Thus spelling out the word "ROLEX" with the "O" being omitted, to help avert any possible confusion with the number "0".
This sequence continued through November 1991, when a new numbering system was introduced utilizing the letters N, C and S, which took them through 1993.
Coincidentally, the numbering sequence of any particular Letter from this system (e.g.
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ABOVE: Around 2005, Rolex started engraving the Case's Serial Number into the inside edge of the case (at the 6 o'clock position, under the crystal and below the bezel), also known as the rehaut, as shown in these images, which were taken at BASELWORLD 2005, in Switzerland in early April.
BELOW: A close-up view of the same watch, you can clearly see the Serial Number "F982176", engraved into the case at the 6 o'clock position, with "ROLEX" engraved repetitiously around the dial in a circular fashion.
Even if they were to omit the letters "O" and "I", to help avert any possible confusion with the numbers "0" and "1" (as they did in the previous numbering system), that would still give them 1,785,793,904,896 possible combinations.