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Rolex Number Reference - Case, Dial, Bracelet, Serial Numbers, Factoids

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Rolex Number Reference

Inserts

Rolex frequently uses numbers and letters to identify model year, model number, bracelet type, as well as other production variables. Although not verified by Rolex, these numbers are fairly prevalent on the Internet. This chart is compiled from various sources on the web and there are some variances on the early years (1925 - 1943). Please contact Minus4Plus6 to report any errors/corrections.

Rolex Serial Number Listing
Like many watch manufacturers, Rolex identifies the production year using either serial number range, or a letter prefix.  The case numbers below roughly indicates the year the watch case was produced and distributed to Authorized Dealers (ADs). The case serial number does not indicate when the watch movement was produced which increases the possibility that the movement is older than the watch case.  Nonetheless, the case number is a generally accepted method to roughly determine the age of a Rolex watch.  The case number is located between the lugs at 6:00PM, and on newer Rolex models starting in 2003 the serial number is located on the Rolex-Rolex-Rolex rehaut at the 6:00 o'clock position.

Rolex reached 999,999 in mid-1950's and began over starting with 100,000. During the serial number transition years during the 1950's, the manufacture date was stamped the inside of the case-back with a Roman numeral designation for quarter. For example, a II 54, indicated for the second quarter of 1954 .

One good resourcefor serial number reference and research is the Vintage Rolex Forum serial number project.

20000 - 1925
21691 - 1927
24747 - 1928
28290 - 1930
29312 - 1932
29993 - 1933
30823 - 1934
35365 - 1935
37596 - 1936
40920 - 1937
43739 - 1938
71224 - 1939
99775 - 1940
106047 - 1941
143509 - 1942
230878 - 1943
269561 - 1944
302459 - 1945
387216 - 1946
529163 - 1947
628840 - 1948
710776 - 1951
840396 - 1952
929426 - 1953 (Year starting the I - IV quarter designation until 1970)
999999 - *1954*
100001 - 1955
139400 - 1956
321884 - 1957
360171 - 1958
399000 - 1959
511687 - 1960
646900 - 1961
763663 - 1962
950000 - 1963
985015 - 1964
1259699 - 1965
1289727 - 1966
1554000 - 1967
2163900 - 1967
2426800 - 1968
2060000 - 1969
2504211 - 1970
3215500 - 1971
3478400 - 1972
3741300 - 1973
4004200 - 1974
4267100 - 1975
4538000 - 1976
5008000 - 1977
5482000 - 1978
5952834 – 1979
6434000 – 1980
6594000 – 1981
7129351 – 1982
7862000 – 1983
8338000 – 1984
8614000 – 1985
9290000 – 1986
9999999 – 1987

Starting in 1987, Rolex added a letter prefix to be able to discern the case production year.

Rxxxxxxx       1987 - 1989
Lxxxxxxx        1988  - 1990
Exxxxxxx        1990 – 1992
X-N                1991 - 1993    
C                    1992 – 1993
S                    1993 - 1994
W                   1994 - 1996
T                     1996 - 1997
U                    1997 - 1998
U                    1998
A                     1998 – 1999
P                     1999 - 2000
K Series (intro mid-2001) 2001- 2002
Y Series (intro mid-2002) 2002 - 2003
F Series         2003
D                     April 2005
Z                      May 2006
M                     October 2007
V                     August 2008
G                     Spring 2010 (and the start of random serial numbers)

 

New Warranty Card Starting in February, 2010, it is being reported that the letter designation on the serial number is disappearing. The new serial number has letters interspersed in the number. (From TKF).
New Card

 


Rolex Clasp Codes
On the inside of the clasp hinge is a code that designates the month and year that the clasp/bracelet was manufactured. When examing watches at an AD or watch mart, do not be surprised if a bracelet is a few years older than the watch case. In modern Rolex watches, it is rare to find a clasp code that is the same year as the watch case.

