Words from Rolex:
“The reliability and precision of an ordinary mechanical watch can be affected by a magnetic field of 50 to 100 gauss. But many scientists are exposed to much higher magnetic fields during the course of their work. Rolex’s solution was the Rolex Milgauss, created in 1956, the first watch of its kind. Hence the name of the watch, mille being French for thousand (Rolex.com)”.
As of other Rolex watches go, Milgauss is made out of 904L Oystersteel that is specially developed to maximize its resistance to corrosion. It is sized at 40mm with monobloc middle case with a solid back design. As a result, Milgauss is able to withstand up to 10 bars of pressure.
However, what really stands out about its casing is the inclusion of the shield inside of the Oyster case. To fight against the magnetic interference, according to Rolex, they have fitted ferromagnetic alloys of choice that surrounds and protects the movement inside.
Compare to other ordinary mechanical watches that are affected by magnetic field of 50 to 100 gauss, claimed 1000 gauss of resistance is just fascinating. As to commemorate for this breakthrough in the mechanical watch industry, the symbol for magnetic flux density, B, is engraved in the magnetic shield beneath the back plate. Lastly, unlike most of other Rolex watches, Milgauss is one of the few models that has the writings on the back plate.
II. Dial, Bezel, and Crown
One of the most distinguishing exterior feature of this Milgauss is its Z-Blue dial that features orange highlighted lightning-bolt-shaped second hand. In addition, Green sapphire crystal, that was developed in 2007 by Rolex exclusive only to Milgauss, covers the Chromalight bar indexes with blue luminescence.
All Milgauss models only have the smooth bezel option. However, this, rather simple design, is able to highlight its one of a kind green sapphire crystal. Lastly, Milgauss is featured with Rolex’s screw-down twinlock crown that doubles as a manual winder.
Made with the same Oystersteel material, Rolex’s famous oyster bracelet is a rather simple and robust metal bracelet that is functional at the same time. In fact, inside of the folding Oysterclasp is the Easylink 5 mm comfort extension link that ensures the comfortable fit.
Movement used on Milgauss is the Calibre 3131 of Rolex. Overall Calibre 3131 is a rather ordinary self-winding movement of Rolex with a magnetic shield that protects the movement. It has the blue Parachrom hairspring, alloy including niobium and zirconium, that helps with the various interference against it. Lastly, with 48 hours of power reserve, Calibre 3131 is a certified chronometer with claimed +-2 sec/day precision after casing.
V. Conclusion and Pricing
Priced around 8,200 USD, Milgauss is in a rather unusual position. 8,200 USD is 2,000 USD more expensive than the entry level Rolex and similar to the more popular Datejust steel model. Personally, Milgauss is an underrated watch of Rolex that has its own quirks to it. If you desire an unique Rolex that is hard to come by, Milgauss is worth looking into. However, if you want more classic and generic Rolex watch that the world knows about, Milgauss is not for you. With that said, one thing to note about Milgauss is its weight that comes from extra layer of shielding. All in all, Milgauss is a distinct watch that is worth checking out.