How to Tell When Your Rolex Was Made

Whether you’re a Rolex collector or if you’ve just purchased a Rolex you’re particularly fond of, you might be wondering what year your timepiece was made. If you didn’t have any papers or a model number included with your purchase, it can be difficult to just guess the year without any resources. Luckily, there are quite a few tricks you can use to find out what year your Rolex is. 

In this blog, we’ll do a quick breakdown on how to study your Rolex timepiece to find the year on your own.

Find the Serial Number Engraved on the Watch

First things first, you’ll want to check the serial number on your watch. If you’re able to find the serial number, you can check a Rolex reference chart to find the year that it was produced. Depending on what year your Rolex was made, you may find the serial number in several different locations. Truthfully, finding the serial number isn’t always the easiest task, and even when you do find it, depending on the number, it’s not always easy to find the exact year. The reason for this is that historically when Rolex hit 999,999 units, they reset the numbering back to 100,000 so they didn’t end up in the 7-digit range. This happened in 1954, and once they reached 999,999 units again, they allowed the numbering to roll over and reach 7 digits. This can make dating the watches in this range somewhat difficult if you’re not an expert. Additionally, any watch after 2010 has a random serial number, so this isn’t always a reliable method for newer watches.

With that being said, the first place you should look is along the inner bezel. Newer Rolexes often have the serial number engraved here. However, if you have an older Rolex, you’ll need to remove the bracelet with a special tool to view the serial number. The serial number will be located between the lugs beneath the 6 o’clock side on your watch face.

Check the Reference Number as Well

Sometimes your serial number won’t be enough for you to properly identify the date of your Rolex watch. Fortunately, if you followed the steps of removing the bracelet in the last section, you’ll be able to view the reference number of your watch as well. 

The reference model is located on the 12 o’clock side of your watch face, and it can tell you the model of your Rolex watch. Using a reference chart, you’ll be able to find out what type of Rolex it is, the type of bezel and the material the watch is made out of. Once you have both the serial number and reference number in hand, finding the year of your Rolex should be much simpler.


The Clasp Code Is Another Clue

If you’d like even more information about the production year of your Rolex, you can check the clasp code for another clue. 

The clasp code is engraved on the clasp, as you might have guessed. This code dates back to 1976 and can help identify Rolex watches up to 2007. 

Typically, the clasp code alone won’t be able to give you enough information to properly identify and date your watch, but when you have other pieces of information at hand, it can certainly help.

If the Production Date Was After 2010

As we mentioned in the serial number section, dating Rolex watches that were produced after 2010 becomes a bit more complicated. The serial number system used here is randomized, so the serial number isn’t an effective way to pinpoint the year of these Rolex watches. 

At this time, the watch community has yet to come up with a reliable way to identify and track these serial numbers. Therefore, it’s extremely hard for someone who isn’t an expert to date these watches.

Typically, the best way to date a post-2010 Rolex is to check the paperwork and bill of sale. These materials can give you an idea of the date, but it can prove pretty difficult to get the exact year right for these watches without them.


BQ Watches Provides Expert Appraisal

If you want to find out the date of your Rolex quickly and accurately, then choose BQ Watches. BQ Watches is here to help you with all of your luxury watch needs. If you’re needing an appraisal on a Rolex, all you have to do is use our secure mail-in program to send us your watch. You can also drop it off at our showroom in London if you’re in the area. We’ll give you a value for your watch and give you as much detail as possible about the watch itself. If you’re looking to sell, we’ll even offer you a fair and competitive price for it. If you’re not looking to sell, we’ll make sure to get your watch back to you quickly and securely.

Here at BQ Watches, we pride ourselves on being the best in the industry for pre-owned luxury watch services. Whether you need an appraisal, need to sell or exchange your watch, need a repair or are simply in the market for a timepiece to add to your collection, we’re here to help.

If you’re looking for an appraisal, just click below to fill out our contact form. Make sure to provide as much detail in the form as possible and we’ll get back to you right away.

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