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Birth Year Watches – How to Find a Rolex by Year

May 20, 2021

BY Paul Altieri


For some, wearing a Rolex watch made in the same year that they were born is a special thing. Think of it as the horology equivalent of “This Year in History.” Treating oneself to (or buying a loved one) a birth year Rolex on a milestone birthday (such as turning 21, 30, 40, 50, etc.) – or as a graduation gift to celebrate their accomplishment can be a particularly meaningful present.

So, how exactly do you find a birth year Rolex? Since Rolex does not divulge official production numbers, it can be a little bit tricky; however, it’s certainly not impossible. Here are some of our favorite strategies to find the correct birth year Rolex.

Click here for our Ultimate Buying Guide on the best luxury watches to give as graduation gifts. 

Graduation Gift Watches

Birth Year Rolex GMT-Master Vintage Pepsi

Step #1: Decide On What Model You Want for Your Birth Year Rolex

First things first, you have to decide which Rolex model you want. A classic Datejust? A lavish Rolex Day-Date President? A sporty Daytona chronograph? A Rolex Submariner or Sea-Dweller dive watch? A GMT-Master pilot watch? First decide on which specific model fits your personal taste, lifestyle, and budget best, and then you can continue hunting down that perfect birth year Rolex.

Birth Year Rolex Submariner

But remember, you first have to make sure that the Rolex model you have in mind was already in production by the year that you were born.

– Datejust: 1945

– Explorer: 1953

– Submariner: 1953

– GMT-Master: 1955

– Day-Date: 1956

– Milgauss: 1956

– Daytona (Manual): 1963

– Sea-Dweller: 1967

– Submariner Date: 1968

– Explorer II: 1971

– Oysterquartz: 1977

– GMT-Master II: 1983

– Daytona (Automatic): 1988

– Pearlmaster: 1992

– Yacht-Master: 1992

– Yacht-Master II: 2007

– Deepsea: 2008

– Sky-Dweller: 2012

Birth Year Rolex Explorer II Polar 16570

Step #2: Research Rolex Reference Production Years

Now that you’ve decided on the specific Rolex model (and verified that it was in fact in production the year you were born), it’s time to figure out the correct Rolex reference number that corresponds to your birth year.

We can break down the reference number where the first digits indicate the approximate time frame of production and the last digits tell us the material and bezel style of the watch. For instance, the Datejust ref. 162xx family of watches made its debut in 1988 and the specific 16200 reference number tells us it’s a steel model with a smooth bezel.

Birth Year Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel

Here are some quick reference tables to help you find your birth year Rolex.


