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Old 20 November 2012, 01:25 PM   #1
crowncollection
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Brief history of Swiss hallmarking

Hallmarking in the Switzerland dates back centuries, there was system of hallmarking in Switzerland until 1881 but it was not uniform, with the introduction of the Swiss system of hallmarking in 1881, there was uniformity throughout the nation
Swiss law since 1881

“All watch cases made of gold, silver, platinum or palladium, of foreign or domestic manufacture, sold in Switzerland, are subject to inspection and compulsory official marking.

There are number of Assay offices in Switzerland Rolex use the Genève office its symbol is a capital letter “G.”
As you can see below there are many distinctive symbols used by Swiss assay offices: You may find other Swiss watch manufactures using different assay offices.
• Biel / Bienne = B
• Basel = *
• Chiasso = T
• Geneva = G
• La Chaux-de-Fonds = C
• Le Noirmont = J
• Zurich = Z

Pre-1995 Rolexes Watches.

These assay office symbols will appear in place of the "X" as seen the on the hallmarks chart below.
Only precious metal watch cases must be hallmarked. Swiss hallmarking for other articles such as jewelry and cutlery is optional.
You will see the Helvetia far left of the chart below; we will call it the ladies head from now, is used for 18K or 750 gold of any colour. Pre 1995 you will see in the chart, Platinum and different gold purities all used different symbols.
Rolex as we know is a reputable company and follows these laws without exception.


Note: The same hallmark for 18K gold applies, regardless of it its colour
E.g. White gold or pink gold also use the ladies head pre 1995.

Here below is an extremely clear close up macro shot of a Rolex president men’s band showing the hallmarks, notice the G in the ladies neck, notice the superb detail in her face, hair eyes, nose, remember this is tiny in real life, you can’t even see it without a loupe.
Note: The 750 scales hallmark is also stamped on by the Genève assay office also very clear and detailed.

Hallmarking laws apply to all Rolex models. You will find hallmarks on the band clasp, mid case and case back on watches made of precious metals, Sub, GMT, Op date, Datejust, Daytona, Day Date and Yachtmaster.
You can apply this hallmark information to verify the originality of your 18K band clasp, there are of course other things to consider when you are checking, but it’s a good starting point. The little G is the most important thing to look for, counterfeiters have tried to copy the ladies head, however, the head does not have any detail, and however, some counterfeiters are getting better.

This check verifies your clasp, you still need to watch out if buying an older used Rolex watch, as the main part of the band can be replaced or changed out with an aftermarket link section and the original clasp retained and used. There are other techniques to verify the main section of the band, however that is another tutorial post altogether.
Remember it’s a government hallmark with great detail; the detailed makes it near impossible to copy. It is the same every time and perfect, the government controls the quality and it must be perfect or it will be scraped.


The detail is important in establishing authenticity. The master dies that stamp these hallmarks remain at the Assay office under strict control, the government accounts for every die, just like the stamping dies used to print legal coin currency; you cannot just get your hands on one. These stamping dies never leave the assay office. The chart below explains, who puts what on the gold watch part however, it shows the newer post 1995 hallmark, the dog which will be explained later in this post.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg chart.jpg (63.7 KB, 4619 views)
File Type: jpg close up.jpg (68.5 KB, 4588 views)
File Type: jpg a.jpg (26.7 KB, 4562 views)
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Old 20 November 2012, 01:42 PM   #2
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hallmarks continued

Tip: Never polish the hallmarks you will remove the detail and sometimes the letter G it is very fine, you need a loupe too see it, you can easily polish it away.

