With its origins dating back to the 1950s, Milgauss is the fourth tool watch made by Rolex. The first three are the Submariner, the GMT Master and the Explorer. These robust, reliable and extremely precise timekeepers from the Professional series have been utilized for specialized activities. For example, the Submariner is a diving watch suitable for both amateur and professional divers. Likewise, the GMT-Master is dedicated to pilots and world travelers. Rolex also offers other tool watches like Air-king, Yacht-Master, Daytona and Sea Dweller.
Milgauss was originally envisaged for the scientific community. To handle various challenges during the extreme research activities, Rolex has equipped this timepiece with some special attributes that instantly became its hallmark.
The name Milgauss was derived from two words: “Mille” and “Gauss”. “Mille” is a French word of “thousand”. “Gauss” is a unit of measurement of magnetic induction as per the Gaussian unit system, named after the German mathematician and physicist Carl Friedrich Gauss. In the International System of Units (SI), the unit used for measuring the magnetic influence is tesla. One tesla (T) is equal to 10,000 Gauss.
Introduced in 1956, this iconic watch was designed to resist magnetic interference of up to 1,000 Gauss, and that’s why it has the name Milgauss (1,000 gauss). To achieve this, Rolex made an internal Faraday cage protecting the mechanical movement from external electro-magnetic influences.
Its exceptional antimagnetic capability was tested by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Since its launch, this watch series has been dedicated to engineers and scientists who handle heavy industrial machinery and devices with high EMF.
The historic references from the Milgauss Rolex family are Ref. 6541 (the first commercially available model) and Ref. 1019, which were introduced in 1960 and produced until 1988. It was one of the longest producing tool watch references by Rolex.
After a long hiatus, the brand launched ref. 116400, a new generation of these antimagnetic watches. Along with the contemporary models, the brand also introduced the ref. 116400GV with a black dial and green sapphire crystal to mark 40th anniversary of the collection. In 2014, a new Rolex 116400GV version with an electric-blue dial was unveiled.
Rolex Milgauss watch
Presently, the brand is offering two references of the new-generation Rolex Oyster Perpetual Milgauss watch. They respectively feature z-blue and black dials. Both models are topped with a green-colored sapphire crystal glass. Just like the original model released in 1956, the new specimens boast the distinct lightning bolt shaped centre seconds hand.
Its case and bracelet are made of Oystersteel (904L), providing higher corrosion-resistance and ruggedness in comparison with other steel alloys. Measuring 40mm in diameter, the tried and tested Oyster case incorporates monobloc middle-case, screw-down case-back and winding crown with Twinlock double waterproofness system. It has a waterproofness rating of 100 meters.
Magnetism is one of the major external forces that adversely affect the precision of a mechanical watch. It can be naturally originated or produced by some machinery. We regularly handle devices with highly magnetic parts, which can be harmful to your watches. To reduce such interferences, various measures have been applied in anti-magnetic watches. One such component is a miniature Faraday cage. The other method for reducing the magnetic flux is using nonmagnetic or paramagnetic materials for movement parts.
The inner anti-magnetic shield protecting the movement of the Rolex Milgauss is made of special ferromagnetic alloys. Acting as a Faraday cage, it features an engraving (the capital letter ‘B’ with an arrow) symbolizing magnetic flux density. The mechanical movement beating inside is also anti-magnetic. With this innovative construction, the timepiece achieves an impressive magnetic resistance up to 1,000 gauss.
Available in z-blue or black color, the dial features applied baton-shaped hour-markers with highly legible Chromalight display offering long-lasting luminescence. The hour and minute hands also employ this proprietary luminescent technology, ensuring the excellent dial readability even in the absence of light. The lightning bolt centre seconds hand is in orange color. Exclusively developed by Rolex for the new Milgauss watch, the green color sapphire crystal ensures optimum visibility of the dial. This glass is scratch-resistant and fade-proof. The polished bezel in Oystersteel enhances the elegance of this self-winding wristwatch.
Since 2007, all the latest generation Rolex Milgauss watches are equipped with the in-house self-winding Caliber 3131. Protected with an antimagnetic shield it drives the hour, minute and seconds functions, with stop-seconds mechanism ensuring precise time-setting. It also features a Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring, offering more stable and accurate timekeeping. The power reserve of this automatic movement is 48 hours. As a certified Spermatic Chronometer, the Milgauss offers an outstanding chronometric precision of -2/+2 sec/day.
Rolex has equipped the Milgauss with the Oyster bracelet. Made of Oystersteel, this iconic 3-links bracelet has a folding Oysterclasp with Easylink 5 mm comfort extension link. Apart from the specific activities for which it was designed, Milgauss can also be used as an everyday watch, thanks to its compactness, versatility and reliability.
Although a historically important creation, Milgauss has been long overshadowed due to the popularity of other Rolex watch models like Submariner and the GMT-Master. Launched in the mid 1950s, it established the category antimagnetic watches specially made for engineers and scientists. Being away from hypes, this understated wristwatch model is generally sought-after by seasoned collectors.
It is one of the least expensive watches from the Rolex Professional series. Depending upon the region, the prices can fluctuate from HK$68,000 to HK$110,000, including in secondary markets. It is slightly costlier than the latest Air-King 40mm and the Explorer 36mm models made of Oystersteel.
The investment value of Milgauss has been witnessing a surge in recent years. For example, the Rolex Milgauss 2020 price was near about HKD75,000 for the 116400GV with a blue dial during a Christie’s sale. Interestingly, the Rolex Milgauss 2021 price for the same model was above HKD83,000. More recently, the auction prices of some models crossed HK$119,000 mark. This trend surely indicates that the Milgauss is also a highly desirable Rolex watch for investment purposes.