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Rolex Serial Numbers - Where to find & how to use them

Rolex Serial Numbers

The Rolex serial number is a combination of alphanumeric digits that is unique to that particular watch and helps to identify that individual Rolex. The serial number is especially useful when buying preowned Rolex, as it can be used to provide some guidance over the year of production of the watch, and also as an insight into the validity of the watch’s title.

Rolex Production Dates by Rolex Serial Numbers

Over the years there have been 3 distinct formats of Rolex serial numbers. These will be explained in more detail below, but firstly, here’s the full table of Rolex serial numbers by approximate year of manufacture. There is no official record of Rolex serial numbers to refer to, and over the years serial number records have been pulled together by hand, and passed on by word of mouth, and via the internet, so there will be inaccuracies amongst the data, but the information we have is as accurate as it can possibly be, and where it's not precise, it will be accurate within a year or two at worst.

Year

From Serial Number

To Serial Number

2010 – Present

G

Random

2010

V

G

2009

V

V

2008

M

V

2007

Z

M

2006

Z

Z

2005

F

D

2004

F

F

2003

Y

F

2002

K

Y

2001

P

K

2000

P

P

1999

A

A

1998

U

U

1997

T

U

1996

W

T

1995

W

W

1994

S

S

1993

C

S

1992

N

N

1991

E

X

1990

L

E

1989

L

L

1988

R

L

1987

R

R

1986 / 1987

9,764,479

9,999,999

1986

9,358,541

9,764,478

1985/1986

9,330,805

9,355,840

1985

8,831,718

9,330,804

1984/1985

8,712,966

8,831,717

1984

8,431,147

8,712,965

1983/1984

8,384,257

8,431,146

1983

7,625,368

8,384,256

1982/1983

7,473,942

7,625,367

1982

7,227,941

7,473,941

1981/1982

7,100,725

7,227,940

1981

6,541,559

7,100,724

1980/1981

6,400,671

6,541,558

1980

6,151,261

6,400,670

1979/1980

6,128,153

6,151,260

1979

5,976,766

6,128,152

1978/1979

5,746,328

5,976,765

1978

5,503,641

5,746,327

1977/1978

5,426,178

5,503,640

1977

5,162,843

5,426,177

1976/1977

4,201,552

5,162,842

1976

4,128,715

4,201,551

1975/1976

4,022,966

4,128,714

1975

3,864,567

4,092,965

1974/1975

3,849,915

3,864,566

1974

3,619,766

3,849,914

1973/1974

3,566,986

3,619,765

1973

3,203,115

3,566,982

1972/1973

3,165,360

3,203,114

1972

2,909,347

3,165,359

1971/1972

2,841,232

2,909,346

1971

2,591,205

2,841,231

1970/1971

2,558,657

2,591,204

1970

2,357,480

2,558,656

1969/1970

2,236,979

2,357,479

1969

1,958,607

2,236,978

1968/1969

1,938,065

1,958,606

1968

1,720,977

1,938,064

1967/1968

1,695,120

1,720,976

1967

1,534,083

1,695,119

1966/1967

1,503,592

1,534,082

1966

1,284,790

1,503,591

1965/1966

1,269,459

1,284.789

1965

1,141,050

1,269,458

1964/1965

1,104,069

1,141,049

1964

997,136

1,104,068

1963/1964

974,198

997,135

1963

950,451,

974,197

1962/1963

919,917

950,450

1962

840,046

919,916

1961/1962

785,297

840,045

1961

688,767

785,296

1960/1961

663,485

688,766

1960

539,969

663,484

1959/1960

530,169

539,968

1959

437,255

530,168

1958/1959

426,481

437,254

1958

381,923

426,480

1957/1958

360,988

381,922

1957

272,289

360,987

1956/1957

261,716

272,288

1956

147,691

261,715

1955/1956

139,167

147,690

1955

63,425

139,166

1954/1955

32,181

63,424

1954

0

32,180

1954

982,115

999,999

1953/1954

974,682

982,114

1953

929,262

974,681

1952/1953

927,301

929,261

1952

874,801

927,300

1951/1952

847,618

874,800

1951

737,106

747,617

1950/1951

723,635

737,105

1950

678,930

723,634

1949/1950

668,504

678,829

1949

648,509

668,503

1948/1949

641,825

648,508

1948

608,519

641,824

1947/1948

607,729

608,518

1947

582,107

607,728

1946/1947

569,373

582,106

1946

455,404

569,372

1945/1946

426,603

455,403

1945

347,442

426,602

1944

269,561

347,441

1943

230,878

269,560

1942

143,509

202,026

1941

106,047

143,508

1940

99,775

106,046

1939

71,224

99,774

1938

43,793

71,223

1937

40,920

43,792

1936

36,856

37,569

1935

34,336

35,365

1934

30,823

34,335

1933

29,933

30,822

1930 – 1932

29,312

29,932

1929

28,290

29,311

1928

23,969

24,747

1927

20.190

21.691

1926

20,000

20,189

Lost and Stolen Check by Rolex Serial Numbers

If a Rolex is lost, stolen or subject to an insurance claim, the watch is usually identified as such by creating a record against its serial number. There are two databases where Rolex serial numbers held that are particularly useful. The first is Rolex’s very own lost and stolen database, which is no longer available to public enquirers and held in house by Rolex for their own use, and made available to Police and similar authorities. The only way you can have a Rolex serial number checked against the Rolex database for a particular watch, is when a watch is taken to a Rolex service centre, or one of it’s agents for works to be carried out on the watch. When this happens Rolex will check the watch against their database, and providing the watch isn’t registered you will receive the watch back with paperwork from Rolex which provides some evidence over the validity of the title of the watch.

