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Rolex Reference Number Guide

Rolex Reference Number Guide
Kseniya Burns

Some collectors prefer to acquire their watches as pre-owned pieces from retailers as well as auction houses.  As the counterfeiters continue to  fill the market with faux Rolex watches, the question of authenticity weighs heavily on the minds of many collectors. Some of the reproductions are so good that only a professional watchmaker can distinguish between an authentic piece and a forgery. We highly recommend that you consult a professional prior to purchasing any luxury watch. However, the information below can help you make a quick determination if the watch you are interested in is a genuine Rolex.

REFERENCE NUMBER APPEARANCE AND LOCATION

A Rolex reference number is as unique as the fingerprints of its owner. Every Rolex has a different reference number that is located between the lugs  of the watch at the 12 o'clock position.  Many counterfeit watches have a completely fictitious reference number and some may not even have one.  Here are a few things that will help you in establishing the authenticity of your Rolex watch based on the reference number:

 

  • The reference number inscription should resemble a diamond engraving and not an acid etched look.  

  • Rolex models pre 1980's carry a four digit reference number.

  • Rolex models released between 1980's and 2000 will have a 5 digit number.

  • The first three digits of the reference number indicate the model type on the traditional Rolex models.

  • Rolex models released between 2000 and the present have a 6 digit reference number with a number "1" prefacing the 5 digit reference number.  The numeric preface may change as more models are being released.

  • The 5th digit references to the bezel type

  • The 6th digit references the bracelet type.

MODELS BY THE FIRST DIGITS

140

Oyster Perpetual Air King and Submariner

142

Oyster Perpetual Chronometer 34mm and Explorer

152

Oyster Perpetual Date Mens 34mm

162

Oyster Perpetual Datejust Mens 36mm

165

Explorer II

166

Submariner, Sea Dweller, Yachtmaster 40mm

167

GMT Master II

170

Oysterquartz Datejust

189

Oyster Perpetual Special Edition

190

Oysterquartz Day Date

1165

Cosmograph Daytona

1182

Oyster Perpetual Day Date

1183

Oyster Perpetual Day Date Serti (with Diamonds)

Below are some of the most popular Rolex models and their reference numbers. Be aware that this is not a complete list of Rolex reference numbers. If you are ever in doubt about a reference number of your watch, a simple Google search will likely tell you if you are in a possession of a genuine Rolex watch. If the internet is of no help to you, we suggest contacting a reputable Rolex dealer, a watchmaker,  or Rolex.

POPULAR MODELS AND CORRESPONDING REFERENCE NUMBERS

MODEL

REFERENCE NUMBER

Air King

1002, 1400, 1401, 4365, 4925, 5502, 5520, 6500, 6552, 7784, 14000, 14000M, 14010, 14010M

Air King Date

5700, 5701

Bubbleback

1852, 1858, 1873, 2240, 2490, 2764, 2765, 2784, 2945, 3009, 3019, 3065, 3130, 3131, 3132, 3133,

3134, 3135, 3347, 3348, 3353, 3358, 3372, 3458, 3548, 3549, 3595, 3598, 3599, 3696, 3725, 3767,

3795, 3796, 3801, 3940, 3951, 4392, 4777, 4919, 4939, 4961, 5001, 5002, 5003, 5006, 5007, 5009,

5010, 5011, 5013, 5015, 5026, 5028, 5045, 5048, 5050, 5051, 5052, 5055, 5087, 5105, 5173, 5488,

6006, 6007, 6011, 6015, 6016, 6048, 6052, 6064, 6065, 6076, 6087, 6106, 6428, 8050, 8052

Big Bubbleback

4467, 6031, 6074, 6075

Chronograph

1074, 1223, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2057, 2226, 2303, 2507, 2508, 2705, 2737, 2811, 2917, 2918, 2920,

3036, 3055, 3082, 3085, 3181, 3233, 3330, 3333, 3335, 3346, 3462, 3481, 3484, 3525, 3529, 3635,

