If you look for Rolexes on the secondary market at all, you have likely seen advertisements for Rolexes that come with a “full set” or a “complete set.” What does that mean? The truth is the term means different things to different people. In fact, many use the term box and papers, which may just mean the original box and warranty certificate but may mean a complete set. This can cause confusion.
The one thing that cannot be replaced is a Rolex guarantee/warranty document (or card for more recent watches.) Thus, every full set, regardless of who calls it that, includes a guarantee card. It’s the only part of a set that can’t be easily replaced.
Here is a list of other items, some or all of which are typically included as part of a full set.
Box (inner and outer box)
COSC hangtag (Chronometer hangtag)
Anchor, if applicable
Original sales receipt
Original white paper sleeve
Other provenance (a term relating to authenticity and proof of it)
Did I miss anything? What’s important to you?
SIDE NOTE Because only the guarantee certificate (or card in modern watches) is the only item impossible to replace, many consider a “full set” now irrelevant. This is particularly true because almost all accessories are available from various sites online with very little investment. However, older watches have accessories much more expensive and more rare, such as the original colored boxes for a Daytona 116519. They will set you back more than a little. In fact, the turquoise blue boxes can sell for five-digit prices all by themselves.