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Fitting Stems and Crowns

From The American Horologist and Jeweler magazine, February, 1942

Fitting Stems and Crowns
By ARCHIE WASSOM, Watchmaker 339 Court St., Salem, Ore.

I think it is time something is, said about the lost and loose crown problem; 1. E. when the customer complains "I can only set my watch one w1ay and the winder comes off when I try to wind it," or "I had a crown put on my watch just two days ago, and now it has come off." From past experience, I have found that if a little more time and precaution were taken by a good many watchmakers, the number of loose and lost crowns would be S0' greatly reduced that seldom would a crown have to be replaced, unless it were worn or the result of a broken stem.

Here are three rules that I have found to be necessary, and a simple procedure to eliminate the crown problem.

FIRST - Always make sure the crown top is the correct size for the stem. And keep a full supply on' hand to insure this. 

SECOND -- In fitting a new stem, don't just cut it off with cutting pliers leaving an irregular blunt surface against which the crown is tightened, but as a better method, check the stem up in the lathe, cut to the correct length, and finish the end to a conical point. Then when the crown is tightened, the P\pointed end will grip the crown and insure it against coming loose. Also, this will prevent a large number of crowns being started cross-threaded, as 1 find in my benchwork. If it seems too much trouble to use your lathe each time, the same results can be obtained by the use of a pin-vise and a file, turning the stem toward you as you push the file in the opposite direction, as taught in the first fundamentals of filing.

THIRD -- When fitting a new stem or crown always remove the dial, properly clean and oil the clutch pinion and bevel gear, as well as the stem· This will insure a minimum of friction on the ratchet stroke. and I am sure the time and trouble saved by taking these precautions will more than cover the time required to perform them. Proper oiling of the setting and clutch levers at the points of friction will reduce greatly the number of worn setting levers, worn stems, stripped detent screws, or complete loss of the stem and crown.

I present these views not as a criticism of my brother watchmakers, but in the hope that they may be helpful suggestions to the many who are faced with the multiple problems of the trade. 

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