These rules do not apply only to a president band; in the pictures immediately below we have a 1960’s ladies jubilee band, a 1990’s submariner band and an 18K white gold band with the same hallmark.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg a1.jpg (72.3 KB, 4543 views)
File Type: jpg a2.jpg (75.9 KB, 4538 views)
File Type: jpg a3.jpg (36.2 KB, 4499 views)
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Old 20 November 2012, 01:44 PM   #3
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hallmarks continued

Now let’s move onto Rolex case backs, still pre 1995. You can see the Ladies head with a letter G is still present along with the 750 scales hallmark. Here we have a case back from a president from the 80’s (immediately below). (I have circled the hallmarks), below that a 60’s men’s gold datejust case back and then a submariner case back from the 90’s.

Refer to the chart below again as we see some examples of Rolex cases with different purities of gold you can compare them to the chart.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg hhh.jpg (63.7 KB, 4500 views)
File Type: jpg a.jpg (97.1 KB, 4491 views)
File Type: jpg b.jpg (75.0 KB, 4474 views)
File Type: jpg c.jpg (73.0 KB, 4465 views)
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Old 20 November 2012, 01:53 PM   #4
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hallmarks cont.

Refer to the chart below again as we see some examples of Rolex cases with different purities of gold you can compare them to the chart.
Below is a picture of a 14k Rolex Pre-1995 OP date with a (squirrel hallmark with a G for 14k gold).
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File Type: jpg 1.jpg (79.8 KB, 4465 views)
File Type: jpg 2.jpg (40.9 KB, 4434 views)
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Old 20 November 2012, 01:55 PM   #5
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hallmarks cont.

Below the 9K hallmark shown on an older Rolex case back. (Morning Star Swiss hallmark for 375 gold purity)
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Old 20 November 2012, 01:59 PM   #6
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hallmarks continued.

Rolex Mid cases now still PRE-1995.

You will see the hallmarks as circled on a ladies president mid case below, the next photo is a 1960’s gold datejust again and then a submariner from the 90’s. Check for detail of the hallmark and the letter G.

A very important Note: The hallmark on the underside of the lugs of a Rolex made Pre-1995 will have the miniature ladies head hallmark see circled in the chart below (the smaller hallmark). It appears quite different; we can see that the Letter G is completely separated from the ladies head, below and on its own.
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File Type: jpg dfda.jpg (101.9 KB, 4394 views)
File Type: jpg aa.jpg (100.2 KB, 4399 views)
File Type: jpg sub.jpg (104.1 KB, 4396 views)
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Old 20 November 2012, 02:04 PM   #7
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hallmarks continued

Post 1995 Rolex watches.
All watch cases made of gold, silver, platinum or palladium, of foreign or domestic manufacture, sold in Switzerland, are subject to inspection and compulsory official marking. A single official hallmark is used for all precious metals and all fineness standards, the head of a St. Bernard dog post 1995.

The assay office used will appear in place of the "X" on the ear of the St. Bernard. Rolex still use the Genève office.

Under the current law post 1995, on all gold, silver, platinum or palladium watches cases made in Switzerland or imported into Switzerland, near the Maker's Responsibility Mark and his indication of purity, the official Hallmark, the head of a Saint-Bernard dog will be present. Only precious metal watch cases must be hallmarked. Swiss hallmarking for other articles such as jewelry and cutlery is optional.

Below are a few photos of the post 1995 hallmarks. Remember, now the dog is used for all precious metals Post 1995, you can see the G for Genève Assay office in this close up. You can use the same technique on Rolex band clasps, case backs and mid cases. All watch cases made of precious metal parts fall under the same Swiss hallmarking laws.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg dd.jpg (79.9 KB, 4399 views)
File Type: jpg ddd.jpg (15.3 KB, 4379 views)
File Type: jpg sdfd.jpg (86.7 KB, 4369 views)
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Old 20 November 2012, 02:12 PM   #8
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hallmarks cont.

Finally, we can see in some random photos from the internet, (credit to the original photographers), that we can apply the same hallmark principles to other brands, the same ladies head or dogs head hallmarks are used, depending on whether the case was made pre or post 1995.

