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How to Recognize a Fake Replica Rolex and a list of real Rolex Serial Numbers


Inferior fakes, such as the ones with quartz movements are very easily recognized, whereas good fakes can be very hard to disguise.

Here is some advice that applies to all mechanical Oysters. Rare, very good fakes will even slip through all these more superficial tests.  When still in doubt, have the seller open the case and check the calibre or refrain from buying the watch.


Look to see if such watch exists!
Go to the ROLEX SITE @ for currently produced models. They have *great* pictures. Refer to literature for discontinued models, which is a lot more complicated.

Check the movement.

  • If the watch is stopped, some clockwise circular movements, no more than two or three should make it run!
  • The second hand has to sweep smoothly. Anything else is a quartz movement and fake. (except for Oysterquartz models).
  • Listen to the ticking. It should be an almost inaudible very fast beat.
  • Apply a quick circular movement to the watch like you would do with a wine glass and then take it to the ear and listen carefully. This makes the winding rotor go round, but you should not be able to hear it. You can on most other auto movements.

Look at dial and hands

  • The dials should bear (or not bear) certain inscriptions, be clearly readable and very nicely colored and finished.
  • Hour markers and hands should match the case. I.e. silver color for SS and golden for gold and two tone models. This rule of thumb however applies only to current models! (There is almost anything else possible with older models.)

Bezels have to match the dial colour *and* the model. See reference number!

Play with the crown. The crown must be a screw down one with a diameter of 6mm (5mm on early Oysters). It must bear the Rolex crown with a line under it or three dots for the trip lock crown on SUBMARINER and SEA DEWELLER models. This one is 8mm. The stem has an o-ring which is revealed when the crown is pulled out.

Check the case finish Rolex cases are very well finished! There are no sharp edges on them except for the lug ends which can hurt. The case sides are flawlessly mirror polished. No Rolex model ever made has a glass bottom. The steel bottom normally bears no hallmarks, no serial numbers, nor Rolex logos. It's just plain, unless someone had it individually engraved. There are also real watches though, that *have* Rolex engraved on the back, along with COMEX, which makes it even highly desirable. Look at the numbers. You should be given the opportunity to take the bracelet off to check the numbers which are located between the lugs.

Serial number, is located next to the 6 and can also tell you the approximate age of the watch. SEE SERIAL NUMBERS BELOW!

Reference number, located next to the 12 is engraved "ORIGINAL ROLEX DESIGN" with a 4 or 5 digit number under it. It has to match the model.

The bracelet.
This is perhaps the most difficult part, as Rolex bracelets are not too well made. In fact they are really lousy for the price of the watches. A genuine one might therefore easily be taken for a fake.

Many people mistakenly believe that if the second hand "floats" the watch is real. However, that alone does not guarantee the authenticity of the watch, but it is true that the second hand moves approx. 6 times per second on a Rolex which makes the movement look "floating". Besides it is very important to check the numbers that are engraved in the clock case between the shoulders - remove the bracelet and check that the model no. of the watch is engraved between the shoulders at 12 o'clock and that the serial no. of the watch - that indicates when the watch was made - is engraved in the clock case at 6 o'clock. If no numbers are found the watch is a fake. If the correct numbers are engraved and it is a steel watch or a gold/steel watch it is almost certain that the watch is real.

If it is a gold watch you should also make sure that the name of Montre Rolex S.A. is engraved inside the works as so-called "Super Fakes" of 18 CT gold engraved with false numbers have been made.

N.B. Gold bracelets, diamond dials, brilliant bezels etc. should always be checked by professionals as it is almost impossible for non-experts to see the difference between real and fake items.

If you have any doubts whatsoever do not hesitate to contact a professional.

A real Rolex watch has a sweep second hand that appears to move steadily around the watch face. A fake, like most other watches, has a second hand that moves with a jerky motion, advancing a little bit each time the balance ring completes one half of a cycle. However, a reader has informed me that even a real Rolex moves its second hand in tiny steps--they're just very small. If you look closely, he writes, you'll see that the second hand makes 5 tiny steps each second. Evidently, the hand-advancing mechanism steps at a higher frequency (5 Hz) than in most other watches (1 Hz). These tiny steps are hard to see so the hand appears to move smoothly. I was relieved to hear this news because the balance ring mechanism is inherently jerky and it's hard to imagine a balance ring-based watch that avoid the jerkiness.