3642, 3668, 3695, 3735, 3827, 3834, 3835, 3997, 4048, 4062, 4099, 4100, 4113, 4311, 4313, 4332,

4352, 4500, 4537, 4767, 4768, 5034, 5036, 6032, 6034, 6036, 6232, 6234, 6236, 6238, 6270, 7131,

7132, 7159, 7169, 8180, 8206, 9162

Chronograph Moon Phase

6062, 8171, 8237

Cosmograph Daytona

1650, 1651, 1652, 1656, 1658, 1659, 6239, 6240, 6241, 6239, 6240, 6241, 6262, 6263, 6264, 6265,

6240, 6241, 16518, 16519, 16520, 16523, 16528, 116509, 116518, 116519, 116520, 116523, 116528,

116589, 116598, 116599

Day Date President

1800, 1802, 1803, 1804, 1805, 1806, 1807, 1808, 1809, 1810, 1811, 1812, 1813, 1814, 1815, 1816,

1817, 1820, 1823, 1824, 1829, 1830, 1831, 1833, 1834, 1836, 1837, 1838, 1839, 6511, 6611, 6612,

6613, 18000, 18026, 18028, 18029, 18038, 18039, 18046, 18048, 18049, 18078, 18079, 18178, 18206,

18206B, 18208, 18238, 18239, 18248, 18249, 18308, 18346, 18348, 18349, 18368, 18369, 18388,

18389, 18946, 18948, 18956, 18958, 118205, 118206, 118208, 118209, 118235, 118238, 118239,

118296, 118338, 118339, 118346, 118348, 118366, 118398, 118399

Explorer

1016, 1427, 5506, 6098, 6150, 6298, 6299, 6350, 6610, 8044, 8045, 14270, 114270

Explorer Air-King

5500, 5501, 5504, 5701

Explorer II

1655, 1657, 16550, 16570

GMT Master

1670, 1675, 6542, 16700, 16750, 16753, 16758

GMT Master II

1671, 1676, 16710, 16713, 16718, 16760,

Master Day Date

1894, 1895

Milgauss

1019, 6541

Oyster Manual-Wind

1069, 1070, 1147, 1237, 1387, 1573, 1880, 1921, 1925, 1936, 2005, 2081, 2136, 2280, 2318, 2319,

2331, 2416, 2420, 2496, 2518, 2574, 2593, 2595, 2701, 2849, 2891, 2942, 2949, 2984, 3059, 3078,

3096, 3116, 3121, 3136, 3139, 3140, 3270, 3351, 3359, 3492, 3511, 3540, 3640, 3646, 3765, 3868,

3882, 3978, 4052, 4068, 4070, 4119, 4125, 4127, 4181, 4219, 4220, 4222, 4271, 4330, 4361, 4365,

4437, 4444, 4448, 4461, 4476, 4483, 4499, 4547, 4556, 4626, 4647, 5000, 5004, 5020, 5025, 5056,

6020, 6021, 6022, 6044, 6066, 6144, 6244, 6246, 6266, 6363, 6418, 6420, 6421, 6422, 6423, 6424,

6425, 6426, 6427, 6429, 6430, 6431, 6432, 6444, 6466, 6480, 6494, 6664, 6694, 7535A, 8011, 8012,

8015, 8023, 8027, 8389, 9659

Oyster Perpetual Time Only

1003, 1004, 1005, 1006, 1007, 1008, 1009, 1010, 1011, 1012, 1013, 1014, 1022, 1023, 1024, 1025,

1026, 1027, 1028, 1029, 1030, 1031, 1035, 1036, 1038, 1039, 1420, 1423, 3172, 3202, 3272, 3323,

3352, 3370, 3483, 3490, 3495, 3496, 3497, 3505, 3536, 3538, 3593, 3594, 3596, 3597, 3627, 3639,

3645, 3685, 3686, 3708, 3724, 3772, 3778, 3785, 3869, 3885, 3886, 3887, 3888, 3926, 3938, 3967,

