Rolex Milgauss Review: A Closer Look At Its Unique Features

Rolex Milgauss is one of the lesser-known models in the Rolex watches with a fascinating history and unique design features.

It was first introduced in 1956 for scientists who worked at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. Rolex created it to withstand up to 1,000 gauss of magnetism and that’s how it got its name. The watch has undergone several design transformations through the years, making it more aesthetically and functionally advanced today.

The Rolex Milgauss review below provides an in-depth study of its design, features, and performance. It also explores its history, examines its unique design elements, and evaluates its accuracy and discontinuation. 

History of Rolex Milgauss

close up image of Rolex Milgauss

The Rolex Milgauss was first manufactured in 1956 and was designed specifically for scientists and engineers who worked in environments with high levels of magnetic fields. 

The time only watch was created to withstand up to 1,000 gauss, which is equivalent to the strength of a small refrigerator magnet. The name “Milgauss” is a fusion of the French word for a thousand, “mille,” and the unit of magnetic field strength, “gauss.”

The original Milgauss featured a unique shield protecting the movement from magnetic fields. The guard was made of a ferromagnetic alloy, which allowed it to attract and distribute magnetic fields around the movement, effectively neutralizing their effects. The watch was also equipped with a soft iron inner case, which further protected the movement from magnetic fields.

It might have had a unique design, but the Milgauss didn’t climb up the popularity ladder the watch has overnight. Rolex produced it in relatively limited quantities. Moreover, it wasn’t yet seen outside the science facilities. However, over the years, the Milgauss has gained a loyal following among watch fans thanks to its eye-catching appearance and remarkable story.

Here’s a brief look at its evolution from its release to date:

  • Rolex Milgauss Ref. 6541– introduced in 1956, it had a soft iron shield to protect the movement from magnetic fields. It was produced in small quantities and had a distinctive lightning bolt seconds hand.
  • Rolex Milgauss Ref. 1019– it was presented in 1960. It featured a more robust Faraday cage and a new movement that was even more resistant to magnetic fields. It was in production for over 20 years.
  • Rolex Milgauss Ref. 116400– it was introduced in 2007 and had a 40mm steel case. It was available in three versions; a white dial Milgauss, a green-crystal black dial (ref. 116400GV), and a green-crystal Z-Blue dial (ref. 116400GV).

Design and Features

The following is a look at its design and some of its most noteworthy features:

Case and Bracelet

Rolex Milgauss Case

The Rolex Milgauss 116400 features a 40mm (an improvement from the previous 38mm) Oystersteel case with a smooth bezel and a matching Oyster bracelet. 

Oystersteel is Rolex’s special alloy that’s stronger than ordinary stainless steel and boasts a better shine. It’s one of the expensive watches with a greater case thickness than other models in the Rolex lineup, including the Datejust, Submariner, Explorer ii, and GMT Master.

As for the bracelet, it has well-brushed outer links and nicely polished center links. It comes with Rolex’s patented Easylink wrist extension system, making wearing it pleasant. 

The system is convenient as it allows users to adjust the bracelet length by at least 5mm without the hassle of tools. The case has a water resistance rating of up to 100 meters, making it ideal for swimming and other similar light water activities.

Dial and Hands

Rolex Milgauss Dial

The dial of the Milgauss is available in different colors, including black, white, blue, and green. The dial features a unique lightning bolt-shaped seconds hand that adds to the watch’s distinctive look. It’s protected by a scratch-resistant green tinted crystal. 

Its sword-shaped hands and index hour markers have a Chromalight application. Chromalight is a luminescent material that emits a blue or orange glow in low light conditions, making it easy to read the time in the dark. Rolex plans to improve the material in the future to strengthen its brightness and lasting period.

Movement

Caliber 3131 movement

The Milgauss is powered by Rolex’s in-house Caliber 3131 movement, a self-winding mechanical movement. It has a bi-directional winding and is equipped with a Paramagnetic Parachrom Blue hairspring. The hairspring is finer than human hair and is highly resistant to shocks (up to 10 times resistant) and temperature variations, ensuring accurate timekeeping. 

The no-date, time-only, 3-hander movement was unveiled in Baselworld 2007. It has 31 jewels, a power reserve of roughly 48 hours and a 28,800vph frequency. Additionally, it has a seconds hacking feature and is certified by COSC, the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute, for its precision and reliability. 

Overall, the Rolex Milgauss is a modern times unique and distinctive watch that combines style and functionality. Its design and features make it a popular choice among watch enthusiasts and professionals who require a reliable and accurate timepiece.

Durability and Water Resistance

The Rolex Milgauss is built to withstand the rigors of everyday wear and tear. The watch is constructed with 904L-grade Oystersteel, a highly durable and corrosion-resistant material commonly used in the aerospace and chemical industries. The watch case is also fitted with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, which is highly resistant to impact and scratches.