– Ref. 162xx = 1988 – 2005

– Ref. 160xx = 1977 – 1988

– Ref. 16xx = 1960 – 1977

– Ref. 66xx = 1955 – 1960

– Ref. 63xx/ Ref. 61xx/ Ref. 60xx/ Ref. 50xx/ Ref. 44xx = Pre 1955

Birth Year Rolex Datejust Two-Tone

Explorer & Explorer II

– Ref. 114270 = 2000 – 2010

– Ref. 16570 = 1989 – 2011

– Ref. 14270 = 1989 – 2000

– Ref. 16550 = 1985 – 1989

– Ref. 1016 = 1963 – 1989

– Ref. 1655 = 1971– 1985

– Ref. 6610 = 1956 – 1963

– Ref. 6150 = 1954 – 1959

– Ref. 6350 = 1953 – 1954

Birth Year Rolex Explorer Vintage 1016

Submariner & Submariner Date

– Ref. 1661x = 1988 – 2010

– Ref. 14060/14060M = 1990 – 1998/1998 – 2012

– Ref. 168000 = 1988 – 1989

– Ref. 1680x = 1979 – 1988

– Ref. 1680/x = 1967 – 1979

– Ref. 5514 = 1972 – 1978

– Ref. 5513 = 1962 – 1989

– Ref. 5512 = 1959 – 1978

– Ref. 5510 = 1958 – 1959

– Ref. 5508 = 1958 – 1962

– Ref. 6536/1 = 1955 – 1959

– Ref. 6536 = 1955

– Ref. 6538 = 1954 – 1959

– Ref. 6200 = 1954

– Ref. 6205 = 1954 – 1955

– Ref. 6204 = 1953

Birth Year Rolex Submariner Vintage 1680

GMT-Master & GMT-Master II

– Ref. 1671x = 1989 – 2007

– Ref. 16760 = 1983 – 1988

– Ref. 16700 = 1988 – 1999

– Ref. 1675x = 1981 – 1988

– Ref. 1675/x = 1959 – 1980

– Ref. 6542 = 1955 – 1959

Birth Year Rolex GMT-Master II Coke


– Ref. 118xxx = 2000 – 2019

– Ref. 182xx = 1988 – 2000

– Ref. 180xx = 1977 – 1988

– Ref. 18xx = 1959 – 1977

– Ref. 661x = 1957 – 1959

– Ref. 651x = 1956 – 1957

Birth Year Rolex Day-Date President


– Ref. 1019 = 1960 – 1988

– Ref. 6541 = 1956 – 1960

– Ref. 6543 (prototype) = 1954 – 1956

Birth Year Rolex Milgauss

Cosmograph Daytona

– Ref. 11652x = 2000 – present

– Ref. 1652x = 1988 – 2000

– Ref. 6265 = 1971 – 1988

– Ref. 6263 = 1971 – 1988

– Ref. 6264 = 1969 – 1972

– Ref. 6262 = 1969 – 1970

– Ref. 6240 = 1965 – 1969

– Ref. 6241 = 1965 – 1969

– Ref. 6239 = 1963 – 1969

Birth Year Rolex Daytona Two-Tone


– Ref. 16600 = 1989 – 2009

– Ref. 16660 = 1978 – 1989

– Ref. 1665 “Great White” = 1977 – 1983

– Ref. 1665 “Double Red” = 1967 – 1977

Birth Year Rolex Sea-Dweller Great White


– Ref. 190xx (Day-Date) = 1977 – 2003

– Ref. 170xx (Datejust) = 1977 – 2003

Birth Year Rolex Datejust Oysterquartz


– Ref. 16622 = 1999 – 2012

– Ref. 16628 = 1999 – 2012

Birth Year Rolex Yacht-Master Rolesium Platinum

Step #3: Look Into Rolex Serial Numbers To Zero In On Specific Production Year

Once you’ve decided on which Rolex model reference family you’d like to get, you’ll have to dig deep into serial numbers to figure the exact year of production. Again, because Rolex does not publish manufacture numbers and/or serial numbers, comparing serial numbers with crowd-sourced production date charts is not an exact science by any means.

Birth Year Rolex Zenith Daytona

However, we do have a handy Rolex Serial Number Lookup Tool here at Bob’s Watches that can help you in your search. In case you forgot, (prior to the mid-2000s) serial numbers on Rolex watches can be found between the lugs on the 6 o’clock side of the case.

Lastly, it’s important to note that starting around 2010/2011, Rolex began using random serial numbers so it’s impossible to date those ones to an exact year. But since we’re assuming you’re older than nine years old, this shouldn’t impact your search for the perfect birth year Rolex!

Birth Year Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi



23 Responses to “Birth Year Watches – How to Find a Rolex by Year”

  1. Steve Hargett says:

    very much interested in birthdate Rolex-1957 submariner. Can you assist?
    Thank you
    Steve Hargett

  2. Jon Carter says:

    Been admiring submariners for awhile. Cute idea the year of birth.1957. I’m concerned about the condition-so may be better served with a newer model. But let me know what you have.

    Any in stock? Excellent condition and reasonably priced?


  3. Richard B Moore says:

    I would be interested in learning more about a GMT master from 1955??

  4. Fz says:

    Sad to see that the Air king was not considered a Rolex in your list. Turn off.

    • Paul Altieri says:

      The Rolex Air-King is a bit more complicated than the others. Rolex considers 1958 the official start of the Air-King collection, marked by the launch of the ref. 5500; however the ‘Air-King’ name was actually used as early as the 1940s on Rolex’s various air-themed watches. At this point in time, the Air-King collection as we know it today did not exist, but there are still technically Rolex Air-King watches out there that pre-date 1958. Hope this helps!

