Performance of a Similar Model
The Rolex Milgauss can withstand powerful magnetic fields, making it the ultimate tool watch. Originally developed for engineers and scientists, today this watch captures the attention of watch enthusiasts and investors.
The Milgauss holds a special position within the Oyster collection. It was the first Rolex watch with resistance to strong magnetic fields thanks to a ferromagnetic shield. Since its introduction in 1956, this protective shield has been guarding the Milgauss against magnetic fields of up to 1,000 gauss. This also explains the watch's name: It's a combination of the French word for thousand (mille) and the unit of measurement for magnetism, gauss.
This timepiece is also water-resistant to 100 m (10 bar, 328 ft) as a result of its screw-down case back and Twinlock crown. This means the Milgauss is not only well-suited for people who encounter strong magnetic fields in their work, but it's also a universal timepiece that you can wear while swimming or playing sports.
Its design includes a 40-mm Oyster case and a three-piece link Oyster bracelet with polished middle links, both of which underscore the watch's elegant nature. You can't miss the orange, lightning-bolt-shaped second hand, nor the orange "MILGAUSS" inscription and matching minute scale around the edge of the dial.
Like many Rolex models, the Milgauss saw a drop in price from spring 2022, following a surge in market value between 2020 and 2022. This means that the Milgauss is now much more affordable than it was previously. However, since Rolex has stopped production of the Milgauss in the meantime, it will be exciting to see how prices develop in the future.
|Reference number||Price (approx.)||Features|
|116400||11,000 USD||Black dial, clear sapphire crystal|
|116400GV||13,500 USD||Black dial, green sapphire crystal|
|116400GV||15,000 USD||Blue dial, green sapphire crystal|
|116400||15,000 USD||White dial, clear sapphire crystal|
|1019||30,000 USD||Vintage watch, silver dial, acrylic glass|
|1019||45,000 USD||Vintage watch, black dial, acrylic glass|
|6541||158,000 USD||1st generation, extremely rare, acrylic glass|
The Rolex Milgauss ref. 116400GV, which features a blue dial and green-tinted sapphire crystal, cost about 15,000 USD new as of May 2023. Pre-owned models sell for roughly 12,500 USD. There is another version under the same reference number with a black dial and green-tinted sapphire crystal. This configuration costs around 13,500 USD in mint condition, and 11,000 USD pre-owned.
If you prefer the look of clear sapphire crystal, you should keep your eyes peeled for the ref. 116400. This model is available with a white or black dial. The latter changes hands for about 11,000 USD new and 9,800 USD pre-owned.
Fans of vintage watches should be on the lookout for the ref. 1019. Rolex manufactured this model from the early 1960s until the late 1980s. Even though it was in production for over 20 years, it's still relatively rare. Interest in the Milgauss was relatively low at the time, leading to limited production numbers.
You can recognize the ref. 1019 by its polished bezel and straight second hand. It comes in three dial varieties: black, silver, and without radioactive luminous material. The third option is also known as the "CERN" dial, since it was commissioned by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). This version is especially popular among collectors and sells for just north of 32,000 USD. The model with a silver dial and luminous material (in this case, tritium) costs about 30,000 USD, while the black edition requires an investment of roughly 45,000 USD as of May 2023.
One of the earliest Milgauss models is the ref. 6541. This watch's production run lasted from 1956 until the early 1960s. Due to its rarity, it's not uncommon for this reference to sell for over 150,000 USD at auction. However, you can also find timepieces in varying used conditions for around 50,000 USD.
The ref. 6541's predecessor, the ref. 6543, is nearly impossible to find; Rolex only ever made a handful of these watches over a very short period of time. Prices upwards of 150,000 USD are fairly standard. Thanks to their black rotating bezels, Oyster cases, and Oyster bracelets, these early Milgauss models bear a striking resemblance to the first Rolex Submariners.
The Milgauss comes with a dial in your choice of black, white, or blue. All the hour indices on the white dial are orange. Only the 3, 6, and 9 markers are orange on the black dial (ref. 116400GV), while the rest are white. The blue dial features entirely white indices. All three versions share orange Arabic numerals on their minute tracks. The one exception is the black edition with clear sapphire crystal, which has a minute scale with rectangular orange markers. Like the Z-Blue dial, this version also has exclusively white indices.
Perhaps the most notable feature of the Rolex Milgauss is its orange lightning bolt second hand ending in an arrow. This extra detail stands out on the otherwise streamlined watch.
Current Milgauss watches are powered by the in-house caliber 3131. This automatic movement has a 48-hour power reserve and ticks at 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz). An inner case made of a special metal alloy protects the movement against magnetic fields.
The caliber 3131 premiered alongside the new version of the Milgauss in 2007. It features a stop-seconds mechanism, enabling you to set the time to the exact second. The 3131 is closely related to the caliber 3135, which powers the Sea-Dweller with a date display. A date display would create a hole in the movement's shield; therefore, this feature was intentionally left off the Milgauss.
The Milgauss has a moderate diameter of 40 mm and is, therefore, a good companion for both narrower and larger wrists. Its case is made of 904L stainless steel. Rolex has chosen this steel alloy since it's particularly tough and corrosion-reisitant. There's no need to fear being near water when wearing a Milgauss either, as it's water-resistant to 100 m (10 bar, 328 ft), so you can leave it on while swimming and snorkeling. Its Twinlock crown uses two rubber gaskets to keep water from entering the case.
Similar to its case, the Milgauss' three-piece link bracelet also comes in 904L stainless steel. This specific bracelet type is known as the Oyster bracelet, which Rolex uses for many other models. Its middle links are polished, while the outer links have a matte finish. The bracelet can easily be extended 5 mm with the Easylink system and adjusted to fit your wrist.
The Milgauss stands out due to its anti-magnetic properties. A special balance spring and a soft iron cage around the movement protect the watch from magnetic fields. It premiered in 1956 under the reference number 6541. Rolex originally designed the Milgauss for scientists and other professionals who work near strong magnetic fields. Rolex didn't need to look very far from their own backyard: The nuclear research center CERN, where such conditions are the norm, was founded in 1954 and is also headquartered in Geneva.
The strength of magnetic fields is measured in gauss, named after the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss. Rolex built the first Milgauss to withstand 1,000 gauss, hence the watch's name. Production of the model stopped in 1988, but began again in 2007.