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Rolex Milgauss Ref. 116400GV + Papers
The scientist’s Rolex
Rolex is a watch brand known for purpose-built watches, with clear functionality, superb quality and addressed to a certain public. The sports watches have a recognizable design and are mostly equipped with the extra lock on the clasp. Then there’s the Datejust, a dressy, practical and precise watch next to the presidential Day-Date which is the Flagship model. And then there’s the Milgauss, a watch which looks like a big Datejust with a domed bezel and a strange seconds hand.
In the 1950s there was a group of professionals which had difficulty with timekeeping in their working environment. Think about environments like power plants, research labs and or medical facilities. The one thing these places all have in common? The presence of an electromagnetic field. This affects the functionality and precision of mechanical watches, there was no way to do reliable time measurements in these locations, until 1956 when this watch was introduced with a movement built with antimagnetic materials. This was a big technological breakthrough for both Rolex and science.
Cool, good looking, the right brand and a great story, this modern Milgauss is like new and ready for some more timekeeping. We’re located in the Reestraat, Amsterdam.
Got your attention? We’re here to help.
Rolex is known to make watches for niche professionals. The Milgauss is such a watch, originally aimed at scientists, working in the presence of magnetic fields. Pretty niche, if you ask us.
Magnetism is a natural enemy of the mechanical watch movement. It can cause major disruption of time-keeping, rendering a watch useless. Rolex teamed up with CERN in the 1950’s, to create a watch that could withstand a thousand (Mille) Gauss of magnetism. The result was the Ref. 6453, launched in 1953, in a form-factor very similar to the Submariner. It featured a Farraday cage around the movement, providing the required protection. The Ref. 6453 is extremely rare, only between 80 and 200 pieces are estimated to have been made.
The range saw only three updates throughout its existence. In 1956, the Ref. 6541 was introduced. This reference came with the typifying lightning bolt seconds hand and a larger 20mm lug width. The Ref. 6541 is another exceedingly rare vintage Rolex that has appreciated into the stratosphere.
A more common and more attainable vintage Milgauss is the Ref. 1019. In appearance quite similar to other Oyster case models, but scaled up to 38mm. This size gives these vintage 1019’s a very modern stance on the wrist. They come in black and silver dial variations, with straight or lightning bolt seconds hands. A dial variant without any lume is known as the CERN dial.
The third update was launched in 2007, with the Ref. 116400. A striking, large Oyster Perpetual variant with a bright orange lightning bolt seconds hand. A green-tinted crystal was added later.
The Milgauss is one of those quirky Rolex lines that are reserved for the true aficionados. Often overlooked, but truly worthy of your attention. And the combination of scarcity and desirability have turned these into veritable collector’s items.
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