Real Rolex Serial Numbers
Rolex model numbers currently are either four or five digits. The first two or three describes the type of watch. If the watch has five digits, the second from the last describes the type of bezel and the last describes the metal that the watch is made from (There are some exceptions)

----- WATCH TYPE -----
(Oyster Perpetual = 10, 140, 142) (Airking = 55 & 140) (Date = 15 & 150) (Datejust = 16 & 162) (Daytona Manual Wind = 62) (Daytona Cosmograph = 165) (Explorer II = 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) (Day-Date President = 65, 66, 18, 180, 182 & 183) (Yachtmaster = 166, 686 & 696) (Midsize Oyster Perp DJ = 68, 682) (Ladies Oyster Perpetual = 67, 671, 672) (Ladies Date = 65, 69, 691 & 692) (Ladies Datejust = 65, 69, 691 & 692)

----- BEZEL TYPE -----
(0 Polished 1 = Finely Engine Turned) (2 = Engine Turned) (3 Fluted 4 = Hand-crafted) (5 = Pyramid) (6 = Rotating Bezel)

----- METAL TYPE -----
(0 Stainless) (1 = Yellow Gold Filled) (2 = White Gold Filled) (3 = Stainless & Yellow Gold) (4 = Stainless with 18k White Gold) (5 = Gold Shell) ( 6 = Platinum) (7 = 14k Yellow Gold) ( 8 = 18k Yellow Gold) (9 = 18k White Gold)

ROLEX® Serial Numbers & Production Dates
Look For Your ROLEX® Serial Number Below & You Will Find The Year Your Watch Was Made
(28,000 1926) (30,430 1927) (32,960 1928) (35,390 1929) (37,820 1930) (40,250 1931) (42,680 1932) (45,000 1934) (63,000 1935) (81,000 1936) (99,000 1937) (117,000 1938) (135,000 1939) (164,600 1940) (194,200 1941) (223,800 1942) (253,400 1943) (283,000 1944) (348,100 1945) (413,200 1946) (478,300 1947) (543,400 1948) (608,500 1949) (673,600 1950) (738,700 1951) (803,800 1952) (950,000 1953) (999,000 1954*) (200,000 1955) (400,000 1956) (600,000 1957) (800,000 1958) (1,100,000 1959) (1,402,000 1960) (1,480,000 1961) (1,558,000 1962) (1,636,000 1963) (1,714,000 1964) (1,792,000 1965) (1,871,000 1966) (2,163,900 1967) (2,426,800 1968) (2,689,700 1969) (2,952,600 1970) (3,215,500 1971) (3,478,400 1972) (3,741,300 1973) (4,004,200 1974) (4,267,100 1975) (4,539,000 1976) (5,006,000 1977) (5,482,000 1978) (5,958,000 1979) (6,434,000 1980) (6,910,000 1981) (7,386,000 1982) (7,862,000 1983) (8,338,000 1984) (8,814,000 1985) (9,290,000 1986) (9,766,000 1987) (9,999,999 1987 1/2) (R000,000 1987 1/2) (L000,001 1989) (E000,001 1990 1/2) (X000,001 1991 3/4) (N000,001 1991 3/4) (C000,001 1992 1/4) (S000,001 1993 3/4) (W000,001 1995) (T000,001 1995 1/2) (U000,001 1997 1/2) (A000,001 1999) (P000,001 2000 1/2) (K000,001 2001 1/2)

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 such as R, then L, E & X. (ROLEX without the O) N, C, & S came out during the early to mid 1990's, W, T & U a little later. The latest letter prefixes are all running concurrently this way only Rolex knows the exact date that any watch was actually produced.

ROLEX® Phone Numbers/Fax
New York City / US HQ & Service Center (212) 758-7700 Dallas Service Center (241) 871-0500 Los Angeles Service Center (310) 271-6200 Montres Rolex in Geneva: Intl 41-22 308 22 00 Intl Fax 41-22 300 22 55`


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Watches Sales

The largest collection of
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Watches Sales: The largest collection of watches and clocks on the web