History of Rolex Watches Serial and Reference Numbers

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Rolex Watches

When you talk about one of the world’s most-known lifestyle brands, Rolex is a name that can’t go unnoticed. While most of you are familiar with the latest models of Rolex, there are some unique historical timepieces that you should know about. In this article, we provide you with a list of all the top Rolex watches from the past and their reference numbers.

Rolex watch history

Swiss watch designers Alfred Davis and Hans Wilsdorf started their company in 1905. The company was initially named Wilsdorf and Davis and was later incorporated as Rolex in the year 1915. It was founded in the United Kingdom, but due to the unrest caused by World War 1, they decided to relocate their operations to Geneva, Switzerland.

Up until the 1960’s, the company was privately owned, after which the Hands Wilsdorf Foundation managed it. When it comes to Rolex watches for men, the collection is practically endless. The brand has produced several famous watches in the last century.

Iconic Rolex watches and their serial numbers

There’s an ongoing debate about the first-ever watch produced by Rolex. Since the company changed its name in 1915, many watch experts suggest that the first watch to be considered is after their incorporation as Rolex.

However, some watch connoisseurs believe that the first watch produced by Rolex was when the company started back in 1905. We have listed all the popular Rolex watches produced between 1920 and 1970, including a few other special models that we released later.

  • Rolex Oyster 1926 reference number 1073
  • Datejust 1945 reference number 4467
  • Explorer 1953 reference number 6098
  • Submariner 1953 reference number 6204
  • Milgauss 1956 reference number 6541
  • The Lady-Datejust 1957
  • Deep Sea Special Rolex watch 1960
  • Cosmograph Daytona 1963 reference number 6239
  • Rolex Sea-Dweller 1967 reference number 1665
  • Yacht-Master 1992 reference number 16628

Rolex Oyster 1926 reference number 1073

Featuring a hermetically sealed case, the Oyster watch by Rolex was the first ever dustproof and water-resistant watch. It marked the success of a significant milestone and laid the foundation for upcoming models.

Datejust 1945 reference number 4467

In 1945 Rolex introduced the first Datejust model. The first wristwatch featured a self-winding chronometer that indicated the date through a date window. The watch also carried two other distinct elements: a fluted bezel and a Jubilee bracelet, which would instantly help you recognize the model.

Explorer 1953 reference number 6098

The Oyster Perpetual Explorer was launched in 1953 and has since gained significant popularity. It was launched to commemorate the successful ascent of Mt. Everest. The Explorer is amongst the most famous Rolex watches for men.

Submariner 1953 reference number 6204

In the same year as the Explorer was launched, Rolex introduced another popular model, the Submariner. It was the first dive watch with a water resistance of up to 100 meters. The watch features a rotatable bezel which would enable divers to measure their time underwater.

Milgauss 1956 reference number 6541

Introduced in the year 1956, the Rolex Milgauss was built to match the requirements of the scientific community. According to the tests conducted at CERN, it was concluded that the watch is capable of withstanding 1,000 gausses of a magnetic field.

The Lady-Datejust 1957

Lady-Datejust is one of the most elegant timepieces ever to be created by Rolex. The watch was the first lady’s watch, a smaller version of the standard Datejust. The Lady-Datejust is a luxury watch that showcases exceptional style.

Deep Sea Special Rolex watch 1960

The Rolex Deep Sea Special is perhaps the most unique-looking watch ever produced by the company. As the name suggests, the watch was designed to withstand extreme pressure underwater. Many watch enthusiasts have compared the design of the Deep Sea Special watch to a submarine.

Cosmograph Daytona 1963 reference number 6239

Introduced in the year 1963, the Daytona Cosmograph by Rolex was launched as a new generation of luxury chronographs. The Cosmograph was a combination of the best dive watches and chronographs. It offers the best in class features, including great durability.

Rolex Sea-Dweller 1967 reference number 1665

Another incredibly popular divers watch, the Rolex Sea-Dweller, was introduced to meet the requirements of professional divers. The first edition of the watch had a water resistance capacity of up to 610 meters.

Yacht-Master 1992 reference number 16628

To reinforce the relationship between the sailing world and Rolex, the brand introduced the Yacht-Master in 1992. The Yacht-Master features a bold design which is why the model has gained tremendous popularity.

Unique Rolex watches to keep an eye on

Apart from the watch models we have mentioned above, there are a few other Rolex models that you should keep an eye on. Let’s take a look at some of the most unique and rare watches produced by the brand.

  • Rolex Split-Seconds Chronograph reference number 4113
  • Space-Dweller by Rolex reference number 1016
  • Rolex Oyster Indian Republic Day Gold model
  • Bao Dai by Rolex reference number 6062
  • Zerographe by Rolex reference number 3346
  • Daytona Albino Rolex reference number 6263

Rolex Split-Seconds Chronograph reference number 4113

Launched in 1942, there are only 12 known models of the Split-Seconds Chronograph to exist. The estimated price value of the watch is $2.5 million.

Space-Dweller by Rolex reference number 1016

You may have heard of the Sky-Dweller or the Sea-Dweller, but the Space-Dweller is rare. It was made in 1963 and is currently estimated to be valued at $136,000.

Rolex Oyster Indian Republic Day Gold model

This particular war is speculated to have been designed to celebrate the first republic day of India. Currently, there are only two known examples of the watch with an estimated value of $444,000.

Bao Dai by Rolex reference number 6062

A one-off bespoke model, the Bao Dai Rolex is estimated to be worth around $5.1 million. It is one of the most expensive watches in the world. The watch was made for the last emperor of Vietnam.

Zerographe by Rolex reference number 3346

The Zerographe is definitely one of the rarest watches produced by Rolex. There is no real evidence of the history and origin of this particular mode. It is believed that the watch was created as a concept but never really went into a full-fledged production.

Four of these timepieces were seen in auctions and were sold for an estimated $400,000.

Daytona Albino Rolex reference number 6263

What makes the Daytona Albino a rare watch are its silver subdials. Unlike other Rolex Daytona models, which feature a black and white subdial, the Albino has an all-silver subdial and dial. The watch was launched in 1971 and is valued at approximately $1.4 million.

Rolex: A luxurious lifestyle brand

All the models mentioned above are amongst the oldest and rarest watches produced by Rolex. These models are also considered to be really expensive due to their exclusivity. If you are looking to get your hands on an exquisite Rolex watch, make sure to take a look at the luxury watch market in Dubai.

Read More : 5 Ways to Identify a High-Quality Watch