Magnetism is typically the arch-nemesis of a mechanical watch. However, there are times that a powerful magnet can prove valuable in a watchmaker’s work. Here’s a quick timesaving tip that employs a strong, neodymium magnet to extract a broken fragment of a winding stem, from an otherwise perfectly functional watch, without needing to take any of the movement apart. Simply take a short piece of steel wire rod of a similar diameter as the stem (one of the replaceable tips from a bracelet pin remover works well) and affix it to the magnet. Depress or unscrew the setting lever as you normally would to remove a stem from the watch movement, insert the magnetized steel rod into the hole for the stem and remove the broken fragment.
Be sure to demagnetize the watch afterwards.