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The Definitive Guide to Watch Stem and Crown Replacement

Written by Annabelle
March 18, 2020

Watches are designed to be fairly durable, but the stem and crown aren’t quite as resilient. Whether it’s catching on the edge of a counter or clothing, it doesn’t take much to yank the whole stem and crown out of the side of your watch. Here’s what you need to know about watch stem and crown replacement.

What Is the Stem and Crown?

The knob on the side of your watch is called the crown, and the little stick that allows for the knob to be inserted into your watch is called the stem. Together, they allow you to set the time on your watch. 

When a stem and crown is damaged, the replacement process isn’t easy. The crown and stem are specific to each other and the model of the watch, so you cannot put in a random crown and stem and expect it to fit. The interior of the crown and the back of the stem are threaded; they’re designed to screw into each other. This allows the components to lock together, and ensures that the crown doesn’t fall out.

How to Get Started on a Watch Stem and Crown Replacement


A Gucci watch bangle before and after stem and crown replacement.

Once you’ve brought the watch to the jeweler/watchmaker, they’ll first check the model of the watch to supply the correct stem. The jeweler also measures the area where the crown sits to provide a new crown in the right size.

After they’ve supplied the new stem and crown, it’s time to attach the components to the watch. With a special vise, the stem is gripped with the threaded side out, and the crown is turned clockwise until it is fitted on the stem. Once the stem and crown are ready, the jeweler checks the watch and ensures that the movement is in the right alignment to insert the other end of the stem. The jeweler then checks to see if the watch hands will move when the crown is twisted.

For watch aficionados who love modifying their timepieces, a custom stem and crown can be inserted into the watch. The jeweler can alter the stem that you supply in order to make sure that it fits into the watch movement. Long stems can be carefully trimmed down by measuring the distance from the case to the crown, and marking off how much of the stem needs to be cut off. 

Cost and Turnaround Time


A stem and crown replacement can range from as low as $50 to upwards of $300. More expensive brands with special designs, such as Longines or Vacheron Constantin, will require more work and even brand-specific components to repair. 

Turnaround time is usually 2-3 days for basic watches, but unique models will require more time in order for the jeweler to source the necessary parts for the replacement. 

Now you’re set on how to get a watch stem and crown replacement! Whether it’s the stem, the crown, or both, your watch can be restored to working condition by an experienced watchmaker.

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