On the clasp hinge is one two letters followed by a number. The letters represent the year code, and the numbers signify the month. A clasp code of OP9 indicates the clasp/bracelet was manufactured in 2006, and the number indicates the month of September.

A =  1976
B = 1977
C = 1978
D = 1979
E = 1980
F = 1981
G = 1982
H = 1983
I = 1984
J = 1985
K = 1986
L = 1987
M = 1988
N = 1989
O = 1990
P = 1991
Q = 1992
R = 1993
S = 1994
W = 1995
V = 1996
Z = 1997
Z - W= 1998
X = 1999
AB = 2000
DE = 2001
DT = 2002
AD = 2003
CL = 2004
MA = 2005
OP - 2006
EO = 2007
PJ = 2008
LT = 2009
RS = 2010
CP = 2011
Random three character alphanumeric = 2011+
(e.g. CX3, J4M, 5AM, etc)

S = Service: Clasp replaced during a "S"ervice.

 


Model Numbers
On the older paper warranties (prior to 2006 and the plastic card warranty) there is a model number and a dial code. The warranties after 2006 just list the watch model code.

The model code that is both on the warranty as well as in catalogs breaks down as follows:

First three digits designates model on traditional Rolex models:

140 = Oyster Perpetual Air King and Submariner
142 = Oyster Perpetual Chronometer 34mm and Explorer
152 = Oyster Perpetual Date - Mens 34 mm
162 = Oyster Perpetual DateJust – Mens 36mm
165 = Explorer II
166 = Submariner – SeaDweller – Yachtmaster 40mm
167 = GMT Master II
170 = Oyster Quartz DateJust
189 = Oyster Perpetual Special Edition
190 = Oyster Quartz Day-Date
1165 Cosmograph Daytona
1182 Oyster Perpetual Day-Date
1183 Oyster Perpetual Day-Date Serti (With Diamonds)

After 2004-2006, the newer Rolex models have an extra 1 preceeding the model number. For example, a traditional, two-toned bezel GMT has a model number of 16710, but the newer super-cased, ceramic bezeled GMT is listed as a 116710 (extra preceeding 1).

The next digit is the bezel code. For example, a 16710 has a smooth/domed bezel. Professional watches are excluded from this list.

0 = Smooth/Domed
1 = Engine Turned
2 = Engraved
3 = Fluted
4 = Bark
5 = Pyramie (Not Used)
6 = Turn-O-Graph
7 = Various
8 = Special (Not Currently Used)
9 = Open (Not Currently Used)

The next (sixth) digit is the metal code. In the case of a 16710, the 0 signifies stainless steel.

0 = Stainless Steel
1 = Yellow gold Placor (Tudor)
22 = Stainless steel and Platinum (Yachtmaster)
3 = Stainless Steel and 18k Yellow gold (Yellow Rolesor)
4 = Stainless Steel and 18k White gold (White Rolesor)
5 = Gold Shell (No Longer Used)
6 = Platinum
7 = 14k Yellow gold (No Longer Used)
8 = 18k Yellow gold
9 = 18k White gold
BIC = Bi-Color 18k Yellow and White gold combo
TRIDOR = 18k Yellow, White and Rose gold


Country Codes & Red Letters
On watch certificates that are shipped with Non-United States Rolexes, there is a punched number in front of the serial number that signifies the country with which the watch was initially shipped by Rolex Geneva. These numbers come in handy when considering a grey-market watch to discern its where the watch was initially released.

