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Case Reference Number Guide Credit: Pietro Sala - Universal Watch Geneve Book - Edit Vallardi
The first number indicates the material used to make the case.
1 = 18 Carat Gold Case
2 = Steel Case
3 = Chrome-Plated Case
4 = Gilded Case
5 = 14 Carate Gold Case
6 = No examples of reference numbers starting with number 6 have been found, or any sources attesting to such existence.
7 = 14 Carat White-Gold Case
The second number indicates the type of movement.
1 = Time only
2 = Chronograph
The third number indicates the size of the base plate housing the movement in relation to the calibre used, hence:
1 = The case houses a Calibre 289 (23.30mm)
2 or 3 = The case houses a Calibre 281 (27.80mm) or a 283 (29.50mm) or 481 (31.70mm) derivative
4 or 5 = The case houses a Calibre 285 (31.70mm) or a 287 (33.20mm) or 292 (35.20mm) derivative
This logic applies to chronographs; in calender watches, the third number is always a 3 as the only calibre mounted in these watches is the 291.
The last two numbers indicate the case design;
99 numbers were available to define the visual aspect of a case. In order to aid understanding of this numeration system, let us look at a few examples: a model with reference number 52408 has a 14 carat gold case and is a calibre 285 (or derivative) chronograph.
On the other hand, if an example bears the number 22305, this tells us that it has a steel case and is a calibre 285 (or derivative) chronograph.
An additional number tacked on to the end, either directly or separated by a space or hyphen, signals that the case model was a variation of the five-digit model.