Rolex Milgauss – Useful and Affordable
It’s quite possible that you’ve never heard of the Rolex Milgauss, and that’s true even if you’re a fan of the brand. This model has long been the “sleeper” of the company’s product line and it’s a watch that was created out of industrial need, rather than at the whim of designers.
Introduced in 1956, the Rolex Milgauss was created especially for use in environments which contain a strong magnetic field. Most wristwatches have steel parts, and when exposed to a magnetic field, they tend to keep poor time and sometimes they even quit working permanently.
That’s a problem for people who work in research facilities, medical facilities and power plants, and people who worked in such environments were looking for a reliable timepiece that could work under those harsh conditions.
With that, this unusual model was born, and it was in production for more than thirty years before being discontinued in 1988. In 2007, the model was brought back, with some interesting design changes. It has the benefit of being one of the more affordable watches in the company’s product line, and affordable or not, it’s still a Rolex and still carries the company’s name and legendary build quality.
Read on for the full Rolex Milgauss watches review.
The build quality is comparable to the rest of the company’s product line – rock solid. This model features a stainless steel case, sapphire crystal, and a movement that is encased by an antimagnetic shield. Water resistance is 100 meters. This is a solid, well-built timepiece that should work well for decades with proper care.
The movement in the Rolex Milgauss is a Swiss-made automatic mechanical movement. Due to the inclusion of the antimagnetic cage, the encased movement is a bit thicker than most other watches in the company’s product line. Aside from that, it has the same accuracy and reliability that one would expect from any other watch made by Rolex.
Obviously, the most innovative feature in the Rolex Milgauss is the antimagnetic cage that surrounds the inner moving parts. The name of the watch signifies that the timepiece can withstand a magnetic field of 1000 gauss, which should be adequate for most customers’ needs.
Most watches are made from magnetic parts and this creates a problem for people who work around magnetic fields. Your watch isn’t going to work correctly if all of the parts are trying to stick to one another. Rolex’s engineers solved this problem in the mid 1950s and the model has sold solidly, if in unspectacular numbers, ever since.
This is an unheralded model in the company’s product line and doesn’t get too much attention from their design team. This model is currently available in three versions – one with a white face, one with a black face and one with a blue-green face.
The cases are all stainless steel, as are the bands. There are no other features besides a second hand, though the second hand is unique – it’s orange, and it looks like a lightning bolt. No other model offered by the company has such a unique second hand.
As with most precision mechanical timepieces, this model does require some extra care over and above what one might normally expect from a watch. You should store it in a cool, dry place when not in use, and ideally, in a watch winder, in order to keep it working properly and keeping accurate time.
You should wear it at least once a month to keep it working smoothly. Rolex recommends that you send the watch back to them every five years or so for a full servicing, which involves disassembling the watch and examining it for worn parts. Those parts will be replaced, all the others cleaned, and then the watch will be lubricated and reassembled with new watertight gaskets installed.
Then it will be thoroughly tested for accuracy and water resistance before being cleaned and polished. By the time it’s returned to you, your watch should look and work like new.
This watch is sold with the company’s standard two year warranty against defects in materials and craftsmanship. This is the industry standard; most companies offer a warranty of this length. You’ll get a two year warranty on your every-five-years servicing, as well. These are well-tested precision timepieces, so defects on these watches are quite rare.
You’ll find that prices are reasonable, as the company’s products go. That doesn’t mean that they’re inexpensive; they’re not. But you can buy one for $8000-$12,000, which makes them affordable when compared with the rest of the company’s products, which have prices that can run upwards of $400,000.
You’ll also have the advantage of owning a Rolex watch that’s different from what everyone else has, as this model simply isn’t that well known. Collectors are quite interested in older versions, as it didn’t sell well during its original production run from 1956-1988.
Prices for those can be quite high, and we expect to see prices even for modern versions increase over time since they really aren’t big sellers.
As with other products from the company, you’ll only find this watch for sale at authorized retailers. The company restricts both the distribution and prices of their products in order to keep supply and demand in check and to keep the company’s brand from being diluted.
Most of the retailers are high end jewelry stores and you’ll find that the prices are fairly inflexible. It is difficult, but not impossible to buy discounted examples online if you look around. A few online retailers do stock them.
While the Rolex Milgauss was originally created to solve a specific problem encountered by some of the company’s customers, it’s a legitimate and attractive Rolex watch that offers nice traditional styling, great build quality and relative affordability as luxury watches go. If you want to own one of the company’s timepieces and you want something a bit out of the ordinary, then the Rolex Milgauss would be a good choice.