The Rolex paperwork through the ages

Feb 08, 2012,04:21 AM

We often emphasize here how much several aspects of Rolex watches have been changing through the ages. There has also been an incredible evolution of the Rolex paperwork that come with a watch and I want to share with you here some examples of these changes.

First of all, it is important to note that the “box and papers” delivered with a watch used to vary a lot with the country and sometimes even the dealer that sold the watch. The pictures presented here should only be considered as examples and not taken as absolute rules of what you should expect for a “correct” set. To avoid any ambiguity, I will characterize the watches with their serial number rather than production year.

First here’s a Submariner with a 0.15 mil serial number: the little green card is typical of the 1950/60’s, it was designed to fit inside the box. On this one the serial number is typed, sometimes it was handwritten. The dealer stamp is important as there are many blank cards “on the market”…


(Photo: A. Shear)


Here’s another Submariner with a 0.4 mil serial number, on this one the green card is partially handwritten:



(Photo: A. Shear)


In these early days, the watches with chronometer certification were delivered with the large chronometer report sheet. Sometimes only the movement number is noted, sometimes the case reference and serial appear too, like on this 0.5 mil GMT Master:



For this 1.3 mil Submariner with COSC certification, again the watch serial number appears in addition to the movement number; but this time it is punched rather than handwritten:



(Photo: A. Shear)


To illustrate how much the design of the papers can vary from one watch to another, here’s a 1.4mil GMT Master that was delivered with a punched version of the green card; here the dealer’s name is handwritten and not stamped:



For this 2.5mil Submariner, the paperwork is a booklet where the serial number is punched.



(Photo: A. Shear)


But for this other watch of the same period (2.6 mil), the booklet is completely different and fully handwritten. These kind of small booklets were often delivered in the early 1970’s with red Submariners and Cosmographs:



And the same watch produced a little bit later - with a 3mil serial nimber - has been sold with the famous “punched papers” that have been used for many years from the 1970’s through the 1990’s:



(Photo: A. Shear)


Here’s a close up of these famous punched papers on a 6.3mil watch:



And a 9mil3 watch with similar papers, but handwritten:



(Photo: P. Stahl)


The “modern” version of these punched papers was introduced in the mid 2000’s, with a different and more colourful design:



Nowadays, Rolex provides litlle warranty cards instead of large papers; they are supposed to be more durable, although they have less charm than the vintage ones !



This message has been edited by DrStrong on 2012-02-08 04:27:29

This message has been edited by DrStrong on 2012-02-08 04:40:17 This message has been edited by DrStrong on 2012-02-13 11:34:09

More posts: GMT MasterSubmariner

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Hello Dr. Strong!! Greetings! ... what a wonderful...

 By: Subexplorer : February 8th, 2012-05:18
... post, about a most interesting matter regarding vintage Rolex watches. I enjoyed very much reading and viewing those excelent photographs. Viewing old paperwork, always reminds me how nice, warm and charming were all those hand writen filled documents... 

Thanks Abel ! [nt]

 By: DrStrong : February 10th, 2012-00:52
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Very interesing paperwork.

 By: fernando : February 8th, 2012-05:22
These are good references especially the older ones which you don't see very often now. I can understand the rarity and the absolute joy of possessing a full set of these with the watch. It really adds to the ownership experience. Like old love letters? T... 

Old love letters...

 By: DrStrong : February 10th, 2012-00:53
exactly ;-)

Beautiful post.

 By: VMM : February 8th, 2012-10:24
I liked the old love letters Fernando's analogy. Thanks. Vte

It's my pleasure [nt]

 By: DrStrong : February 10th, 2012-00:53
No message body


 By: MasonBella : February 8th, 2012-17:31
THIS! is what these forums are about. What a great educational, informative, interesting, stimulating piece of history instead of who got the latest "LE". Great Job Dr. Strong and Thank You!

Wow, thanks for the kind words [nt]

 By: DrStrong : February 10th, 2012-00:54
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Very interesting journey in time, Jeff.

 By: amanico : February 9th, 2012-01:49
Here is my small contribution to your superb post: 1/ 1675 " Mar Del Plata " from 1966: 2/ 6542 from 1958 with an unsual guarantee booklet ( earlier, but hey, who knows? ) 3/ Bill's awesome 6542 from IV '57: 4/ My sweet 6610, from I / '57: And a few other...  

