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Around this same time, Rolex had initiated another dating system--They stamped the inside of the case back with a code consisting of a Roman numeral and two numbers.The Roman numerals were I, II, III, IV, which represented which quarter of the year the watch was produced.The newer models feature this “random” serial number on the “rehaut” or “flange” area at the 6 o’clock mark (the metal “wall” under the crystal and above the face).The model numbers are still between the lugs at the 12 o’clock mark.That is, the bracelet/wrist strap needs to be removed in order to see it.The serial number is at the 6 o’clock position and the reference number/model number is at 12 o’clock.
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ABOVE: Around 2005, Rolex started engraving the Case's Serial Number into the inside edge of the case (at the 6 o'clock position, under the crystal and below the bezel), also known as the rehaut, as shown in these images, which were taken at BASELWORLD 2005, in Switzerland in early April.
BELOW: A close-up view of the same watch, you can clearly see the Serial Number "F982176", engraved into the case at the 6 o'clock position, with "ROLEX" engraved repetitiously around the dial in a circular fashion.
In 1927, Rolex began issuing every Rolex Oyster case a unique serial number to distinguish them from one another.
This numbering system was originally believed to have started at 20,000, however earlier numbers have surfaced shooting holes in this theory.
If you’d like to get a little more value on your sale, you can have the item repaired or serviced by taking it to a certified Rolex establishment. This is an unspoken rule among watch sellers – blocking the entire serial number keeps illegal replica watches from being made with real serial numbers.