4013, 4021, 4024, 4025, 4027, 4055, 4130, 4134, 4163, 4164, 4165, 4166, 4167, 4168, 4171, 4172,

4185, 4186, 4187, 4190, 4203, 4214, 4242, 4255, 4302, 4306, 4337, 4350, 4362, 4408, 4436, 4449,

4480, 4486, 4487, 4528, 4534, 4672, 4686, 4804, 4846, 4857, 4937, 5023, 5065, 5080, 5552, 6018,

6023, 6050, 6082, 6084, 6085, 6088, 6092, 6099, 6100, 6101, 6102, 6103, 6107, 6119, 6284, 6285,

6286, 6290, 6301, 6303, 6332, 6334, 6502, 6503, 6504, 6507, 6508, 6509, 6532, 6539, 6540, 6543,

6544, 6545, 6546, 6548, 6549, 6551, 6552, 6553, 6554, 6558, 6559, 6560, 6564, 6565, 6566, 6567,

6569, 6580, 6583, 6584, 6585, 6586, 6587, 6590, 6592, 6594, 6598, 6599, 6614, 6618, 6619, 6621,

6623, 6634, 6706, 6707, 6710, 6711, 6712, 6713, 6715, 6717, 6718, 6719, 6720, 6721, 6723, 6724,

6744, 6745, 6747, 6748, 6749, 6751, 6753, 6754, 6757, 6771, 7575A, 7603, 7605, 7608, 7609, 7614,

7618, 7619, 7623, 7624, 7701, 7708, 7748, 7751, 7806, 7807, 7811, 9210, 9211, 9220, 9221, 14203,

14208, 14233, 14238, 67180, 67183, 67187, 67188, 67193, 67194, 67197, 67198, 67230, 67243,

67480, 67483, 67488, 67513, 67514, 67518

Oyster Perpetual Date

1102, 1500, 1501, 1502, 1503, 1503g, 1504, 1505, 1506, 1507, 1508, 1509, 1510, 1511, 1512, 1513,

1514, 1520, 1521, 1522, 1523, 1530, 1550, 6530, 6534, 6535, 6537, 1500, 1501, 1503, 1505, 1550,

1560, 1603, 1625, 5075, 6547, 6625, 6627, 6740, 6924, 6944, 7576A, 7600A, 7606, 7916, 7919, 7924,

7972, 15000, 15003, 15007, 15008, 15010, 15017, 15018, 15037, 15038, 15053, 15148, 15200, 15203,

15210, 15223, 15238, 15505, 69160A, 69190A, 69240

Oyster Perpetual Datejust

1600, 1601, 1602, 1603, 1604, 1605, 1607, 1610, 1611, 1620, 1622, 1623, 1624, 1626, 1630, 5030,

5031, 6104, 6105, 6155, 6251, 6516, 6517, 6602, 6604, 6605, 6624, 6627, 6800, 6815, 6823, 6824,

6825, 6826, 6827, 6828, 6829, 6830, 6831, 6832, 6833, 6835, 6839, 6900, 6901, 6902, 6903, 6905,

6906, 6907, 6908, 6909, 6910, 6911, 6912, 6913, 6914, 6915, 6916, 6917, 6918, 6919, 6923, 6925,

6926, 6927, 6928, 7815, 7823, 7824, 7825, 7826, 7827, 7828, 7906, 7907, 7908, 7912, 7913, 7915,

7916, 7917, 7918, 7919, 7923, 7924, 7925, 7926, 7927, 7928, 8030, 8031, 8032, 8035, 8065, 8066,

8067, 16000, 16003, 16008, 16009, 16013, 16014, 16018, 16019, 16030, 16058, 16078, 16200, 16203,

16220, 16233, 16234, 16238, 16248, 16250, 16258, 16263, 16264, 68158, 68159, 68240, 68243,

