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Rolex Serial Numbers...

Rolex watches feature two sets of identification numbers...
a Serial Number and a Case Reference Number.

On modern Oyster cases (excluding the OysterQuartz),
these numbers are engraved between the lugs,
hidden behind the end pieces (as shown in the images below).

Rolex Case Reference Number Locations. Rolex Case Reference Number (Rolex Model Number) Location.


Rolex Serial Number Location.



ABOVE: Around 2005, Rolex started engraving the Case's Serial Number into the
inside edge of the case (at the 6 o'clock position, under the crystal and below the bezel),
also known as the rehaut, as shown in these images, which were taken
at BASELWORLD 2005, in Switzerland in early April.

BELOW: A close-up view of the same watch, you can clearly see the Serial Number
"F982176", engraved into the case at the 6 o'clock position, with "ROLEX" engraved
repetitiously around the dial in a circular fashion.

A Brief Explanation of the Rolex Serial Numbering System...


In 1927, Rolex began issuing every Rolex Oyster case a unique serial number to distinguish them from one another. This numbering system was originally believed to have started at 20,000, however earlier numbers have surfaced shooting holes in this theory. Around 1953, the numbers reached the 999,999 mark, at which time Rolex decided against adding a 7th digit, thus continuing into the "millions"--Instead, they started the sequence over. While it was originally believed that this resequence started over at 100,000, or even 20,000, but evidence suggests that it actually restarted at 10,000 or possibly lower.

Around this same time, Rolex had initiated another dating system--They stamped the inside of the case back with a code consisting of a Roman numeral and two numbers. The Roman numerals were I, II, III, IV, which represented which quarter of the year the watch was produced. The numbers simply represented the two-digit year in which the watch was produced. Therefore, the code "III 53" would represent the 3rd quarter (i.e. July-September) of 1953--this code continued until around 1970. Please note, some examples (primarily from around 1959), did feature the Roman Numeral and a 4-digit year (i.e. "ii 1959").

In the early 1960s, Rolex once again reached the 999,999 mark, but this time added a 7th digit and continued into the "millions" until mid 1987, when the numbering reached 9,999,999. At this time, Rolex elected to start numbering with a letter prefix (e.g. R000001).

The system started with the letter "R", whcih was then subsequently followed by L-E-X. Thus spelling out the word "ROLEX" with the "O" being omitted, to help avert any possible confusion with the number "0". This sequence continued through November 1991, when a new numbering system was introduced utilizing the letters N, C and S, which took them through 1993. In 1994, Rolex started yet another sequence with the letters: W, T and U, then A, P, and K in subsequent years, followed by Y, F, D, Z, M, V and then G in 2010.

Please note, during the 1990s and 2000s, it is estimated that Rolex produced around around 1 million watches per year. Coincidentally, the numbering sequence of any particular Letter from this system (e.g. V000001 to V999999), would in fact also be 1 million serial numbers, and worked well with this system. It is worth mentioning that Rolex would not cease a letter prefix run at the end of a given calendar year, but would continue a letter run until all numbers were used before changing the prefix code. Therefore, letter prefixes could end at random times of the year, and did not start or stop at the beginning or end of a calendar year.

Then, later in 2010, they scrapped the entire system and implemented a brand new "Random" numbering system, in which each watch is issued a (unique) 8-digit "Random" number consisting of numbers and letters. An example of this number would be something like "16G9L7F4" and could start with either a letter or number. This offers them a seemingly endless numbering system by which they could continue indefinitely. Figuring 8 digits with a possible 36 characters (26 letters and 10 numbers) per digit, gives them over 2 Trillion (2,821,109,907,456 to be exact) possible serial numbers. Even if they were to omit the letters "O" and "I", to help avert any possible confusion with the numbers "0" and "1" (as they did in the previous numbering system), that would still give them 1,785,793,904,896 possible combinations. While this

This also offers Rolex an opportunity to keep the exact year of manufacture for any particular watch a secret. Something that has come back to haunt them for some time now. Therefore, only Rolex knows exactly when any particular watch was made and they aren't talking.



The following "Round Numbers" Serial Number List has been comprised of known serial number ranges for the years listed. By checking a particular serial number against this list you should be able to date a watch with reasonable accuracy. However, it is no quarantee as to when your watch was shipped from the factory. Furthermore, this list only applies to Rolex Oyster-cased watches, and should NOT be used for Tudor, or vintage non-Oyster Rolex watches.

