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History Of Rolex Serial Numbers

Rolex wrist watches are the brainchild of an innovative founder, Hans Wilsdorf, who in 1905, at the young age of 24, founded a company in London with a focus on distributing these timepieces.

He began to dream of a inventing a watch to grace the wrist at a time when it was not very popular. Somehow, he managed to convince people of the reliability of his new resolutely innovative timepieces that were equipped with small, very precise movements and were manufactured by a Swiss-based watchmaking company in Bienne. Thus the Rolex watches were created and production has continued till this day. Today Rolex wristwatches are worn by the upper class in the society and it is seen as a sign of wealth and respect. And one of the reasons why it’s so hard to duplicate Rolex wristwatches is the fact that each one has its own unique serial number that can even be used to identify when the wristwatch was made.

The Rolex serial numbers are special identification numbers that are placed in between its lugs on that side of a Rolex case at the six o’clock side, at the back of the bracelet of a Rolex Wristwatch. It is typically a 4-8 digit number which is furrowed by Rolex on every single one of their watches cannot be duplicated.

Rolex Serial Numbering System

This serial numbering system began In 1927, after Rolex in order to distinguish every one of its Rolex Oyster started inserting a unique serial number to differentiate one from the other. It is believed that this numbering system started from 20,000, but new discoveries have put this assertion to question as earlier numbers have been discovered.

When the number clocked the 999,999 mark the Rolex company decided against turning the number into 7 digits figure and started the numbering all over again and watch enthusiast and historians believe that the real numbering started from 10,000 or even lower.

However, in the early 1960s, Rolex had to introduce 7 digits after it clocked the 999,999 mark and kicked off the millions numbering until 1987 and when the numbering reached 9,999,999. Rolex opted to kick off the numbering with R ( R000,001).

Rolex continued this serial numbering pattern until the letter R was upgraded to include ‘LEX” With the letter O let out of the equation to avoid confusion with the . This pattern was maintained until November 1991 when the company decided to use the letters N,C and S, and these letters were dominant in the serial numbers of Rolex wristwatches throughout 1993 and 1994.

Another serial numbering pattern was introduced and this included the letters W, T, U, A, P K. Others letters like Y, F, D, Z M, V and G was also added in the 21st century.

In 2005, Rolex also started to engrave its serial number inside the flange or “rehaut” of its wristwatch and in some cases just between the dial and the crystal. This pattern was changed in 2008 when the Company started to only engrave the serial numbers on the rehaut.

While on its modern Oyster cases the serial numbers are engraved between the lugs well hidden behind the end pieces.

This unique serial numbering was later scrapped in 2010 and a more random numbering approach was introduced. This random serial numbering consisted of letters and numbers that were randomly placed thus you could have something like this “16T7LF8. This serial numbering system gave Rolex an endless numbering pattern since it could easily be tweaked and it gave Rolex the privilege of concealing the date each Rolex was made which could have been easily dictated by the serial numbers that were previously used by the company.

This also offers Rolex an opportunity to keep the exact year of manufacture for any particular watch a secret. Something that has returned to haunt them through this period now and with this new system only Rolex has the date of when exactly a Rolex watch was made. Also it give Rolex owners the exclusive feeling because they know that the Rolex that they have is on is exclusive to them. So in case of theft it can be identified and returned to its rightful owner.

See the serial number pattern below:

00,001 Date
20,000 1926
20,000 1927
22500 1928
25,000 1929
26,500 1930
28,000 1931
28,500 1932
29,000 1933
32,000 1934
35,000 1935
37,000 1936
40,000 1937
55,000 1938
71,000 1939
90,000 1940
106,000 1941
150,000 1942
230,000 1943
270,000 1944
302,000 1945
400,000 1946
529,000 1947
570,000 1948
600,000 1949
650,000 1950
700,000 1951
800,000 1952
900,000 1953
10,000 to 300,000 1953 to 1957
During this time Rolex started back to 10,000
350,000 1958
400,000 1959
550,000 1960
700,000 1961
800,000 1962
900,000 1963
1,000,000 1964
1,200,000 1965
1400000 1966
1,600,000 1967
1,850,000 1968
2,300,000 1969
2,500,000 1970
2,900,000 1971
3,300,000 1972
3,750,000 1973
3,900,000 1974
4,250,000 1975
4,500,000 1976
5,000,000 1977
5,400,000 1978
5,950,000 1979
6,400,000 1980
7,000,000 1981
7,350,000 1982
7,750,000 1983
8,100,000 1984
7,750,000 1983
8,600,000 1985
9,000,000 1986
9,400,000 1987
R000001 1988
L000001 1989
E000001 1990
C000001 1992
S000001 1993
S860,880 1994
W000001 1995
T000001 1996
U000001 1997
U932,144 1998
A000001 1999
K241,001 2001
Y000001 2002
F000001 2003
F027,000 2004
D400,000 2006
RANDOM 2007 – 2016

These are the serial numbers of Rolex wristwatches from 1926 to today. Rolex remains one of the best and most expensive brands in the entire world. It doesn’t matter which country you reside, a Rolex is a Rolex and an original Rolex wristwatch is always a luxury.