Rolex: Did you get the right number?

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the print edition of the latest issue of The Luxury Journals.. Click here to see the full issue.

Behind a rich history of more than 115 years, Rolex have been worn by millions of people. Apart from the aesthetic aspect or the colour, visible to the naked eye, there is now one difference between two apparently similar models: the reference numbers. But what do they mean ?


First introduced in the 2000s, this system of six-digit codes placed inside the watch allows you to distinguish a genuine Rolex from a counterfeit. But once the authenticity has been verified, these numbers indicate the many properties of your timepiece. Let’s break down the meaning of these numbers for you to look at the next time you buy a Rolex.



Voir cette publication sur Instagram


Une publication partagée par ROLEX (@rolex)


The first number will not help you much to know more about your watch, as it will most probably be 1. Since the launch of this system, the number one systematically starts the combination in order to leave room for the future Rolex references that will be released in the next few years.


The second number will only give you a slight hint: it matches the Rolex calibre used. Two choices: 1, which means that the latest version of the calibre has not yet been installed, or 2, which coincides with the most recent version.


For the rest, it gets more complicated! The next “two” digits also take into account the first two digits already used, to indicate the collection to which the Rolex belongs. A combination of two to four digits: 15 for a Date for example, or 1142 for an Explorer. The references are precise and the most fastidious of collectors will have to know each Rolex collection on the wrist.


The penultimate number applies to the nature of the bezel. Ranging from 0 to 7, excluding the 5 (corresponding to a pyramidal bezel), each number defines whether the bezel is domed, rotating or fluted. And for the last digit of the reference, you will know which materials were used to manufacture the watch: white gold, platinum, steel… Another range of possibilities covered by a code that only Rolex enthusiasts know. If the series of numbers ends, a few letters come to the end of this series. They simply attest the colour and the precious stones used.


Let us apply this to the famous Cosmograph Daytona model in yellow gold. We can read the following reference number: 116508. A lot of information can be gleaned from it: designed after the year 2000 (first number 1) and not yet equipped with the latest Rolex calibre (second number 1), it has a smooth bezel (number 0) and is made of 18K yellow gold (number 8). A guarantee of quality and rigour for Rolex, which contributes to making each model unique. It is not for nothing that the Swiss brand remains number 1 in luxury watchmaking in the world !





Featured photo : © Rolex

Grâce à une veille accrue et à une excellente connaissance de ces secteurs, la rédaction de Luxus Magazin décrypte pour ses lecteurs les principaux enjeux économiques et technologiques de la mode, l’horlogerie, la joaillerie, la gastronomie, les parfums et cosmétiques, l’hôtellerie, et l’immobilier de prestige.


Luxus Magazine recommends

Luxus Magazine N°8

Now available