Rolex, like other Swiss watchmakers, relied on "Bureaux Suisses - de
Controle Officiel de la Marche des Chronometres (Swiss Institute for
Official Chronometer Tests)" to certify that Rolex
movements met or exceeded the standards required to be designated "official
The institute is an independent testing
organization that certifies watches to this day. Rolex watch movements
were tested for accuracy in
varying positions and temperatures. In the earlier years, their results were logged by
hand or typewritten on the larger timing certificates. Afterwards,
the movements were sent back to Rolex
with the certificates.
Swiss watchmakers used this independent
testing organization to help them establish a strong reputation for
manufacturing quality timing instruments. Sales and marketing literature touted
the watches with movements as "Officially Certified Chronometers."
In addition to the timing papers issued by Bureaux Suisses, Rolex
produced a small "Chronometer certificate" card that designated the
watches that accompanied it as an "Officially Certified
Rolex also printed "Officially
Certified Chronometer" and "Superlative
Chronometer Officially Certified" directly on the dial of models that passed
such testing. Of course, there was
additional cost for this certification and a premium price was
charged for watches that went through this process.
Models such as the 5513 and the earlier Daytona models such as 6234/
6238/6239/6241/6240 were not certified chronometers. Rolex did
certifications for the gold version of the Daytona 6263/6265 models
much earlier than the steel models. Presumably the
steel 6263/6265 received chronometer certifications for their
movements late in their production cycle, although their dials never
reflected the chronometer rating. But the paperwork accompanying some of
these later 6263/6265 steel watches were chronometer papers with the words "Attestation de Chronometre
Rolex began to
phase out using the Bureaux Suisse certificates in the late 1960s
probably due to the volume of watches that had to be certified. The Bureaux
Suisse allowed the use of its red seal on batches of tested
movements and Rolex started producing its own green paper
certificates titled "Attestation de Chronometre Officiel" with
the Bureaux Suisse seal at the bottom left corner. The latest
Bureaux Suisse certificate I have is dated October of 1968 with a
watch serial number of 1.87M.
From the earliest papers
until about 1970, guarantee papers and chronometer certification
papers were two separate papers, as described
Chronometer papers were meant to 'prove' to the purchaser
that a watch had passed a set of standardized tests that qualified the watch to be designated
with a chronometer rating.
Guarantee papers were meant to
warranty the watch to be free from defects for a period of 1 year from the date of
sale. (Sometime in the 1980s that was extended to 2 years).
Some Guarantee papers also had "Rolex Superlative
Chronometer" on the front cover.
Circa 1970, or a just prior to the 3,000,000 case number, Rolex combined the
one year warranty ("Garantie") with the chronometer certification
("Attestation de Chronometre Officiel"). All Rolex papers to
this day have the guarantee and chronometer
Watches that were not
chronometer rated, such as the Daytona models, continued
to be accompanied by a smaller green "Garantie"
paper that did not have the chronometer certification "Attestation
de Chronometre Officiel" or the red seal in the bottom left corner.