This chart is compiled from several lists to give you an approximation of the earliest numbers seen for certain years.Use it to bracket the number you are looking up to give you a best approximation of the production date for that example.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” ).
Rolex Oyster Case Listings 1926 – 2003 Rolex watches are dated by a serial number which corresponds to the actual manufacture date.
The date of market introduction may vary however, so expect to add 6 to 18 months.
In 2005, however, Rolex began engraving the serial numbers onto the inner rim of the watch, called the “rehaut”, for stylistic reasons.
Beginning in 2010, Rolex stopped following any sequential numbering system or order altogether and now engraves its watches with a randomized, arbitrary unique identifying number.
Lists have been compiled and are available at various places on the net, and these lists are compiled by noting serial numbers and their first time seen on the market, or by their sales invoices matched to specific serials, and by word of mouth..
Rolex has not released their production numbers, or their serial numbers either for what ever reason.
A term that would better serve instead of “year” would be “period”.
It is often misunderstood within the Rolex community that a letter will give the exact production date.
This chart is compiled from various sources on the web and there are some variances on the early years (1925 - 1943).