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However, records of production dates and serial numbers were lost, discarded, or destroyed.
The numbers simply represented the two-digit year in which the watch was produced.
This sequence continued through November 1991, when a new numbering system was introduced utilizing the letters N, C and S, which took them through 1993.
In 1994, Rolex started yet another sequence with the letters: W, T and U, then A, P, and K in subsequent years, followed by Y, F, D, Z, M, V and then G in 2010.
An example of this number would be something like "16G9L7F4" and could start with either a letter or number.
This offers them a seemingly endless numbering system by which they could continue indefinitely.
Figuring 8 digits with a possible 36 characters (26 letters and 10 numbers) per digit, gives them over 2 Trillion (2,821,109,907,456 to be exact) possible serial numbers.
Even if they were to omit the letters "O" and "I", to help avert any possible confusion with the numbers "0" and "1" (as they did in the previous numbering system), that would still give them 1,785,793,904,896 possible combinations.
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.
We also publish The Rolex Report, a series of critically acclaimed reference books used by thousands of watch dealers, collectors and enthusiasts around the world.
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.
Please note, some examples (primarily from around 1959), did feature the Roman Numeral and a 4-digit year (i.e. The system started with the letter "R", whcih was then subsequently followed by L-E-X.