Your Guide to Rolex Reference numbers

Your Guide to Rolex Reference numbers

Updated at 22/09/2020 18:08 Divers Watches Chronographs Technical Guides Rolex

Ever tried to figure out Rolex ref numbers? Have you been speaking to fellow watchnerds and listen to them recite Rolex reference numbers so easy? 

In this article we will help you break it down . Every original Rolex has a reference number. It is a unique identifier. Collectors know that fakes are out there. Some fakes are so good that it is difficult to tell them apart from the original. Counterfeiters trip up with made up reference numbers or none at all. Bring your knowledge or trust the watch shop

Rolex reference numbers

YOUR ROLEX CONTAINS TWO NUMBERS

A Rolex reference number and Rolex serial number appear on the case of your Rolex. Depending on the year of manufacture, a reference number will be four to six digits. These digits define its features. Serial numbers can be found inbetween the lugs on the side of the case at the 6 o’clock side, behind the bracelet. These 4-8 digit numbers are engraved by Rolex on every watch and it is used to determine its production date

YOUR ROLEX HAS A REFERENCE NUMBER

You can find the reference number on the official Rolex paperwork that came with the watch. If unavailable, you can find it on the watch. Collectors place tremendous value on original on having the original box and correct paperwork.

WHERE TO FIND THE REFERENCE NUMBER

Look for the reference number between the lugs on the 12 o'clock side of the case. If you are holding a 2008 President, for example, it is beneficial to know the location used that year. Rolex shifted the location around over the years.

EACH DIGIT MEANS SOMETHING

The reference number describes the watch. Knowing your way around reference numbers is helpful. The benefit being instant identification. The digits help determine the type and size of the movement, bezel, and case material.
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. In this article we mostly focus on Rolex models released between 2000 and present which have a six digit reference with a number "1" prefacing the 5 digit reference number

When the Rolex reference number is five digits, the first three digits identify the model. The 4th digit refers to the style of the bezel. The 5th digit in the reference number tells you the material of the watch. In modern Rolex watches, the sixth digit refers to the watch’s metal. For watches with a reference number of fewer than six digits, the last number tells you the type of metal.

MODEL TYPE ( Usually the First three characters)

 

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)

266 Submariner (2020)
267 GMT MASTER II (2019)

 

BEZEL TYPE (Usually the 4th character)

 

0

Smooth/Domed

1

Engine Turned

2

Engraved

3

Fluted

4

Bark

5

Pyramid (Not Used)

6

Turn-O-Graph

7           

Various

8

Special (Not Currently Used)

9

Open (Not Currently Used)

MATERIAL (Usually the 5th character)

 

0          

Stainless Steel

1

Steel/Rose Gold

2

Steel/Platinum

3

Stainless Steel and Yellow gold 

4

Stainless Steel and White gold 

5

Rose Gold

6

Platinum

7    

14kt Yellow gold

8

Yellow gold

9

White Gold

BIC

Bi-Color 18kt Yellow and White gold combo

TRIDOR

18kt Yellow, White and Rose  Gold      

BEZEL COLOR

Rolex are a Swiss Company and based in Geneva so French is the official language of the brand. The bezel colors are hence named in french
 

BLRO           

Bleu/Rouge  - Blue and Red e.g 126710BLRO aka "Pepsi"

BLNR

Bleu/Noir - Blue and Black e.g 116710BLNR aka "Batman"

LN

Lunette Noir - Black e.g 116710ln

LV

Lunette Verte - Green e.g 116610LV aka "Hulk"

LB

Lunette Bleu - Blue e.g 116619LB aka "Smurf"

GV

Glace Verte - Green Saphire  116400gv

RBOW

Rainbow Multi colored Saphire set e.g 116595RBOW

CHNR

Chocolat Noir - Brown and Black e.g 126711CHNR aka Root Beer

SABLV

Saphirs Bleu Vert - Blue and Green Sapphire e.g 86348SABLV

SABR

Saphirs, Brillants-  Sapphires and Diamonds e.g 116659SABR

SACO

Saphirs Cognac - Cognac colored Sapphires e.g 16559SACO

SAFUBL

Saphirs Fuchsia Bleu - Fuchsia and Blue Sapphires e.g 86349SAFUBL

SAJOR

Saphirs Jaune Orange - Yellow and Orange Sapphires e.g  86348SAJOR

SANR

Saphirs Noir - Black Sapphires e.g 116759 SANR

SARU

Saphirs, Rubis - Sapphires and rubies 116759 SARU

THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE

Reference numbers represent a reliable way to determine the authenticity of your Rolex. Remember there are always exceptions to the rule. In the case of Rolex, variations exist due to year, method of manufacture, and other factors. Rule of thumb. Consult an expert watchmaker.

CONCLUSION

For the unfamiliar collector, knowing the basics is important. Numbers move around from year to year. The digits contain information as well.. Research is part of the fun of collecting so don’t be shy. Put some effort and energy into educating yourself. Researching designations on a luxury watch is key. Consult a Rolex specialist for clarification. There is an expansive world of luxury watches to make friends with!

THE TIMELESS PASSION OF WATCHNERD.COM

Not content with a watch that only tells time? Special watches are out there. If you are asking yourself how do I choose a watch like this? What should I pay? Is there value behind the brand and price? You owe it to yourself to look closer into the Watchnerd.com buyer decision making guides. Watchnerd.com shows you your options as a buyer. Our guides are indispensable while trying to decide which brand and model is right for you. Watchnerd.com is ready to help.  Our passion is timeless.

 

Comments Thanks to our contributors for their precious 1 comments.

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