How to Find the Serial Number on a Watch

pencil and barcode image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from

Knowing how to find the serial number on watches provides vital information about its history. You can learn facts about when it was made, who made it and whether it’s counterfeit or the real deal. Watch manufacturers placed serial numbers in different locations on a watch; some easy to see, and others, can only be found if you remove certain parts of a watch. Finding the serial numbers for Rolex, Bulova and Waltham watches can be a little tricky and without a steady hand, may require a professional.

Use a magnifying glass and flip a Bulova watch over. The face of the watch should be facing down. On the back of Bulova watches there is a serial number engraved in the back. All Bulova serial numbers consist of one letter, such as, A; followed by one number. Every letter in the alphabet was used for Bulova watches except for the letters O, Q, R and S.

Remove the watch case from the back of a Waltham pocket watch, using a precision tool set. Use a magnifying glass to locate the notch for easy removal. Look for the serial number on the movement, or turning parts on the inside of the watch. Waltham produced watches from 1852 to 1957, and started with a serial number of 50 in the first year and ended with serial number 35,000,000.

Remove the watch bracelet from a Rolex watch using a small precision tool set. The serial number is in between the lugs, located directly above or below the six and the 12. Since 2005, Rolex has engraved the serial numbers on the inside face of the watch, right underneath the six. Use a magnifying glass to see this serial number clearly.

Things You'll Need

  • Magnifying glass
  • Precision tool kit