How to remove stem and crown from Gruen 426 movement

Thread: How to remove stem and crown from Gruen 426 movement

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    How to remove stem and crown from Gruen 426 movement


    I came across this 1945? Gruen and I am trying to polish the case and the acrylic. I would like to remove the movement for this, but can’t figure out how to remove the stem and crown. Can anyone assist please?

    thank you in advance.
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  2. #2
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Re: How to remove stem and crown from Gruen 426 movement

    Without propertools, you don't have much of a chance. You need a watchmaker's screwdriver for this (i.e. a really thin, fine one). You then pull out the crown to the setting position, loosen the small, sunken screw next to the winding stem a turn or two (no more - don't remove it completely!) and then pull out the winding stem completely. After that, you will hopefully be able to lift out the movement from the case. This should be done with rubber gloves on to avoid putting fingerprints on the movement or the next service should come up rather sooner than one would hope (technically: immediately afterwards!).

    Hartmut Richter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Maine, USA

    Re: How to remove stem and crown from Gruen 426 movement


    I agree with Hartmut: this looks to be something for someone with the right tools: it's easy to make a mistake when working on these watches, and some damage is Forever!

    If you do decide to carry-on, be very careful when you insert the winding stem: it wants to go in 'just' so far ( so as to allow the screw Hartmut spoke of, to move a piece that fits into the groove in the stem ). Some watches are very fussy here, and it is not at all easy to get the screw to wind all the way in...and, if you think it's in and you push the stem in to confirm your work and you're wrong, you may foul the setting / winding mechanism...and you will need to remove the dial to reset things. No fun!

    Take a very close look at where the stem is when you pull it out to the setting position: when you reinstall it, try to move it to just the same spot...this way, you'll have a very good chance of succeeding.

    This is a nice Gruen. Well made & well finished. Some folks may suggest it would be 'better' if it were more than 15 Jewels, but they're forgetting (?) that Rolex used 15 Jewels to pretty-good advantage...!


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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Thank you Harmut and Michael. Both of you gave me great advice.

    I’ve had good luck “working” on a Vostok I have here. Nothing major, just polish and cleaning. The movement on that watch was easy to remove.

    I have the slightest clue how to service a watch or anything like that. I just wanted to make this watch shine some more and have the movement serviced by someone that knows the craft. I certainty don’t want to ruin the watch. I’m planning on getting a nice leather band and wear it ocassionaly.

    The watch runs for a few hours then it stops. If I pick it up, I will start running again. Seems to run better and last longer if it’s face up. Hopefully I’ll fine a watchmaker that will work on timepieces like these locally.

  6. #5
    Member bsshog40's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015

    Re: How to remove stem and crown from Gruen 426 movement

    I can't add anymore that Hartmut and Michael have told you. As you can see in the pic, this is the screw for releasing the stem. It takes a very very very small screwdriver. Also, it is only turned about 1- 1 1/2 turns to release the stem. You have to pull the stem to the setting position and then turn the screw until it releases. If the screw is turned too far, big mess. The stem lock would have to be reset which entails removing the dial. By the looks of it being a subsecond, then you would have to have a nice hand removal tool.Name:  A43A7E92-16B1-45AC-9D90-1E3D9D7EBB33.jpeg.jpg
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  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Basshog40, thank you for the input. Upon close inspection I noticed that screw. Originally thinking it was a push pin, but glad I didn’t move forward until I got some feedback/advice here.

    Sounds like solid advice to slowly turn that screw half turn at a time until the stem comes out. (No more than 1 1/2 turns) I really don’t want to have to remove the dial and all of that.

    Being I’m new to mechanical watches, I’ll be as careful as I can while removing the movement. I can’t tackle the polishing of case and acrylic no problem.

    I’ll patiently wait until I get the watch serviced and ready to be worn on the wrist.

    Thank you again for all the info. I appreciate it.

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