The Rolex Company was founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, although the company was initially known as Wilsdorf & Davies. The name was changed to Rolex in 1908 and was soon one of the leading watch companies in Europe. Rolex watches continue to be known around the world for their quality and appearance. Older Rolex watches are frequently sold as collector’s items. Determining the date of a Rolex watch takes a few steps.
Remove the watch band bracelet at the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock positions. The serial number and model numbers are located inside the watch band at these locations.
Match the serial number with the serial number and date on a guide to Rolex watches. You can find these guides online at websites such as Pre-Owned Rolex.com and Quality Tyme.net.
Note that Rolex did not necessarily issue watches according to manufacture date. Some serial numbers were issued at the same time. Thus, serial numbers and their dates are meant to be a guide only and cannot guarantee the manufacture date of a Rolex watch. If you are unsure as to the date of a watch, take it to an authorized Rolex retailer for assistance.
Turn the watch over and look at the case back. In 1953, Rolex reached the serial number 999,999. They then began to re-use serial numbers but engraved the case backs with Roman numerals to indicate what serial number series the watch belonged to. For instance, serial numbers in 1955 included ‘200000 II’. Rolex instituted a 7-digit serial number in the 1960’s and began using letters that spelled out “R-O-L-E-X” in 1987.
Contact the Rolex Company in Switzerland if doubt remains as to the exact date of a watch. Rolex Switzerland keeps a precise date record of every watch produced.