A Tudor (work in progress) Serial Number List is included at the bottom of this page...


The numbers listed (particularly those preceding the letter prefix system) are a "middle number" for the given year. As an example, the year 1944 listed below shows a serial number range of 270000, but this year could include serial numbers below and above this number (i.e. 260000-280000). This is simply the median number represented for that year.

Please Note: John E. Brozek, InfoQuest Publishing, Inc. and this website are in no way associated with Rolex USA, nor any of its associated companies. John E. Brozek does not now, nor has he EVER worked for the Rolex Watch Company or any of its subsidiaries. The information provided on this page is solely the work of the author and has not been reviewed or authorized by Rolex USA. Furthermore, the publishers have received no help from Rolex USA, nor any of its associated companies or any serving employees.



ROLEX

Serial Numbers by Date of Manufacture.

"Round Number" Serial Number List

Serial # ........................Date

20000 .............................1927
22500 .............................1928
25000 .............................1929
26500 .............................1930
28000 .............................1931
28500 .............................1932
29000 .............................1933
32000 .............................1934
35000 .............................1935
37000 .............................1936
40000 .............................1937
55000 .............................1938
71000 .............................1939
90000 .............................1940
106000 .............................1941
150000 .............................1942
230000 .............................1943
270000 .............................1944
302000 .............................1945
400000 .............................1946
529000 .............................1947
570000 .............................1948
600000 .............................1949
650000 .............................1950
700000 .............................1951
800000 .............................1952
900000 ...........................1953
10000 to 300000 .........1953 to 1957
(At this time Rolex started the numbering system back at 10000. This time period also saw the start of the "Roman Numeral" dating system explained above.)
350000 .............................1958
400000 ...........................1959
550000 .............................1960
700000 ...........................1961
800000 .............................1962
900000 ...........................1963
1000000 .............................1964
1200000 ...........................1965
1400000 .............................1966
1600000 ...........................1967
1850000 .............................1968
2300000 ...........................1969
2500000 .............................1970
2900000 ...........................1971
3300000 .............................1972
3750000 ...........................1973
3900000 .............................1974
4250000 ...........................1975
4500000 .............................1976
5000000 .........................1977
5400000 .............................1978
5950000 .........................1979
6400000 .............................1980
7000000 .........................1981
7350000 .............................1982
7750000 .........................1983
8100000 .............................1984
8600000 .........................1985
9000000 .............................1986
9500000 ..........................1987
(Start of the letter prefix system.)
R000001 .........................1987
L000001 .........................1989
E000001 .........................1990
X000001 .........................1991
N000001 .........................1991
C000001 .........................1992
S000001 .........................1993
W000001 .........................1994
T000001 .........................1996
U000001 .........................1997
A000001 .........................1998
P000001 .........................2000
K000001 .........................2001
Y000001 .........................2002
F000001 .........................2003

Also started engraving the serial number inside the bezel (under the crystal)

D000001 .........................2005
Z000001 ..........................2006
M000001 ..........................2007
V000001 ..........................2008
G000001 ...................Mid 2010
Random Numbers ....Late 2010 to present

(Now features 8-digits instead of 7)


TUDOR

Serial Numbers by Date of Manufacture.

"Round Number" Serial Number List

Please Note: The following list is a "Work in Progress" and will be updated periodically.

Serial # ........................Date

240000 .............................1956
250000 .............................1957
260000 .............................1958
270000 .............................1959
280000 .............................1960
340000 .............................1961
340000 .............................1962
390000 .............................1963
430000 .............................1964
430000 .............................1965
560000 .............................1966
590000 .............................1967
620000 .............................1968
680000 .............................1969
740000 .............................1970
750000 .............................1971
770000 .............................1972
790000 .............................1973
810000 .............................1974
830000 .............................1975
840000 .............................1976
860000 .............................1977
880000 .............................1978
900000 .............................1979
930000 .............................1980
950000 .............................1981
970000 ...........................1982
980000 ............................1983
990000 .............................1984
140000 ...........................1985
170000 .............................1986
190000 ...........................1987
210000 .............................1988
260000 ...........................1989
B330000 .............................1990
B360000 ...........................1991
B390000 .............................1992
B500000 ...........................1993
B560000 .............................1994
B590000 ...........................1995
B790000 .............................1996
B850000 ...........................1997
B990000 .............................1998
H130000 ...........................1999
H170000 .............................2000
H240000 ...........................2001
H300000 .............................2002



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