What are Rolex random serial numbers?
All luxury watch brands use serial numbers for their watches. Each timepiece has a unique serial number, similar to a social security code.
Different manufacturers use different formats of serial numbers, and Rolex is a company that has changed its serial number formats over the course of its history.
Today, Rolex uses random serial numbers for its watches.
But what do random serial numbers mean in the context of Rolex?
In about 2010 (Rolex made no announcement, thus the time varies between late 2009 and late 2010), Rolex started implementing a new format for the serial numbers used for their watches.
Random serial numbers mean that the serial numbers that Rolex uses for their watches are not sequential. Prior to the introduction of random serial numbers, you could know when the watch was made by Rolex by looking at the serial number of a watch and comparing it with a serial number resource list. However, this is no longer possible. As such, the only way to
One reason Rolex changed to random serial numbers can be so that people would not be able to see that a watch that is sitting in an authorized retailer’s display window had sat there for years. If the customer would know the watch is old stock, they could use that to negotiate the price or to ask for a brand new watch instead.
Rolex has stated that one reason for the new serial number format is to prevent counterfeit watches. Also, the serial number format prior allowed you to get an idea of how many watches manufactured, and being Rolex, they want their production numbers to be a secret.
It could be all of these reasons, but some argue that it was done to make it more difficult for non-official watch dealers to date their watches.
The random serial number means that it can have any number and letter combination. The random serial number consists of 8 digits, which is a combination of numbers and letters. Prior to this, the serial number had 6 six digits and a letter at the beginning of the serial number. This letter could be used to get an idea of when the watch was made. Do however have in mind that the letter refers to the time when Rolex stamped the case, and not necessarily when they assembled the watch.
How to date a Rolex with a random serial number?
The true answer to this question is that you can’t. It may very well be the case that Rolex’s ”random serial number formats” can be used to date the time of manufacturing, but since it is random, only Rolex will be able to know how to.
The only way you can, in some way, date your watch is by looking at the warranty card. There, the date of purchase will be written, Of course, the date of purchase is not the same thing as the date of manufacture since the watch may have sat in an authorized retailer’s stock for years prior to being sold.
Of course, Rolex will know exactly when a watch was made using the serial number. Some information states that if you take the watch to an authorized Rolex retailer, they will be able to date your watch, however, we have yet to find a Rolex authorized retailer who is able to help with this.
Another way to get an indication of when your watch was made is to look at the accessories it comes with (assuming it comes with any). Rolex watches that do not have a five-year warranty come with a red COSC hangtag. Rolex introduced the five-year warranty in 2015. As such, if your watch has the red tag rather than the green, it was probably Manu
Of course, if you are not the original owner, the accessories may have been added afterward, which makes this way of dating a Rolex watch not so accurate. Lastly, a way to date your watch that can be used in some cases is looking at the reference number (model number) of the watch. Different reference numbers were introduced at different times