How To Replace A Stem End For Swiss Army Watch

Do you need to learn how to replace a stem end for a Swiss Army watch? It depends of course on what end you are wishing to replace, the threaded (if it is threaded) end of the stem itself or the crown end of the stem for a Swiss Army watch. The crown end of the stem is the visible knob which is used to wind or set an analog movement watch. Given the fact that the inside portion of the stem is much less likely to get damaged than the crown which is exposed, this article will discuss the replacement of the crown itself.

Items needed to replace a stem end for a Swiss Army watch:

  • Watch holder
  • Soft cloth
  • Case back wrench
  • Case knife
  • Screw drivers
  • Pointy tweezers
  • Fine needle nose pliers
  • Digital calipers
  1. Remove the case back.  Place the Swiss Army watch in case holder or lay on soft cloth. Use the correct tool and remove the case back from the watch. Some watches will need the case back wrench, some will need the case knife and some will need proper fitting screw drivers. Take care not to damage any case back gaskets.
  2. Inspect the crown.  Look carefully at the crown to determine how it fits into the watch movement. There will either be a screw holding it in place, or a small detent which uses a lever to open. If you wriggle the crown you will see the lever move (if it uses one). Find the dimple on the lever where you will press to release the detent
  3. Remove the crown and stem end.  Use the correct tool, either the pointy tweezers or a screw driver and remove the crown and stem end from the Swiss Army watch. If you unscrew a screw you will not always have to remove the screw completely to remove it.
  4. Remove the crow from stem end. Use the fine needle nose pliers and unscrew the crown from the stem. In some cases they will not come apart so the entire assembly will need to be replaced.
  5. Measure the crown.  Use the digital calibers to measure the crown. You will want to measure the crowns diameter, and height. These measurements should be taken in Millimeters as that is how they are normally sold. If the crown is a screw down crown you will next measure the screw threads which screw into the crown tube. Next measure the stem portion which screws into the crown. All measurements will be used to order your new crown. If you could not remove the stem you will have to measure and order a new stem also.
  6. Determine crown type and color. Crowns come in domed or flat so pick the correct type. The replacement can be stainless steel or plated, so pick the type you need.
  7. Order new crown. Using all information you gathered order new crown.
  8. Replace crown and stem end.   Fit the crown to the stem end.  Use the needle nose pliers and gently thread the crown onto the stem end. Insert it into the watch movement to insure its fit. Once you determine it fits and is ready to final install, remove the crown and stem end and use a dab of glue on the end of the stem end before screwing it in place into the crown. Let dry and insert the crown into the watch.
  9. Put case back on your Swiss Army watch.  Use the correct tool and replace the case back on the Swiss Army watch. Make sure not to damage the case back gasket or it will need replacing to still be water resistant.

You have now replaced the stem end on your Swiss Army watch. Not an overly hard task, but one that takes attention to detail, a few special tools, and patience. For most people it is a process which is best left to a qualified watch maker, rather than buy the tools needed for one use. Enjoy your fine Swiss Army watch, may it serve you for many years to come.  

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