I still can’t believe that one of the most common repairs I perform on watches is to replace a broken crown.  The crown is the little round winder on the side of the watch, typically it is on the right side of the watch, however, sometimes the crown is located in different locations.

Here is a video of the process of replacing the sleeve and crown…

Here are the tools you’ll need to perform this procedure…

  1. Micrometer or millimeter gauge
  2. Drill bits that measure the outer diameter of the new sleeve
  3. Flex-shaft machine
  4. Screwdrivers
  5. Tweezers
  6. Parts Tray(s)
  7. Ultrasonic Cleaner and Solutions
  8. Watch Rinse Solutions
  9. Rawhide or Rubber hammer
  10. Pliers
  11. Watch Holder
Click to order from our Affiliate link!

Parts you’ll need

  1. New Crown
  2. New Sleeve
  3. New Stem (Maybe if the original was broken and is now too short


Order crowns, stems and sleeves from our affiliate link

How to Measure the Sleeve and Crown – Standard Crown

There are several things you need to know about measuring the sleeve and crown.  here is a list that should make it easy.  Remember that all measurements are to be taken in millimeters.

  1. Outer Diameter of the crown
  2. Outer Diameter of the sleeve

With these three measurements, you’ll be able to replace almost all crowns or sleeves


How to Measure the Sleeve and Crown – Screw Down Crown

As with the standard crown and sleeve, with a screw down crown, you’ll need one extra measurement…  You will have to know the tap size of the crown.

In some cases, if you’re not replacing the sleeve, then the outer diameter of the crown, and the tap size of the sleeve, whether it is an outside thread or inside thread is enough.

Match it, and then you can order and install it.


How to find the Right Stem

The one thing about stems you should know, is that are manufactured for specific watches.  Stems can be tough to find, however, you can always contact the manufacturer and order one for a specific model.  However, you must take note that after a certain period of time, even the manufacturer will stop supporting most of their models.  This can make it a bit more difficult.

This is usually much more difficult if you are trying to restore vintage or antique watches, because these parts are almost never available, and you’ll almost always need to find New old stock, or used parts to do your repair.

Many of the step repairs I perform also involve the replacement of the crown.  Keep this in mind, and follow the procedures to measure the correct crown from above.

If you are replacing the step, then you’ll also have to shorten it.  this means that you’ll have to take the time to fit the step in the watch, make sure it is long enough, and if too long, shorten it a bit until you reach the correct length.  Take too much off, and you’ll have to order a new stem, so be careful when doing this.


Thats it…  If you have any questions, then please feel free to ask.


Good luck and happy watch Repair!


5 thoughts on “Replacing the Crown and Sleeve on a watch!”
  1. Hello, I watched your video, so do I use a drill that is slightly smaller than the sleeve IE just fits into it? Also, how do i measure the tap for the crown, what is it? I’ve never replaced a threaded stem and crown. I do not have a drill or bits. If you could link me to them. Also, should the sleeve I buy match the outside diameter for the original sleeve? One last thing, how do I know the crown I buy will be able to fit in the stem?

    1. With modern watches, normally you would just call the manufacturer and order an new post/crown. If the watch is more than four years out of production, in most cases, they will not have them. Generics are available. For Rolex, Tag and other move expensive brands, you can always get the correct parts, even aftermarket… Other average brands, only while in production or shortly after production stops. Older watches, you are better off ordering a complete kit, “crown and Post”, and fit them to the watch. There are tap size tools for stems, crowns and posts… Micrometers work, but not as accurate. And, what ever you do, avoid Invicta. They are not watchmaker friendly, and prefer to get the watches back to factory. If you do not have a business account with a manufacturer, expect to pay full retail. This may be prohibitive for some services, but you need to make that call.

  2. The Crown for my xtum stinson came up missing,, can’t believe it… anyhow, I need the crown but the local swiss repair can’t help with locating the proper crown for this watch.. maybe somebody can help?

  3. Replacing the Crown and Sleeve on a watch is not an easy task. This blog describes all the possible ideas related to it. It will help many people. Because repairing and replacing is a tough task. Thanks for sharing this informative blog. Keep it up and waiting for the next interesting blog.

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