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1920s Waltham w/ broken stem split collet


Hi experts,

I have a Waltham wristwatch from the 1920s. The movement is a 1907 grade 361, and it's basically functionally OK except for the stem. The little split collet that goes into the case and is supposed to keep the stem in place is broken, so my stem keeps popping out into the set position, or just popping out of the movement and case if I try to wind it. Does anybody know anything at all about sourcing a replacement collet, about putting together some kind of a workaround that allows the watch to function, or maybe anything about fabricating a functional replacement? Thanks a LOT in advance...

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Are you basically talking about the rounded tip/end of the stem ?

Not sure how much luck you'll have finding a replacement but you can get a stem made by someone on a lathe or, hypothetically have the tip laser welded to the stem but I imagine that that might be complicated because the parts are very small but it's doable.

Have you tried eBay and the various watch part online shops ?

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I'll post a photo tomorrow (night time here!) when I have time to take it apart, but I'm *pretty* sure that we're talking about different parts here. This is not a part of the stem, it's just a little piece of metal that goes around the stem and holds it in place so it doesn't pop out of the case. It's literally in the case, not in the movement. 

I'm new to watches, but this is a system for holding the stem in place that I haven't seen on any of the few modern watches I've poked around inside. 

I've looked on ebay, but unless I'm searching with the wrong term, all I can find are junk watches that *might* if I'm lucky have the replacement piece. 

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the little split collet is what allows the stem (on a stem set p0cket watch) to snap in and out.    I don't know of any one making them on  a lathe. it would need to be tempered and designed to work with the stem shape.  I have been lucky enough to find the pair on parts watches.   good luck, let us know how the problem was solved.      vin

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Isn't that called a case tube or something ?

Some are screw in while others are press fit. This might be easy to find, you just have to get the dimensions right. A watchmaker should sort this one out.

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I've never seen a press fit one either.

Apparently some of the smaller sleeves are hard to find now, I made a small one for a friend in the U.S. a couple of years ago and it was a pain to get it right. Way easier to make a normal winding stem.

But there are stocks of these things out there, do some digging.

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18 hours ago, oldhippy said:

I think this is the part he is talking about. Its the stem adjuster that screws in side the case that the stem fits into.



  yes,  a collet and a depth "adjuster".    it must be spring steel or the collet fingers will break off.    I put an "o-ring" on top of this in an effort to keep water out.  vin

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