Production Year Serial Numbers

Model Number Reference Chart

Since 1927, Rolex has given every watch model a unique serial number that indicates the year of production of the watch. This serial number helps in distinguishing one watch from the other. Rolex generates this serial number in such a way that only Rolex's representatives can decipher the exact year of production of the watch by looking at its serial number. It is engraved at the 6 o'clock position between the lugs. However, in the case of the Rolex Oysterquartz models, it is engraved on the back side of the case lugs.

People are always interested in knowing the exact date of production of the Rolex watch that they intend to buy. There is often a time gap between the production of a model and the final sale and delivery of a particular watch. In addition, as opposed to the stainless steel models, gold models and precious stone-embedded Rolex watches may take longer to find their place on a wrist worthy of such a prime acquisition.

The table below carries the Model Reference Number (not a comprehensive list) for most popular Rolex models:

Changes in Serial Numbers Over Time

Over the years, Rolex introduced several series of numbers to indicate a watch's year of production. The changes brought about in the serial numbers can be explained as follows:

  • Started in 1927, the serial numbers reached the 999,999 mark around 1953.
  • Once the 999,999 mark was reached, it started from 100,001 all over again.
  • Again, in the early 1960s, the 999,999 mark was reached leading to a new series by adding a 7th digit, thus continuing into the millions.
  • Once the 9,999,999 mark was reached around 1987, Rolex introduced a new series of numbers, where each serial number started with a letter prefix. The letters used so far are "R", "L", "E", "X", "N", "C", "S", "W", "T", "U", "A", "P", "K, "Y", "F" and "D." The order of letters was assigned chronologically.

Around 1952, another serial number in the form of a code appeared inside the case backs of all Rolex watches. This continued until around 1970. The code consisted of a Roman numeral and two Arabic numerals. The Roman numeral was any one of the following:

  • I represented the first quarter of the year
  • II represented the second quarter of the year
  • III represented the third quarter of the year
  • IV represented the fourth quarter of the year

The two Arabic numerals represented the two digits of the year of production in the 20th Century.

Chart Containing Serial Numbers and Corresponding Years of Production

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