  5. Lawson Devery says:

    I would be obliged if you could date this watch :-

    Model Gents Rolex Submariner Date Chrono
    Case No. 8572828
    Model 16800
    Bracelet 93150

    Many thanks


  6. Darlene says:

    Thank you. I hesitated to get an older watch. This article made me excited again.

  7. stuart ward says:

    Paul, I have a 1972 Rolex Oyster Cosmograph series 6263, with a black face, and white dials. I am the original owner, and the watch is in good shape.
    I can not find anyone who has the series, or an give me a decent idea of the value as the more popular model is the Daytona series watches which have outstanding values.
    do you have an approximate value of the series watch.
    Thank you

  8. Fred says:

    What is available?

    • Paul Altieri says:

      That year will exclude many of Rolex’s sports watches, but Datejust and Oyster Perpetual collections will have a number of different options. Take a look at our website for our most up to date availability. We will list the estimated year of production for every Rolex watch we sell, so it will be relatively easy to find the one you’re looking for (assuming there is one available).

  9. Chris Sas says:

    Please find me a 1967 Rolex Oyster Precision, with rivet bracelet. This is the 3rd time I have contacted you, with no communication from you. To difficult ? Maybe, but at least respond with no, yes or get lost !
    Chris Sas, I will not tell you how many Rolex watches I own. Toronto, Canada, and no, not the USA.

  10. MIchael Turner says:

    Looking for 1970

  11. Francis Cox says:

    Will you publish your Rolex serial Number Look Up tool?

  12. rob etabrook says:


    I am looking for a birth year (1980) GMT master 1675 to commemorate my 40th and wasnt sure if i could try and source through your company. I have purchased a rolex from you before and was very satisfied with the service. Please let me know and apologies if this isn’t the right method of contact.

  13. jeff church says:

    hi there,

    im interested in buying a used 1998 Rolex submariner with a black bezel. its for my son who was born on 10/21/98. would want it reconditioned or what ever you do to it. if you still had new ones of those years that would be fine too.

    • Paul Altieri says:

      Check our site for the most up to date pricing and availability. We will list the production years for all Rolex watches, so it should be relatively easy to find the one you’re looking for, assuming that we have one available at that time.

  14. Matt says:

    I like the idea of a birth year watch, for next year when I turn 50. I’m interested in a 1972 GMT Master II in either black/red or all black bezel. Is it possible to nail down that watch to that year?

    • Paul Altieri says:

      Finding a 1972 Rolex GMT-Master II unfortunately will not be possible because the GMT-Master II model didn’t make an appearance until a full decade later in 1982. Similarly, the black and red “Coke” bezel debuted on the inaugural GMT-Master II model in the 1980s, so you won’t find any red/black bezel inserts fitted to Rolex GMT watches that were manufactured prior to 1982 either.
      With that in mind, you can certainly find a Rolex GMT-Master with an all-black bezel from 1972 (the model you will be looking for is a reference 1675), and while it will not have the same independently adjustable hour hands and sapphire crystal as the more modern GMT-Master II watches, a ref. 1675 will offer a very similar overall aesthetic and be from your correct year of birth.
      As far as tracking down a reference 1675 Rolex GMT-Master from 1972, all you need to do is search our various ref. 1675 listings and look at the year of production. We list the estimated year of production for every single Rolex model on our site, so finding a birth year Rolex is a rather easy and straightforward process.

  15. pranav sahai says:

    Paul, looking for a Daytona meteorite dial from the 2006 – 2016 years – I saw that you sold one a while ago and do not see any show up recently – any chance of getting one in pristine condition? what about the new daytona with the meteorite dial ? thanks much and also for the wonderful website and info you put out.

    • Paul Altieri says:

      We do get meteorite dial Daytona watches in from time to time, but they typically sell quite quickly, so make sure you’re signed up for our new arrivals emails so that you can stay up to date on all the latest watches that get added to our site.

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