a maker's trade mark, and calibre number. Check under the rim of the balance wheel, and it is stamped, tell us what it says.
Thanks but i was just saying in general terms. No specific movement, just that if you found a watch with no stem how would you go about finding a replacement. Where can i find the stem tables.
Stem tables? Well, for a start, a Bestfit catalog would be an asset. They are no longer in print, but i think i heard there was a version available on disc. BUT! A catalog is of absolutely NO USE unless you first identify the movement! If there is a trade mark and caliber number on the movement, you don't need " stem tables". If the movement is not marked with identification, the Bestfit book has a "fingerprint" section that can often held with identifcation of the setting parts behind the dial.
Thanks still a lot to learn
When you know the maker and caliber number, cross reference it with a list of movements by Roland Ranfft (google his movement database) to verify that it's the movement you have. Then you can search any part suppliers inventory for the part you need. Part numbers usually refer to the type of part (stem, ratchet wheel, balance complete etc.) and are not movement specific. You need to know the caliber number but you will usually get along fine with the name of the part. Part numbers are more like an abbreviation of the part name, if you will.
Bestfit will tell you if there is interchangeability between different movements. This can come in handy when you can't source a part for your exact movement.
If you measure everything, you can find something that is closest and file a bit off to make it fit. This of course, only works if you have a pile of old stems to pick from.
Since your question was, how to determine the correct stem and you say you have no references. You do. You have the parts the stem interacts with.
I got hold of a large box of stems so the 'make it to fit' approach often works for me too. It doesn't end when you find a close match stem contour as more often than not the length is too short for the case or the thread is too small for the crown... can be a hair puller at times.
It can be interesting yes but a good eye for detail and a memory, one can sift through an assortment of stems and pick out the closest ones very quickly. Strangely enough, sometimes the exact stem may be sitting there.