Rolex: How a 109-Year-Old

Rolex Age

Because each new Rolex design is typically evolutionary rather than revolutionary, distinguishing a late model Rolex from an older watch can be difficult. Design differences are subtle. A Submariner purchased in 2000 is often virtually identical to the same reference purchased a few years later.

For Rolex watches manufactured up to 2009, determining the approximate production date is easy. The serial number is sequential from 1926 through the middle of 1987 and the production year can be looked up in a reference table. From mid-1987 through the fall of 2009, the serial number contains an easy-to-understand date code.

It’s worth noting that in 1954 Rolex production reached 1, 000, 000 total units. Rather than letting the sequence continue with seven digit numbers, they reset to 100, 000. When serial number 999, 999 came up again, Rolex continued the serial number sequence into seven digits.

Confusion on the age of watches produced between the mid 1950’s and early 1960’s can often be cleared up because Rolex also put date codes inside many of the case backs of these watches. These codes consisted of a two-digit year and a Roman numeral quarter.

Beginning in the fall of 2009, Rolex went to a random numbering system for serial numbers. There currently is no tool to identify production date for watches produced after that time.

Find the Serial Number of Your Rolex

On all models produced before 2007, the serial # is located between the bottom lugs (where the band connects to the case). The band will need to be removed to view the serial #

The following is an example showing where the serial # is located:

Between 2006 and 2007, Rolex began to engrave the serial number on the dial rehaut, or inner bezel, at the six o’clock position (as well as between the case lugs) on some models. It takes close inspection but the number is visible through the crystal. Between 2008 and 2010, Rolex gradually phased out engraving the serial number on the case between the lugs.

Determining the Production Year of Your Rolex

For watches produced from 1926 until 1987, the serial numbers are sequential. Use the table below to look up the production year of your watch. From 1987 until 2009, the letter preceding the serial number designates the watch’s year of manufacture.

It’s also important to note, the serial number is not an absolute identifier of the watch’s production date. Components may have been stockpiled for some before being used for assembly. But it’s safe to say the serial number provides a 1-2 year range on the age of the watch.

The chart below indicates the approximate production date according to serial number.

This chart indicates approximate production date according to serial number.

Year Serial 2010-present Random/Mixed 1982 7, 366, 000 1952 804, 000 2009-2010 G000, 001 1981 6, 910, 000 1951 735, 000 2008-2009 V000, 001 1980 6, 430, 000 1950 372, 000 2007-2009 M000, 001 1979 5, 959, 000 1949 608, 000 2006-2008 Z000, 001 1978 5, 481, 000 1948 543, 000 2005-2006 D000, 001 1977 5, 005, 000 1947 478, 000 2004-2005 F000, 001 1976 4, 535, 000 1946 413, 000 2002-2004 Y000, 001 1975 4, 265, 000 1945 348, 000 2001-2003 K000, 001 1974 4, 000, 000 1944 284, 000 2000-2001 P000, 004 1973 3, 741, 000 1943 253, 000 1998-2000 A000, 002 1972 3, 478, 000 1942 224, 000 1997-1998 U000, 001 1971 3, 215, 000 1941 194, 000 1996-1998 T000, 001 1970 2, 952, 000 1940 165, 000 1995-1998 W000, 001 1969 2, 689, 000 1939 136, 000 1993 3/4 S000, 001 1968 2, 426, 000 1938 118, 000 1992 1/4 C000, 001 1967 2, 164, 000 1937 98, 000 1991 3/4 N000, 001 1966 1, 870, 000 1936 82, 000 1991 1/2 X000, 001 1965 1, 791, 000 1935 62, 000 1991 1/4 E 999, 999 1964 1, 713, 000 1934 55, 000 1990 1/2 E 000, 001 1963 1, 635, 000 1933 49, 000 1990 L 999, 999 1962 1, 557, 000 1932 43, 000 1989 L 000, 001 1961 1, 485, 000 1931 40, 000 1988 R 999, 999 1960 1, 401, 000 1930 38, 000 1987 1/2 R 000, 000 1959 1, 323, 000 1929 35, 000 1987 1/2 9, 999, 999 1958 1, 245, 000 1928 33, 000 1987 9, 760, 000 1957 1, 167, 000 1927 3, 000 1986 9, 300, 000 1956 1, 095, 000 1926 28, 000 1985 8, 814, 000 1955 1, 010, 000 1925 25, 000 1984 8, 388, 000 1954 935, 000 1983 7, 860, 000 1953
Source: beckertime.com
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