Serial number vs. model number
Your luxury watch’s serial number is its mark of originality and authenticity. The practice of stamping an item with a serial number dates back thousands of years, and is a tradition that guarantees the value of your timepiece. Serial numbers are unique to each watch, and refer to that piece’s mechanism.
A model number, on the other hand, is a unique set of numbers assigned to a group of watches. Model numbers are used to categorise models made by the same manufacturer. The numbers identify the type of watch, what it’s made of, and the type of bezel used.
It’s easy to confuse the two numbers, unless you know where to look. Locating your watch’s model number depends on the brand, with most numbers displayed on any of the following:
- Papers / Warranty card
- Watch case
Locating the model number
Your watch’s paperwork is usually the first place to head to find its model number, although it’s common for papers to get misplaced. If you do still have your paperwork intact, however, flick through to find the model number, which may also be written as “reference number”.
- Watch case
Depending on the brand you’ve invested in, the model number may be printed on the case. Follow our brand guide below for instructions on finding the model number for some specific brands commonly sold at Trilogy Jewellers.
The model number of Rolex watches can be difficult to find, as it’s usually located under the strap or bracelet, between the watch lugs. That means the bracelet or strap will need to be removed - we recommend getting a professional to do this for you. You’ll find the model number at the 12 o’clock position, and the serial number at 6 o’clock.
On Rolex models made after 2008, the inner rehaut is engraved with the words Rolex around it and at the 6 o’clock position the serial number can be seen without the need of removing the bracelet, this was a great innovation from Rolex and saves valuable time.
Finding the model number for a Patek Philippe watch - which is printed inside the case - also calls for the help of a professional to avoid damage. The serial number can be found on the back of the case. For a brand this high-class, expect a hunt for the model number.
Your Cartier watch case will have 4 digits printed on the back, which are just one part of the full model number and indicate what the case looks like. However, some of the vintage pieces by Cartier don’t contain this number on the case.
To find an Audemars Piguet serial number (or movement number), look for an engraving on the mainplate, usually found next to the balance wheel. This is easy if your case is transparent, but if not, it will need to be opened by a professional.
Like Rolex, Tudor model numbers are hidden beneath the strap or bracelet. Again, seek professional assistance if you need to see the model number.
Richard Mille assigns each watch with a serial number to demonstrate authenticity and ownership. You’ll find this engraved on the bottom of the case, with the prefix RM followed by a series of alphanumeric characters. These alphanumeric characters represent both the model and the serial number.
Sell your watch with Trilogy Jewellers
Once you have the model number, selling your watch is seamless. Trilogy Jewellers, based in London, can ensure you get the best purchase price for your timepiece. Contact us for a quote on 0203 929 8227 or visit our Hatton Garden showroom.
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