A Rolex watch is widely recognised as a status symbol. A properly cared for and maintained Rolex can run forever, and does not depreciate much in value over time. For this reason, when purchasing a pre-owned Rolex, it is important to ensure that the watch is authentic. Since 1927, every Rolex watch has been engraved with a unique serial number, which is used by Rolex to keep track of when the watch was manufactured. Furthermore, pre-owned watches should come with the original warranty card and chronometer certification, a red wax seal with gold lettering.
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Locate the warranty card. Under the warranty, the Rolex is fully guaranteed for two years after the purchase date (also listed on the warranty card), regardless if the watch is still owned by the original purchaser. The warranty card gives the style number, serial number, bracelet number and dial information.
Locate the serial number and ensure it matches that on the warranty card. The serial number can be located between the 6 o'clock casing lugs (where the band attaches to the watch casing). In models manufactured after 2005, the serial number is engraved on the inside edge of the watch case, under the crystal, right below 6 o'clock. The serial number is used by Rolex and reflects the date of manufacture; however, Rolex does not release the manufacture dates of specific serial numbers.
Locate the name of the official Rolex jeweller on the warranty card. This is filled out by the jeweller at the time of purchase, and reflects the place of purchase. The watch can be brought back for repair at this site or any other official Rolex jeweller under warranty for the first two years after the purchase date. The serial number alone cannot be used to determine the place of purchase, because that information is not made public by Rolex.
Tips and warnings
- While the serial number cannot be used to determine the place of purchase, and the dates of purchase of specific serial numbers are not released by Rolex, a list of general serial numbers and the years they were manufactured can be found at Qualitytyme.net (see Resources).
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