68248, 68258, 68273, 68274, 68278, 68279, 68288, 68289, 69008, 69008A, 69018, 69018A, 69038R,

69038S, 69068, 69068A, 69069, 69069A, 69078, 69078A, 69079, 69079A, 69088, 69088A, 69089,

69089A, 69098, 69108, 69108A, 69118A, 69128, 69128A, 69136, 69138, 69138A, 69139, 69139A,

69148, 69148A, 69158, 69159, 69163, 69163A, 69166, 69168, 69168A, 69169, 69169A, 69173, 69173A,

69174, 69174A, 69178, 69178A, 69179, 69179A, 69188, 69198E, 69198R, 69198S, 69258, 69268,

69278, 69279, 69279A, 69288, 79068, 79078, 79079, 79088, 79089, 79126, 79136, 79138, 79158,

79159, 79163, 79166, 79168, 79173, 79174, 79178, 79179, 79238, 79288, 80298, 80299, 80309,

80318, 80319, 80328, 80329, 80359, 116138, 116139, 116203, 116208, 116233, 116238, 179136,

179138, 179158, 179159, 179165, 179166, 179168, 179173, 179175, 179178, 179179, 179239,

179298, 179368, 179459

Oyster Perpetual Mid-Sized Datejust

6824, 6827, 68240, 68243, 68248, 68273, 68274, 68278, 77080, 77014, 77438, 77518, 78240, 78243, 78246, 78248, 78266, 78273, 78274, 78278, 78279, 78286, 78288, 81158, 81208, 81209, 81308, 81338, 81339, 178158, 178159, 178238, 178239, 178245, 178246, 178248, 178269, 178275, 178278, 178279, 178286, 178288

Oysterquartz Datejust

17000, 17013, 17014

Oysterquartz Day Date

19018, 19019, 19028, 19038, 19048, 19049, 19058, 19068, 19078, 19148, 19168

Prince

1343, 1541, 1768, 1855, 2730, 2771, 2996, 3361, 4402

Prince “¼ Century”

1490, 3937

Prince Railway”

1862

Prince “Sporting”

1564, 1599, 1871

Sea-Dweller

1660, 1665, 1666, 16600, 16650, 16660

Submariner

1406, 5508, 5510, 5512, 5513, 5514, 6200, 6204, 6205, 6536, 6538, 14060

Submariner Date

1661, 1680, 16610, 16613, 16618, 16800, 16803, 16808

Turn-O-Graph Datejust “Thunderbird”

1625, 6202, 6309, 6609, 16253

Tru-Beat

1020, 6556

Yacht Master

16622, 16628, 68623, 68628, 168622, 168623, 168628, 169623, 169628

HOW TO DETERMINE THE CORRECT BEZEL OPTION OF YOUR ROLEX

It is not uncommon to find a truly stunning, genuine Rolex where the bezel, dial, markers and the bracelet have been changed to cater to the style and character of the previous owner. This practice is so widespread that it is commonly accepted as long as the parts are genuine Rolex parts. However, if you are a true purist and want to make sure that your watch is in truly pristine and untouched condition, the following is an explanation on how to determine the original bezel type of your Rolex with a production date starting in the 1980's to the present.

The code that delineates the bezel type is located within the Reference (Model) number of your Rolex. The 5th digit of the number is the bezel code.

BEZEL CODE REFERENCE

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)

HOW TO DETERMINE THE CORRECT BRACELET OPTION OF YOUR ROLEX

If you are purchasing a pre-owned Rolex, it is not uncommon to find that the bracelet has been replaced. As mentioned previously, this generally does not lower the value of the watch unless the bracelet has been exchanged from a precious metal to a leather strap and so on.  In order to determine the bracelet type, locate the  Reference Number  and look at 6th digit. The last digit generally indicates the type of bracelet used for the your particular watch model.