The second database is known as ‘The Watch Register’ and their website states that it is ‘the largest international database of lost and stolen watches available for due diligence’. The database is said to have over 70,000 watches registered as lost or stolen, and of these over 22,000 are Rolex. The Watch Register is available for public use and can be accessed for £10 for 1 search.

Whilst both databases are useful in gaining peace of mind over the title of a watch when buying, especially preowned Rolex, it should be noted that just because a watch is not recorded on the either database, it does not mean that the watch is not lost or stolen. Ultimately, if you are buying preowned watches it is worth speaking to your seller to see what provisions they have in place should the Rolex serial number later be discovered to be recorded as a lost or stolen watch.

Sequential Rolex Serial Numbers

The first Rolex watches to carry serial numbers were produced in approximately 1926. Each watch produced was numbered sequentially with a 5 digit code, starting at 00,001. Although no official record of which serial numbers relate to which year, it is possible to give an approximate year of manufacture based on previous records kept. Production years by serial number should be accurate to within a single year. The sequential numbering system extended to 6 digits once 100,000 was reached, but once Rolex got to the verge of 7 digits in 1954, they reset the serial number to start again at 100,000. This meant that between 1954 and 1964 there was an element of duplication of serial numbers and Rolex mitigated this by providing an additional date codes inside the case back. After 1964 Rolex serial numbers increased to 7 digits and ran through to 1987 when, approaching the 10,000,000 mark Rolex changed the serial number system to prevent expanding serial numbers to 8 digits.

Prefixed Rolex Serial Numbers

In 1987 Rolex introduced a system whereby each 6 digit number was prefixed by a letter. Naturally, the first letter Rolex used in this system was R (for Rolex) and in the years that followed they continued with L, E, and the X. Following on from the letters of the brand name Rolex continued with a letter prefixing the numerals which can be approximately attributed to the year of production.

Scrambled Rolex Serial Numbers

The current system employed by Rolex contains a series of 8 alphanumeric characters, and is often referred to as ‘random’ or ‘scrambled’ serial numbers. There is no known year indicator within the serial number configuration, so it’s impossible to identify the date of manufacturer from the serial number of any watch produced numbered in this way since 2010. The only way of getting an idea of the date would be using the date on the warranty card, although this gives the date of warranty registration rather than the date of manufacture.

Where will we find them?

Depending on the year of production of your watch, the serial number would have been originally engraved in one of two places. Up until 2005, all Rolex serial numbers were engraved between the lugs, below the 6 o’clock position of the case. This meant that to read the serial numbers, the bracelet would have to be removed which requires specialist tools.

Rolex serial number between lugs

From 2005 Rolex changed the placement of serial number to make it accessible to all. From 2005 the serial numbers started to be engraved into the rehault (the wall between the dial and the bezel), also at the 6 o’clock position. This can often be red by the naked eye, or depending on how good your eyesight is, with the assistance of a jewelers loupe or an eyeglass. From 2008 onward, all serial numbers were engraved on the rehaut and ceased to include the serial number between the lugs.

Rolex serial number rehaut

If you have the original Rolex warranty card or papers, the serial number of the watch will also appear here. However, we’d always recommend confirming the card or papers match the watch itself by checking the serial number against the one engraved onto the watch.

Rolex serial number on warranty card

What next?

I hope this article answered any questions you may have had in to Rolex serial numbers. Maybe you wanted to know the date of manufacturer to enable you to sell your Rolex, or to check a potential purchase to ensure it's not lost or stolen. Whatever your reasons, please leave your comments below if we can help with any questions related to Rolex serial numbers, or anything else for that matter.