Before 1954 wearing a mechanical watch near high magnetic fields was nearly impossible. The fields would make the inner workings of the watch malfunction and therefore not keep time. Rolex noted this problem and set out to create a watch that these professionals could wear.
The name Milgauss comes from the French word “mille” which means one thousand and “gauss” which is the unit of measure for magnetic induction.
A normal watch stops running correctly at about 60-100 gauss. Since Rolex created the Milgauss with anti-magnetic alloys in it’s movement it remains accurate at high gauss levels. It is guaranteed to work properly up to 1000 gauss but has been tested at 5000 gauss and remained accurate as well.
Along with the incredible engineering that went into the movement of the watch comes beautiful design. The Milgauss is one of the most recognizable Rolex’s on the market. Today the Milgauss is identified with the lightening bolt second hand, but that was not always the case. The first model did not have the bolt, instead it had very regular looking hands in the shape of a long triangle. Also, the bezel was the same as the Submariners.
Few of the first edition Milgauss were made before introducing the second version. The second version included metal markers at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. It also said “Milgauss” under the 12 o’clock position instead of at the bottom in the first version. By the fourth version of the watch the lightening bolt was introduced along with a special bezel that counted to 6.
Finally in the 60’s Rolex introduced the Milgauss with a solid metal bezel like the one you see today.
Over the years the Milgauss never proved to be a great seller. Because there are not many people who need a watch with the capabilities the Milgauss provides it was mostly sold for its styling. In 1986 Rolex discontinued the Milgauss.
In 2007 Rolex brought back the Milgauss with an absolutely stunning design. It came back with three different styles: first was stainless steel with a white dial, the second is stainless steel with a black dial, and the third is stainless steel with a black dial and green bezel.
Since its reintroduction, the Milgauss has started to regain some popularity within the luxury watch community.
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