Understanding The Changes:
An Examination of What's Changed
When You Buy A New Rolex
November 18th, 2007
Over the past 3-4 years, Rolex has made more changes in their watches and packaging than they have in nearly twenty years previous. The changes have in some cases been abrupt and without warning, and left many people with questions - questions most Authorized Dealer representatives are ill equipped to answer. Back in 2005, I did an article detailing the changes which Rolex made to their packaging (click HERE for the article) but since so many more changes have come in the last 2 years, I felt I should address them. Note: Many people ask me "What date specifically did Rolex do "x"? Or, when did Rolex stop doing "x"? Usually any change Rolex makes isn't announced - we as an interested community don't know Rolex has made a change until we see the change in the dealer's cases. And usually any change made is phased in/out according to inventory levels. So, for example when Rolex completely re-did their boxes, as illustrated in the above linked article, there was no announcement. of the change. The new packaging just began showing up at authorized dealer doorsteps. Some dealers depleted their inventories of the older packaging faster than others, so in 2005, sometimes when a new Rolex was purchased, the customer received the old packaging, while others got the new - it just depended on a few different variables.
CHANGES IN THE PAPERWORK YOU RECEIVE WITH A ROLEX
One of the biggest changes that's taken place in 2007 has been with the warranty and chronometer certification paperwork which accompanies a brand new Rolex. In the first example photos below, you'll see a photo of an early Z serial black dial Daytona, purchased in the Spring of 2006:
You can see in the above photo that this early Z series (early because the number after the Z is a 0 indicating it's relatively early in the production series) came with the standard warranty paper certificate that Rolex has been using for at least the past 10-15 years (I'm uncertain exactly when Rolex began using his particular certificate). It also comes with the Daytona specific manual, and the booklet which explains about the Factory Service of a Rolex. Now have a look at the new wallet and paperwork which accompanied a late Z series Daytona I purchased in November of 2007:
The above is the new, more substantial wallet which holds all the accompanying documentation received when you buy a new Rolex - here's a shot of the wallet from the back:
Here's a shot of the booklets found inside the new wallet:
As you can see in the above, there are a couple of new booklets. The Factory Service booklet has been totally redone (see my article on the new Factory Service booklet by clicking HERE). The Daytona instruction booklet is largely unchanged, however the small green booklet with "Warranty Booklet" in white at the top is entirely new.
Gone is the old style warranty certificate illustrated above. In it's place is a plastic card the size of a credit card which serves as both the warranty certificate and Chronometer certificate. Here's a front and back photo of the card:
CHANGES IN THE CASE BACK STICKER
Another big changed which has been showing up on some Rolex watches in 2007 is that Rolex is no longer using a green hologram sticker on the back of their watches. Here's a photo of three differenent watches (a 16613 Sub, an Explorer II, and a new Anniversary GMT Master II). Notice that all three (including the stainless Anniversary GMT Master II which is new in 2007) all have the green hologram sticker:
Now here's a shot of the back of the new late Z series Daytona which again was purchased in November of 2007. Notice the case back sticker is not a hologram - its a simple clear sticker with the model number printed on it.
One can then deduce that on the Daytona line, the green hologram sticker was eliminated somewhere in the middle of the Z production series.
THE NEW INNER BEZEL "ROLEXROLEXROLEX" ENGRAVING
Since the introduction of the redesigned Datejust (at the 2004 Basel Watch Fair) Rolex has slowly begun engraving the inner bezel of all their watches with the word "ROLEX." Here's a 116138 Datejust - the first model I know of to receive the inner bezel engraving:
Currently Rolex seems to be transitioning all models to the new engraving - it's a slow process. All new models being introduced after 2004 seem to have the engraving automatically, while existing models are transitioning at varied and unpredictable rates. Here's a shot of the new Rolex GMT Master II in two-tone from 2006 - it debuted that year with the engraving, as did the stainless steel version of the same watch in 2007:
Here's a shot of the above referenced early Z series black dial Daytona purchased in 2006 next to my F series white dial Daytona - not that either watch has the inner bezel engraving:
Here's a closeup shot of the late Z Series Daytona recently purchased which has the inner bezel engraving present. One can again deduce that the bezel engraving on the Daytona line transitioned over mid-Z series production:
I've seen examples of other sport watches, such as the Submariner 16610, with the inner bezel engraving, so all indications are that eventually all Rolex watches will have the new engraving. Keep an eye on THE ROLEX REFERENCE PAGE for updates on future changes Rolex implements - there's no telling when additional changes may or may not show up!
Thinking of buying a Rolex? Such a fine piece of sterling silver jewelry certainly would be accentuated by other wholesale sterling accessories. Nothing brings out the luster of silver like wholesale silver rings or bracelets to compliment it.
*All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.
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