BRACELET CODE REFERENCE

0

Stainless Steel

1

Yellow gold Placor (Tudor)

2

Stainless Steel, White Gold Filled and Platinum (Yachtmaster)

3

Stainless Steel and 18kt Yellow gold (Yellow Rolesor)

4

Stainless Steel and 18kt White gold (White Rolesor), Gold Shell (no longer used)

5

Platinum

6

14k Yellow gold (No Longer Used)

7

18kt Yellow gold

8

18kt White gold

BIC

Bi-Color 18kt Yellow and White gold combo

TRIDOR

18kt Yellow, White and Rose gold

ROLEX CLASP CODES

A genuine Rolex watch will have a set of letters and numbers on the inside of the clasp hinge. The letters and numbers designate the year and the month of the bracelet manufacturing. So if the inside of the bracelet is stamped OP9, that means that the bracelet was manufactured in September of 2006.

Be aware that it is not uncommon to find a newer watch with an older bracelet and vice versa. Especially in the pre owned market, previous owners will often switch out bracelets to match their personal taste. This practice does not devalue the watch as long as the bracelet was replaced with a genuine Rolex bracelet that matches the style and the precious metals in the watch itself.

Some Rolex models came with a leather strap or a cloth strap. This is common in vintage models and dress models.

ROLEX CLASP CODE REFERENCE

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

A

1976

M

1988

AB

2000

B

1977

N

1989

DE

2001

C

1978

O

1990

DT

2002

D

1979

P

1991

AD

2003

E

1980

Q

1992

CL

2004

F

1981

R

1993

MA

2005

G

1982

S

1994

OP

2006

H

1983

W

1995

EO

2007

I

1984

V

1996

PJ

2008

J

1985

Z

1997

LT

2009

K

1986

Z-W

1998

RS

2010

L

1987

X

1999

CP

2011

ROLEX SERIAL NUMBERS

Rolex serial number is also known as the case number or a style number and is located between the lugs  at the 6 o'clock position. The serial number of a Rolex watch is used to date the watch and establish its market value and authenticity.  In the case of vintage watches, the older the watch, the higher the price. Some collectors search for years before they find a specific serial number to add to their collection. Below we explain what each part of a Rolex serial number means and how to establish authenticity of your watch.

Starting in the 1920's Rolex began the practice of stamping all of their watches with serial numbers. In 1950's, the serial numbers reached 999, 999 mark and the  count was restarted from 100,001. In the 1960's the mark of 999,999 was reached once again and in order to prevent confusion, Rolex added a 7th digit to their serial number.  In the 1980's 9, 999,999 mark was reached at which point Rolex began adding a letter to their serial numbers. So far, letters " R", "L", "E", "X", "N", "C", "S", "W", "T", "U", "A", "P", "K, "Y", "F" and "D" were used.

Rolex watches produced between 1950's and 1970's have a Roman numeral and an two digit Arabic numeral code  that appears on the case back.  The Roman numerals that are used are I, II, III, and IV delineating the quarter in which the watch was produced, the two digit Arabic numeral code signifies the year of production.

LIST OF SERIAL NUMBERS WITH THE CORRESPONDING YEAR OF PRODUCTION:

Serial Number:

Year:

28000

1926

21691

1927

24747

1928

28290

1930

29312

1932

29933

1933

30823

1934

35365

1935

99775

1940

269561

1944

710776

1951

930879

1953 (1st Quarter)

931080

1953 (2nd Quarter)

973930

1953 (3rd Quarter)

929426

1953 (4th Quarter)

1259699

1954 (1st Quarter)

282632

1955 (3rd Quarter)

2689700

1956 (1st Quarter)

3741300

1957 (2nd Quarter)

391528

1958 (3rd Quarter)

869868

1962 (4th Quarter)

2163900

1967

2689700

1969

3215500

1971

4004200

1974

6434000

1980

7862000

1983

9766000

1987

R999999

1988

L999999

1990 (2nd Quarter)

E999999

1991

X000001

1991

N000001

1991

C000001

1992

S000001

1993

W000001

1995

T000001

1995

U000001

1997

A000001

1999

P000001

2000

K000001

2001

Y000001

2002

F000001

2003

D000001

2005

Z000001

2006

M000001

2007

V000001

2008

G000001

2009

CLASP CODE: LT

2010

CLASP CODE: E6R, R5

2011

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