When Rolex debuted the Milgauss collection in 1956, it was a major advancement for the scientific community. The brand developed the model while partnering with CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Their rigorous testing helped Rolex to make components for the movement and case that would serve as an anti-magnetic shield for the watch. Rolex discontinued the production of the Milgauss in 1988 then revived again in 2007. Today, buying a Rolex Milgauss watch continues to be the perfect choice for members of the scientific community. Shop our collection of exceptional used Rolex Milgauss watches for sale.
In the 1950s, the world was on the verge of a scientific revolution. The U.S. made a significant increase in government funding for scientific research, and public support for scientific projects grew. As a result, there were major breakthroughs in a number of fields, from aeronautics to nuclear physics.
During this era of research and experimentation, scientists, doctors, and other scholars often endured strong electromagnetic fields. At the same time, they were also dependent on accurate timekeeping. This particular combination presented a problem. Highly magnetized exposure can disrupt the balance of mechanical watches. It can make them run too quickly, too slowly, or stop all together. The scientific community needed a timekeeping solution.
Over the years, watchmakers have made countless watches specifically for a particular industry or field. For instance, take pilot’s watches for aviators, dive watches for divers, or yacht watches for sailors. Yet, there was a void in watches designed for the scientific community. That all changed in 1956.
For years, Rolex had established a reputation as one of the top manufacturers of tool watches. They saw this need for an antimagnetic watch that would be reliable for scientists, and the Milgauss was born.
When the Milgauss debuted, it was the world’s first highly antimagnetic watch. To create the model, Rolex partnered with the European Organization for Nuclear Research known as CERN. After rigorous testing, they were able to construct the necessary components for the movement and case. These served as a magnetic shield for the watch. This was a major feat not only for Rolex but also for the scientific community as a whole.
The Milgauss is able to withstand electromagnetic fields of up to 1000 gauss. The name comes from this combination of the Latin world for 1000, mille, and the unit of magnetic fields, gauss. Rolex modelled the original Milgauss, the Reference 6541, after the Submariner. However, it featured a number of modifications. One example is its oversized case that could accommodate a built-in Faraday cage that protected the movement.
Rolex continued to develop the Milgauss into the 1960s and 1970s. The second variation, the Reference 1019, featured the addition of the now iconic orange lightning bolt second hand that contrasts the black dial. This is known as a signature feature of the Milgauss. However, in 1988, Rolex decided to discontinue the production of the Milgauss and focus on other models, partnerships, and projects.
Then, in 2007, the year of the 50th anniversary of the Milgauss, Rolex revived the collection. That year, they debuted three new limited edition versions. Two of the variations only differ by the color of their dial, one in black and the other in white. The third anniversary model, also known as the Glace Verte or GC model, showcases a black dial highlighted by a green tinted sapphire crystal. The GC Milgauss is the only Rolex model to feature this unique design.
The limited production of the Milgauss has made these timepieces highly prized in the pre-owned market. Still, Rolex has continued to release subtle variations over the years. For instance, in 2014, Rolex introduced a new blue dial “glace verte” model called Z-Blue. Overall, the creation of this one of a kind collection exemplifies the Rolex brand’s diversity and limitless power to innovate across a breadth of industries.
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