Hand on heart: Do you know which watches the reference numbers 126710BLRO, 126711CHNR or 116400GV stand for?
As a true fan, chances are you’ll recognize all three right away. However, you don’t have to be a Rolex evangelist to be able to tell at first glance which watch it might be. In fact, at least for a rough classification, a cursory glance at the end of the reference number is more than enough.
Let us show you how to easily recognize that the above-mentioned reference numbers are the Pepsi, the Root Beer and the Milgauss. (If you need a quick recap of the most common Rolex nicknames, we have got you covered here.)
Based in Geneva (i.e. the French-speaking part of Switzerland), Rolex uses French as its official language. Therefore, having some French vocabulary at hand is essential for quick identification.
But don’t worry! To all those who are still haunted by a certain Francophobia from their school days, rest assured that a handful of terms is already sufficient for a rough classification of many Rolex models.
Below you will find the most common codes at the end of many Rolex references, which immediately tell you what the watch looks like – at least more or less.
BLRO stands for bleu/rouge, so blue/red. This color combo refers to the two-tone Cerachrom bezel on GMT models, such as the one on the current Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126710BLRO (aka “Pepsi”).
Bleu/noir (blue/black) follows the same scheme, only replacing the red with black. Respective models include the current Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126710BLNR (aka “Batman”/”Batgirl”), but also predecessor references like the 116710BLNR fall into this category.
Things are already a bit more delicate with the Rolex GMT-Master II 126711CHNR (aka “Root Beer”), whose CHNR indicates Chocolat/Noir. In this case, the mix of black and (chocolate) brown hints at the color scheme of the two-tone ceramic bezel.
Glace Verte is the French expression for green glass, which truly is a Rolex unique and can only be found in the Milgauss collection. According to Rolex, the development of the sapphire crystal with the green hue was so costly and time-consuming that, in the company’s eyes, no other brand would dare to voluntarily take on this odyssey. Rolex therefore decided not to even patent the technology at all.
Blue bezels, lunettes bleues, are somewhat rare at Rolex, but they do occur. In the current Submariner collection, for example, you will find the ref. 126619LB, which (unlike its sister models) comes in a hefty white gold case… and an even heftier price tag.
It is no secret that Rolex models with green bezels enjoy a special status amongst watch enthusiasts all over the world. Introduced in 2003 with the now legendary Rolex Kermit (16610LV), the hype continued with the Rolex Submariner Hulk (116610LV) and is upheld with the current Rolex Submariner Cermit/Starbucks (122610LV).
Black bezels are ubiquitous in the Rolex universe and are found primarily on Submariner and GMT Master models. A nice (albeit now discontinued) reference is for instance the ref. 116710LN, featuring an all-black GMT bezel.
Even if it’s not enough for an unequivocal identification, the letter code at the end of the reference number can at least tell you what the watch looks like or to which collection it belongs. All you need is eight French words.
Want to learn more about the Rolex brand? Then you might enjoy our Rolexicon with 10 terms you absolutely have to know.