010 - Switzerland
012 - Switzerland
013 - Switzerland
014 - Switzerland
015 - Switzerland
021 - Switzerland
025 - Switzerland
026 - Switzerland
033 - Switzerland
045 - Switzerland
100 - Germany
110 - France
113 - France
120 - Austria
121 - Austria
123 - Austria
126 - Austria
128 - Austria
130 - Belgium/Luxemburg
133 - Netherlands
134 - Netherlands
135 - Netherlands
137 - Netherlands
138 - Netherlands
150 - Spain
160 - England
170 - Italy
200 - Greece
201 - Malta
202 - Turkey
208 - Greece
213 - Portugal
217 - Portugal
226 - Denmark
228 - Denmark
233 - Denmark
237 - Iceland
265 - Sweden
267 - Sweden
270 - Sweden
271 - Sweden
283 - Finnland
321 - Czech Republic
400 - Hong Kong
413 - Korea
430 - Singapore/Brunai
431 - Malaysia
440 - Taiwan
500 - India
505 - Pakistan
527 - Middle East
532 - Saudi Arabia
536 - Abu Dhabi
537 - Dubai
538 - Oman
542 - Iran
548 - Israel
680 - South Afrika
700 - Canada
710 - USA
720 - Mexico
741 - Bahamas
742 - Bermuda
752 - Jamaica
758 - Virgin Islands
761 - Netherlands Antilles
762 - Aruba
765 - Antigua
766 - Saint Martin
767 - Grand Cayman
768 - Panama
770 - Venezuela
780 - Brazil
781 - Chile
783 - Peru
790 - Argentina
810 - Australia
818 - Philippines
828 - China
842 - New Zealand
871 - Hawaii
872 - Alaska
873 - Guam
888 - Hong Kong
900 - Japan
906 - Natex Retail, German NATO Airbase

 

Red Letters

On older United States paper certificates, there are a red letters stamped on the certificate signifying when the watch shipped from Rolex USA to the Authorized Dealer (AD).

R=1
O=2
L=3
E=4
X=5
W=6
A=7
T=8
C=9
H=0

For example a code of A OXCR represents 7 2591 or July 25, 1991


16710 Bezel Insert Numbers

Traditional aluminum bezel inserts are among certain types of Rolex GMT models. For example a GMT 1675 and a 16750 utilize the same insert.

Sapphire crystalled GMT models use the same inserts. A schematic of Rolex bezel inserts and part numbers is posted here (right click and save the .pdf to your desktop).

The part numbers are the first 3 digits means it´s a bezel insert. The next 4 or 5 is for the reference number of the watch and the last number is for the color.

Black with white numbers 315-16750-1
Red/Blue with white numbers 315-16750-6
Bronze/Yellow with yellow numbers 315-16753-5
Black with yellow numbers 315-16753-1
Black with yellow numbers 315-16758-1
Bronze with yellow numbers 315-1675-3
Bronze with yellow numbers 315-16758-3
Black with white numbers 315-16760-7
Black with white numbers 315-16700-1
Red/Blue with white numbers 315-16700-6
Bronze/Yellow with yellow numbers 315-16713-5
Black with yellow numbers 315-16718-1
Bronze with yellow numbers 315-16718-3


Sapphire Evolution: Evolution from Plastic to Sapphire Crystals

Professor Rolex (Matthias) at www.r-l-x.de compiled the following data listing when Rolex evolved from plastic crystals to synthetic sapphire crystals.

  Stainless Rolessor Gold Platinum
Model        
Quartz Beta 21 Ref 5100 -- -- 1970 --
Perpetual Ref. 1530, 1630, 1831 1975 1975 -- 1975
Oysterquartz 1978 1978 1978 --
Air-King 1991 -- -- --
Perpetual -- 1991 1991 --
Date 1989 1989 1989 --
DateJust 1989 1989 1978 --
Turn - O- Graph New Plexi Ref 16250 1989 1989 --
Day - Date -- -- 1978 1978
Submariner 14060 1990 -- -- --
Submariner Date 1981 1984 Ref. 16803 1981 --
Sea-Dweller 1981 -- -- --
GMT Master 1989 New Plexi Ref 1675/3, 16753 1981 --
GMT Master II 1984 1989 1989 --
Explorer 1990 -- -- --
Explorer II 1984 -- -- --
Cosmograph Daytona 1988 1988 1988 --
         

On the right is a technical specification sheet noting the parts in a Rolex Submariner ceramic bezel.

Click the image for a larger print.

Bezel Insert Schematic

 

 

 

 

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