Why explore the Rolex Milgauss?

Are all Rolex watches equal? Well, some models are more popular than others. But a well-documented global shortage of stainless-steel models means that the smart collector is exploring other, thought to be less popular, models like the Rolex Milgauss, and that these are firmly in their sights. While many people are waiting it out for a Rolex Daytona or a Rolex Submariner, it could pay off to find out more about a Rolex Milgauss for sale.

Rolex as a brand continues to hold its value. That is underestimating Rolex’s performance. Pretty much every model will sell for a greater pre-owned value than a new Rolex, and that includes the Milgauss. But what is it about this model that has seemingly slipped under the radar? Is it that we don’t appreciate what we don’t know? Is the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Milgauss men’s watch a backstory that’s just waiting to be heard?

What is the Rolex Milgauss?

Sometimes known as one of the ‘Forgotten Rolexes’, the Rolex Milgauss was released in 1956. It was a busy time for the brand, with launches for the Explorer, Rolex Submariner, the Rolex Day-Date, and the Rolex GMT-Master preceding the Milgauss. Did it simply get lost in the noise?

The Rolex Milgauss is remarkable for its crossover into the world of science. While Europe was beginning to fully emerge from the horror of World War II, attentions turned to technological scientific developments – but that made life very difficult for certain professionals. Working with strong magnets and magnetic fields made it impossible for some engineers and technicians to identify watches that could withstand the magnetism. It might seem like a niche problem, but it’s one that Rolex focused on.

The development of the Rolex Milgauss

The Rolex Milgauss was developed to withstand magnetic interference from up to 1,000 gauss, which the unit of magnetic flux density. The 'Mil-' in the watch name relates to the 1,000 that the watch could withstand, and is taken from the French word for thousand ‘mille’. The Milgauss includes a second, internal case and, with a soft iron dial, creates a Faraday cage within the watch.

A little like a watch build for a superhero, the Milgauss becomes a more interesting proposition. When testing the watch, Rolex turned to CERN, the European particle physics laboratory. It was the start of a beautiful relationship! CERN confirmed the Milgauss’ magnetic resistance, and Rolex continues to partner CERN by supporting many of its events, including scientific conferences and outreach events.

The Milgauss - A sporty appearance

Sales of the Rolex Milgauss struggled, despite its sporty appearance. The Rolex Milgauss ref. 6541 ref. 6543 were almost identical to early Submariners, including a rotating black bezel. However, Rolex tweaked the design, but without any impact.

If you can find a Rolex Milgauss 1019 for sale, you may want to take a second look. Released in 1960, Rolex pared back the design flair, and opting for a three-hand option with a stationary bezel. The Milgauss continued more or less like this until Rolex retired the Milgauss in 1988.

When chronographs and science collided 

Just under 20 years later, the Rolex Milgauss burst back onto the market to commemorate CERN’s completion of the Large Hardon Collider. Changes had been made, with the Milgauss only produced in steel as part of the brand’s Professional Collection.

Leveraging its scientific heritage, the 2007 Milgauss looked felt different. The Rolex Milgauss 116400GV had a black dial, and a green-tinted sapphire crystal, known as the Glace Verte (GV). The ref. 116400GV is the only time that the brand has ever produced coloured glass, and it was reported to be so complicated, that Rolex hasn’t repeated this.

A colour swatch for Rolex 

Rolex isn’t known for its bright colours – although some models stand out because of their colouring, such as the Hulk the Kermit – but the Rolex Milgauss appears to be something of a colour swatch for Rolex. The Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue arrived in 2014, and replaced the typical white dial with an electric blue dial, maintaining the green sapphire crystal which included a minute track and a lightning bolt second hand both in bright orange. Unsurprisingly, the Z-Blue is one of the most brightly coloured Rolex’s around.

Is the Rolex Milgauss a good investment?

Genuinely, the Rolex Milgauss could be an excellent investment – a good way to circumnavigate the current stainless steel and sports watch shortage. Not only has the Milgauss become a good alternative investment, but the growth in demand has seen more pre-owned models come onto the market.

Both the Z-Blue model, and the older black and white models are worth considering, as the fact that the Milgauss was once discontinued, adds to its novel value worth. Not many of certain models were made, with only 150 of the ref. 6543 ever made, with one fetching 271,500 Swiss Francs at an auction in 2017. If you can find a CERN-requested Milgauss from the 1960s, you are really onto something special. Only a very few were made. and, at the request of the scientists, these ref. 1019 Milgauss had no luminescence on the hands or indexes at all. This was to ensure there was no tritium that could have upset sensitive laboratory equipment. Known as the CERN Dials, they are some of the most highly-sought after Milgauss.

Pre-owned Rolex watches at Suttons & Robertsons London Jewellers 

S&R London Jewellers are renowned for having a wide selection of pre-owned Rolex watches for ladies and pre-owned Rolex watches for men. Discover our pre-owned Rolex collection online today, or feel free to visit us in our London Store to see your options in-person. 

Here at S&R London, we also stock pre-owned designer, luxury, vintage and antique watches from other world leading and Swiss watch brands such as Rolex, Breitling, Carter, TUDOR, OMEGA, TAG Heuer, Bvlgari and more.

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