Rolex’s watches have two key numbers associated with them. These numbers are etched directly into the metal of the watch case and can tell you a great deal about your watch. 

The two numbers are:

The serial number: a unique identifier that is different for every single watch and can be used to determine the production date of that watch. 

The reference number: which is sometimes known as the model number. 

How to find the serial and reference number

The reference number is always found on the 12 o’clock side of the watch case between the case lugs.

The location of the serial number varies depending on the age of the watch:

Pre-2006, serial numbers were only found on the opposite side of the watch case to the reference number, on the 6 o’clock side between the case lugs. 

In 2005, Rolex began laser-engraving the serial number on the inner bezel, or dial rehaut, as well as between the lugs of the 6 o’clock side of the case. In 2008, the company switched to only engraving the serial number on the inner bezel, as this is much harder to counterfeit.

The inner bezel is the ring that runs around the inside of the watch’s bezel, perpendicular to the face. Rolex watches made from 2005 onwards will have the word ‘Rolex’ repeated around the inner bezel, with the brand logo at the 12 o’clock position and the serial number at 6 o’clock.

Once you’ve found your Rolex’s serial number, check my website database to discover its production date.

CHARLEY PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Charley had to run some errands this week, including making a stop at the Watch Shop.