Rolex Watch Production Dates by Serial Number
Serial numbers are located at 6 o'clock between the lugs and under the bracelet on most Rolex except quartz models.
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When Rolex reached the 999,999 production serial in the early 1950's they restarted the production serial at 100,000 rather than begin a 7 digit number at 1,000,000. During this time Rolex was also putting the date code on the inside of the case backs. Look for the Roman number I, II, III or IV for the quarter & two Arabic digits for the year.
In the late 1950's, Rolex again reached the 999,999 production serial & started their 7 digit numeric numbering system at 1,000,000 for production serials, this continued until the 1990's until production serials reached 9,999,999.
Rather than begin an 8 digit production serial, Rolex instead began their serials with a letter prefix (1987 _) such as R, then L, E & X. Rolex did not use an "O" as to be confused with a zero. Every year to date, serial numbers start with a letter and run to 9,999,999 and then a new letter starts.