A unique Rolex serial number is recorded on each watch, giving it a unique set of numerals for the purpose of identification and record keeping, much like any other product.Older models consist of only numbers but around 1987, Rolex placed a letter at the beginning of the number that would change about once a year until late 2010, which is now a random set of numbers and letters. Each letter at the beginning of the serial number denotes a general production year — but actually I’m not even sure that Rolex has officially stated this anywhere.While it had been relatively easy to ascertain a watch’s approximate age, or year of production using a database of lists assembled over the years, this will no longer be possible with these new random mixed serial numbers (typical samples include “MN72LK22” or “ JH675TR1” ).While there is no “Official” Rolex Serial numbers database list from the Rolex Factory that shows dates of production, this chart below lists all the serial numbers gathered by proven authorities over the years.
The date of market introduction may vary however, so expect to add 6 to 18 months. The public’s only clue is the date listed on the papers or card on the day it is purchased from an authorized dealer, but even then that is only the date sold new and not the date of manufacture. Rolex subsequently change the serial number system to what are called “Randoms”, or sometimes “Scrambled”.Like anything Rolex does, I believe it was introduced without formal explanation to the public.We believe this will help you with one of many questions most prefer not to disclose.e Bay has a selection for model year, but the selections are limited to a range of years.