Note: Not all of Rolexes competitors use the Genève Assay office so the tiny letter in the neck or ear can vary, as per chart provided above, depending on which of the several Swiss assay that company uses.
• Biel / Bienne = B
• Basel = *
• Chiasso = T
• Geneva = G
• La Chaux-de-Fonds = C
• Le Noirmont = J
• Zurich = Z

A last note, you can use this on vintage models also daytona, 1680 gold sub, Hallmarking started from 1881 onwards remember, please remember that some older rolexes had there cases manufactured by other companies like Dennison and they are a UK company and use a completely different set of hallmarks.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg d.jpg (7.4 KB, 4350 views)
File Type: jpg jb.jpg (137.9 KB, 4360 views)
File Type: jpg bjkvbkj.jpg (60.1 KB, 4361 views)
File Type: jpg job.jpg (41.5 KB, 4332 views)
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Old 20 November 2012, 02:54 PM   #9
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A fantastic and well put together informative David!!

I'm sure it will prove to be a valuable asset to the community, thanks!!
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Old 20 November 2012, 03:11 PM   #10
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This is what we needed. I love a well-organized thread like this. Thank you!
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Old 20 November 2012, 08:07 PM   #11
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Great info
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Old 20 November 2012, 11:24 PM   #12
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VERY good info David, thanks for sharing!!! mods, this should be a sticky!
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Old 20 November 2012, 11:30 PM   #13
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Some awesome info here. I know others that are new into identification of hallmarks and watches like myself really appreciate the time and effort you have out into this.
Very well done. Thanks for sharing
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Old 20 November 2012, 11:55 PM   #14
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David
Excellent presentation of key validation points.

Thank you for the time you took to make this accessible to us. And in a small form of help to the newly enlightened - here is a link to some loupes for those who can't wait to turn their watch case and bracelet upside-down! http://www.ottofrei.com/Watchmaker-s-Loupes
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Old 21 November 2012, 12:27 AM   #15
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Great post with fantastic information!
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Old 21 November 2012, 12:48 AM   #16
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excellent post, thanks for taking the time to put this together.

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Old 21 November 2012, 03:08 AM   #17
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Great work David, I have learned a lot from your posts...
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Old 21 November 2012, 05:15 AM   #18
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Wow! Great information. I really enjoy reading material like this!!!
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Old 21 November 2012, 04:12 PM   #19
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Fantastic, thank you very much for posting such a great thread
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Old 22 November 2012, 12:20 AM   #20
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Amazing!! Thank you.
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Old 4 December 2012, 06:28 PM   #21
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Really intresting
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Old 5 December 2012, 11:03 AM   #22
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Wow thanks for sharing, very informative!
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Old 16 December 2012, 04:26 PM   #23
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I can make out the 750 scales on this Cellini 4112, but not the other mark. Great article.
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Old 18 December 2012, 12:53 AM   #24
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Thank you for an excellent post. How come the two tones are not hallmarked on the gold?
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Old 18 December 2012, 10:28 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glhglh View Post
I can make out the 750 scales on this Cellini 4112, but not the other mark. Great article.
You should have this smaller ladies head on the case lug, that is what it looks like to me as it does not appear to be the post 1995 dogs head. The dogs head does not come in a minture size, they all appear the same size.
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Old 19 December 2012, 05:04 AM   #26
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Awesome read!!!!!!!!!
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Old 19 December 2012, 05:48 AM   #27
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Brilliant stuff, David!

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 19 December 2012, 02:39 PM   #28
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Good one, Mate.

Thank You very much for such great info.
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Old 5 January 2013, 12:54 PM   #29
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is this lady head hallmark genuine?

This lady head hallmak inside the caseback does not look very detailed, could it be fake? Many thanks
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Old 8 January 2013, 09:18 AM   #30
crowncollection
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason de Beijing View Post
This lady head hallmak inside the caseback does not look very detailed, could it be fake? Many thanks
need a better pic as when you enlarge i cannot see anything as the detail disappears, but it does not look great at a glance.
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