One of the most noteworthy characteristics of the Milgauss is its water resistance. The watch has a water-resistance rating of up to 100 meters, making it fit for swimming and snorkeling. However, it’s not recommended for deep-sea diving or prolonged exposure to water.

In addition to its durability and water resistance, the Milgauss is also highly resistant to magnetic fields. The watch is designed to withstand magnetic fields of up to 1,000 gauss, making it ideal for professionals who work in environments with high levels of electromagnetic interference, such as scientists and engineers.

Performance and Accuracy

The Rolex Milgauss is known for its exceptional performance and accuracy. It is equipped with a self-winding mechanical movement with a power reserve of approximately 48 hours. 

The movement is also equipped with a Parachrom hairspring, which is made of a special alloy that is highly resistant to magnetic fields and temperature variations. This makes the Milgauss highly reliable and accurate, even in the most extreme conditions.

In addition to its reliable movement, the Milgauss is also equipped with a special antimagnetic shield that protects the movement from strong magnetic fields. This shield, made of ferromagnetic alloys, is placed inside the Oyster case, providing additional protection against magnetic interference.

The Milgauss has undergone various tests to ensure its accuracy and performance. In one test, the watch was exposed to a magnetic field of 1,000 gauss, which is much higher than the strength of a typical refrigerator magnet. The watch was able to maintain its accuracy and perform within the COSC (Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute) standards, which require a deviation of no more than -4/+6 seconds per day.

Price and Availability

The Rolex Milgauss is a luxury watch with a price tag to match. As per WatchCharts, the retail price for a new Rolex Milgauss is S$12,391. However, the actual cost of a Milgauss can vary depending on the model and where it is purchased. 

Pre-owned Milgauss watches can also be found on the market, with prices ranging from S$13,969 to S$14,692, depending on the condition and age of the watch.

Feature

Details

Retail Price

S$12,391

Pre-owned Prices

S$13,969 – S$14,692 (depending on condition and age)

FAQs

1. How good is Rolex Milgauss?

The Rolex Milgauss is good and reliable. Its antimagnetic features, solid steel case, and high-precision movement give it an edge over most watches. The beautiful black dial also offers a green sapphire crystal and an eye-catching splash of colors if you value looks as much as functionality.

2. What is so special about the Rolex Milgauss?

It’s a highly antimagnetic watch designed to withstand high electromagnetism levels. Additionally, the ref. 116400 has a shield created from ferromagnetic alloys inside the case. It serves to raise the magnetic field resistance level even higher.

3. Does Milgauss hold value?

Pre-owned Rolex Milgauss models retain their value nicely. However, this depends on several crucial factors, such as age, condition, model, and the watch brand current market value.

4. What are the key differences between an authentic and counterfeit Milgauss piece?

  • An authentic piece is heavier since it’s anti-magnetic. It has special components that protect the movement. On the other hand, a fake is lighter since it’s created from lower-quality materials.
  • An original is smoother, with soft lines and delicate edges. A counterfeit often has rough edges, unequal lines, and an overall rough texture. Moreover, it often scratches easily at the crystal and bracelet due to the cheap, unreliable materials.
  • An original Milgauss never ticks since it has a sweep seconds feature. The seconds hand glides around the neat dial continuously. Meanwhile, a fake ticks since its manufacturers can’t replicate the original’s gear. Its seconds hand pauses after every second.
  • A real ref. 116400’s dial has a green tinted sapphire crystal with a consistent shine. On the other hand, an unoriginal Milgauss ref. 116400’s green crystal has an inconsistent shine and is often less clear in bright light since it doesn’t have an anti-reflective coating and isn’t scratch-resistant.
  • An original has a deep blue, more pronounced hairspring, while a fake has a tinier and paler hairspring.

An original piece can last a lifetime if properly maintained and serviced by a Rolex professional. Although Rolex recommends servicing after every 10 years, it wouldn’t hurt to take your watch for servicing after 5-7 years to keep it in top working condition.

5. Will Rolex Milgauss be discontinued?

The Rolex Milgauss Oyster Perpetual 11600 is now discontinued as of March 2023. The white dial option with orange markers was discontinued in 2016. The other two versions (green-crystal black dial and green-crystal Rolex Milgauss Z Blue) were discontinued.

Final Word

The Rolex Milgauss is a unique and highly sought-after timepiece that combines style, durability, and functionality. Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind when considering a Milgauss.

Key Takeaways

  • The Milgauss collection was initially designed for scientists and engineers who worked in environments with high levels of magnetic fields. 
  • The modern Milgauss is capable of withstanding up to 1,000 gauss, making it one of the most magnetic-resistant watches on the market.
  • The Milgauss features a distinctive lightning bolt second hand that differentiates it from other Rolex models. Its design is both practical and visually striking.
  • The Milgauss is available in various colors and materials, including the popular Z-Blue edition, which features a unique blue dial, multicolor lume and green glass.
  • Pre-owned Milgauss costs around S$13,969 – S$14,692, depending on the market.

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