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November,14 2017

Dating Your Rolex Clasp...

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“The clasp is often over-looked in the rush to buy that perfect vintage watch, we thought we'd show you how to date one correctly and really see if it ties to the watch on your wrist...”

Until 1976, Rolex would punch the year of production on the inside of the clasp, preceded by either the Roman numeral denoting which quarter of the year it was produced or an arabic numeral to denote the month, so, when we see the clasp code IV 68 we know that it was produced in the 4th quarter of 1968, but 4 72, means April 1972. From ‘76 onwards though the year was replaced with a lettering system (in a similar fashion to the case numbering system adopted in 1987). If the letter is prefixed with an ‘S’ it indicates if is a service replacement.

Until 1976, Rolex would punch the year of production on the inside of the clasp, preceded by the Roman numeral denoting which quarter of the year it was produced, so, when we see the clasp code IV 68 we know that it was produced in the 4th quarter of 1968. From ‘76 onwards though the year was replaced with a lettering system (in a similar fashion to the case numbering system adopted in 1987). If the letter is prefixed with an ‘S’ it indicates if is a service replacement.

A or VA

1976

M

1988

AB

2000

B or VB

1977

N

1989

DE

2001

C or VC

1978

O

1990

DT

2002

D or VD

1979

P

1991

AD

2003

E or VE

1980

Q

1992

CL

2004

F

1981

R

1993

MA

2005

G

1982

S

1994

OP

2006

H

1983

T

1995

EO

2007

I

1984

V

1996

PJ

2008

J

1985

Z

1997

LT

2009

K

1986

U

1998

RS

2010

L

1987

X

1999

From 2011 Rolex switched to an apparently random serial number system, and in addition to stamping the clasp, now date the inside of the solid end links. For the time being it will be impossible to determine the age of these "Random" clasps, time will tell if a pattern or system begins to appear.

Credits: Chris Youé

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