My heart always beats a bit faster when...

 By: Subexplorer : February 9th, 2012-04:51
... I view a Rolex, originally bought in Argentina, now residing in some far place! Hi Nicolas! That 1675 GMT of yours is sooo sweet! I specially like your "Mar del Plata GMT"!! As per its paperwork, that pretty was bought by Señor Cesar Negri, who actual... 

They are all keepers, my friend.

 By: amanico : February 9th, 2012-09:21
The " Mar Del Plata " is one of my favourite GMTs... As well as the 6610, and I don't even mention the 6542. I don't see myself letting them go, one day. Yes, this is true, they all tell a story which goes way above their owner. My favourite books. Best, ... 

Will try to post more... Petit à Petit. ;) [nt]

 By: amanico : February 10th, 2012-01:00
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16 520 " T " ....

 By: amanico : February 10th, 2012-08:01

1675 " 5 7xx xxx " from Germany.

 By: amanico : February 10th, 2012-08:03
Best, Nicolas...  

Great Post....

 By: Cpt Scarlet : February 9th, 2012-05:42
Great post and very interesting. This is what the Purists site is all about ! Please give us more !

Thankyou I loved the post.........

 By: Topcat30093 : February 9th, 2012-11:55
It was great to read all about the history of the paperwork. And in many ways, I would rather still have the paperwork.

I promise to do so ;-) [nt]

 By: DrStrong : February 10th, 2012-00:59
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A refernce post...!

 By: hans_jorgen_1968 : February 10th, 2012-01:16
...What an intersting post, a reference post for the collector - and great fun to see the evolution Thanks for sharing Best Hans

Thanks Hans [nt]

 By: DrStrong : February 10th, 2012-03:34
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A few more

 By: : February 10th, 2012-22:13
Prince certificate from 1931 Another - note date is 1 week apart Prince box and papers Papers from ref 1655- year 1976/7 papers from ref 1016 - year 1978- incl timing papers...  

Thanks for the additional examples [nt]

 By: DrStrong : February 10th, 2012-22:57
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Pleasure- a most informative thread. [nt]

 By: : February 10th, 2012-23:13
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I hope to add more but I have never seen

 By: Bill : February 10th, 2012-23:20
Punched version of this... I have seen typed. I have seen the next level typed and I have seen machine printed test like a big type writer many dots in red but never not punched like the later certificates.... Great find and one more rumor of authenticity...  

I will post other things you have never seen...

 By: DrStrong : February 11th, 2012-00:58
let me browse my archives...

How about that ?

 By: DrStrong : February 11th, 2012-01:57

Hello Dr. Strong!! As I said before, I love this post & my heart ...

 By: Subexplorer : February 11th, 2012-05:18
... always pounds a bit faster when I read or view something related to Argentine Rolex watches. This form, was Issued by the Argentine offices of Rolex, in Buenos Aires. They have their offices and service facilities in a beautiful big building at downto... 

Very interesting, thanks ! [nt]

 By: DrStrong : February 11th, 2012-05:53
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My Pleasure friends! Kind regards, Abel (n/t) [nt]

 By: Subexplorer : February 11th, 2012-15:48
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how about posting some instruction manuals of

 By: Mech : May 12th, 2012-20:37
various models here? I'm particularly interested in GMT ones, the vintage 1675 ones seem pretty elusive, I haven't seen much around? cheers Mech.

If you use the search engine, you will fall on some.

 By: amanico : May 12th, 2012-21:00
Here you are: 1675: 6542 , Nicolas This message has been edited by amanico on 2012-05-12 21:07:11

Thanks Nico, I think there're different

 By: Mech : May 13th, 2012-03:58
version of 1675's manaul, the 70s has the blue cloud design. Any post here shows the complete list of such manuals? I assume yours is the pre 70s?

Yes, but you didn't mentuon it. The Clouds were in the 70ies, indeed.

 By: amanico : May 13th, 2012-04:45
Will try to see where I can find one. Best, Nicolas

cheers boss! [nt]

 By: Mech : May 13th, 2012-06:19
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Here is the booklet that came with the 16 750.

 By: amanico : May 13th, 2012-23:44
Still no " Clouds " but let me see if I find it in my mess... Best, Nicolas...  

Thanks Nico, this thread is just getting

 By: Mech : May 14th, 2012-00:23
invaluable with such material piling up! Cheers Mech.