What is my Rolex model number?
This is a question being asked frequently. And surprisingly, there are few answers out there. SO in this article, that’s exactly what I’ll answer.
The Rolex model number is what is also known as the reference number. The model number of your Rolex can be found by looking at the reference number of your watch because the reference number refers to a particular watch model, and all Rolex watch models have a unique reference number.
Over the years, Rolex has developed a number of watch models, and in order to better keep track of them, and to know which watch it is, they’ve created the Rolex model number system, where every number in the reference number stands for something, and each of the numbers in the different positions refer to different parts of the watch.
In this article, you’ll learn how to find Rolex model number, and maybe most interestingly, learn what each number of your Rolex model number stand for. As such, by learning what each number and each position of the number mean, you will be able to know exactly which Rolex model it is by only a number.
What is your Rolex model number? Look at the Rolex paperwork
The first and often easiest way to find your Rolex model number is to look at the paperwork belonging to the watch. Most Rolex watches come with the box and papers, but it’s not uncommon that Rolex watches don’t come with box nor papers, at least with older models, as these may get lost over the years.
The Rolex model number is a unique number with 4 to 6 digits. In around 2000, Rolex started adding a 1 at the beginning of some Rolex models, for example going from 16520 to 116520 on the steel Daytona, and this was done to differentiate the new and the old Rolex models that were a ”modern” version of the previous model.
The unique Rolex model number can be found on the paperwork belonging to your Rolex.
Rolexes come with a card, and at the top of this card, you’ll see the Rolex model number.
Now, if you don’t have box and papers, or for any other reason can’t find your Rolex model number by using these methods, you can look up the model number by looking at the watch itself.
How to find your Rolex model number by looking at the watch
In order to find the model number on your Rolex watch, you have to remove the bracelet to find it, since the model number is engraved on the side of the watch, behind the attachment point of the bracelet.
The Rolex reference numbers are unique to a specific model, and often times, Rolex counterfeit watches either don’t have the model number, have a random model number, or a model number of a completely different model than what is replicated.
How to spot if your Rolex watch is fake based on the model number
The Rolex model number can be used to identify fake Rolex watches, and there are several ways to go about doing this.
Here are the top ways to spot a fake Rolex watch based on its model number:
The inscription should be diamond engraved
Rolex watches are inscribed to perfection and have this a perfect diamond engraving. Fake watches tend to have an acid etched look of a low quality.
Rolex watches made before 1980 have a four-digit reference number
Before 1980, Rolex watches had a four-digit model number. As such, if you see a Rolex watch that is made after 1980 with a four-digit model number, it’s fake.
The Rolex model number can help you tell if your Rolex watch is fake or not, but the number can also help you distinguish if your Rolex watch is original or if it has had parts changed to change the style of the watch according to the previous owners’ preferences, or to replace a broken part.
The practice of changing parts of older Rolex’s to give it a new appearance is not something completely uncommon, and it is widely accepted, however, this tends to affect the value of the watch since it is not completely original, and this is something worth paying attention to. Also, if the parts have been changed, it’s important that they are genuine Rolex parts because otherwise, it can be a completely different story.
As such, the Rolex model number may be a way for you to tell if your watch is original or not. The bezel of Rolex watches is among the most common things that people replace or change, and by looking at the model number, you can tell which type of bezel your watch should have. How you do that is something that we’ll go more into detail about further on.
Find your Rolex watch model by searching for it
If you are uncertain on how you find your Rolex watch model, don’t have your box, and don’t want to remove your bracelet, you can simply search for
Note that small visual differences to the watch may result in a different model number, so if you find a watch that looks like yours on the internet, it’s not completely sure that it’s your identical watch and thus that your watch has an identical reference number.
To find your Rolex model number on the web, take a look at the dial of your watch and look for the model name. Some of the model names of Rolex watches are Submariner, GMT Master II, Datejust, Daytona. All model names can be found on the dial of the watch.
Now that you know the model name of your Rolex, search for the model and try to identify the same watch. When you’ve found the same watch, you will be able to get the model number from the watch.
We’ll help you find your Rolex model number
If you’re uncertain of what Rolex model number you have and don’t know what you search for, how to remove the bracelet of your watch, and so on, you are more than welcome to email us with a picture of your watch and we’ll gladly tell you what model number your Rolex has. Our team of experienced watch geeks knows many of the Rolex model numbers in their head, so we are certain that we can help identify the model number of your watch. You can contact us here.
What do the numbers in the Rolex model number mean?
As mentioned, each number from 0 to 9 stands for something. Also, each position in the number of the model number, whether your watch has 4 or six digits, stands for something.
First off, the Rolex watches released between the 1980’s and 2000 have a 5 digit number. Following, the modern Rolex watches have a 6 digit model number, with a ”1” at the beginning of the model number to demonstrate that it’s a modern version of the model.
On the traditional Rolex models, the first three digits of the model number indicate the model type.
The numbers give information about what the watch is, what material is made of, and what type of bezel it has.
The first two or three digits describe the type of watch. In other words which model of Rolex’s collection the watch is. Rolex has a number of different collections, such as Submariner, Day-Date, Datejust, and so on, and that’s what the first two or three digits give information about.
You can take a look at the list below. All existing Rolex models have the following first two or three numbers. Therefore, by learning what the first two or three numbers mean, you can quickly identify which type of variant it is. Then, you have different variants within different Rolex model collections, with different dials, different bezels, and different materials, and this is what the other numbers in the model number give information about.
- Air-King : 55 & 140
- Date : 15 & 150
- Datejust : 16, 162 & 1162
- Daytona Manual wounded : 62
- Daytona Cosmograph : 165 & 1165
- Explorer : 142, 10 & 1142
- Explorer II : 16 & 165
- Sea Dweller : 16 & 166
- Submariner : 16, 166 & 168
- Submariner (no date) : 55 & 140
- GMT Master : 16, 65, 167
- GMT Master II : 167
- Oysterquartz Datejust : 170
- Oysterquartz Day-Date : 190
- Oyster Perpetual : 10, 140, 142
- Day-Date (President) : 65, 18, 180, 182, 183 & 1182
- Yachtmaster : 166, 686, 696, 1686 & 1696
- Midsize Oyster Perpetual DJ : 68, 682, 782 & 1782
- Ladies Oyster Perpetual : 67, 671, 672, 760 & 761
- Ladies Date : 65, 69, 691, 692, & 791
- Ladies Datejust : 65, 69, 691 & 692, 791 & 1791
When it comes to your Rolex bezel, you can, as mentioned identify which bezel your Rolex watch should have based on the model number.
If you have a Rolex watch which is made in the 1980’s and forward, you can take a look at the model number and look at the 5th digit of the number, or, for modern Rolexes with a six digit number, the second last number of the reference number. This number tells you what bezel is on your watch (bezel code)
- Polished: 0
- Finely Engine Turned: 1
- Engine Turned: 2
- Fluted: 3
- Hand-Crafted: 4
- Pyramid: 5
- Rotating Bezel: 6
It’s not completely uncommon that the bracelet of your Rolex has been changed – at least not when you purchase vintage and older Rolex watches. This is because, over the course of many years, the bracelets might break, get worn out, and become loose and uncomfortable.
If the bracelet is changed or not doesn’t tend to have a huge effect on the value of the watch, unless it is changed from precious metal to non-precious metal, or if the bracelet is non-original Rolex, for example, however, since many Rolex purists are looking for watches that are original and have all the original parts – including the bracelet, it may affect the value of the watch.
As such, it may be a good idea to look if the bracelet of the watch is the same material as the materia that should be on that model. The good news is that you can determine the bracelet material type (and watch metal type) by locating the model number and looking at the last digit.
The last digit indicates the type of metal that is used for your watch.
- Stainless steel: 0
- Yellow Gold: 1
- White Gold: 2
- Stainless Steel & Yellow Gold(Two-tone/Rolesor): 3
- Stainless Steel & White Gold: 4
- Everose gold: 5
- Platinum: 6
- 14K Yellow Gold: 7
- 18K Yellow Gold: 8
- 18K White Gold: 9