Wednesday, September 23

Review: Hands-on with the Rolex Milgauss Ref. 116400GV

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The Rolex Milgauss is an interesting timepiece in the Rolex collection. First launched in 1956 for scientists and engineers, the timepiece derived its nomenclature from the words “mille” and “gauss” (the latter being a unit of magnetic measurement) – literally translating to 1,000 Gauss.

There were two iterations of the Milgauss in the early 50s and 60s – namely the Reference 6541 and 1019. The latter was produced until 1988, where it was discontinued due to the lack of popularity of the model.

The Milgauss follows the concept of using a Faraday cage – made of ferromagnetic alloys –  to protect the movement. It consists of two shield, one screwed to the movement and the other to the cage, to prevent the movement’s components from getting magnetized. Its efficacy was proven when the timepiece was sent for testing to The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

Back in 2007, the Milgauss was once again reintroduced to the Rolex line-up. It was met with mixed reactions initially, but collectors have certainly grown to love this fascinating timepiece over time. So, how does it fare after 13 years? Let us take a more in-depth look of this tool watch.

The Case, Dial, and Hands

The Milgauss is constructed like any Rolex watches – robust yet handsome. The 40mm timepiece straddles between being a tool watch and a rather versatile timepiece – suitable for both casual and more formal occasion. The Oyster case is pretty well-finished, as usual, with a myriad of brushed and mirror-finished polishing techniques.

Fitted to the timepiece is Rolex’s signature Oyster bracelet, which completes the look of the watch. Its reasonable case size and user-centric design means the Milgauss is comfortable on the wrist. Our only qualm perhaps lies on the central link of the bracelet, which unfortunately makes it highly susceptible to hairline scratches due to its mirror-polished surface.

The more polarizing component of the watch therein lies in the dial and hands. The Milgauss is available in a series of dial colours (Z-blue and black; white has been discontinued), of which the electric sunburst blue dial – as seen above – is perhaps the most popular option amongst the trio. It is paired with a green-tinted sapphire crystal, dubbed the “Glace Verde” (literally translates to green glass). It was said that the green sapphire crystal so was difficult to manufacture that Rolex did not even apply for this particular invention. This particular glass sapphire crystal is both scratch and fade proof, and it is only exclusive to the Milgauss collection.

Complementing the dial are the stick indices, which are filled with Chromalight. For the black dial model, the indices for 3, 6, and 9 o’clock are in orange, which accentuates the theme of electricity rather well.

Another notable point is the brilliantly striking orange seconds hand and outer minute track, where the former is also intriguingly shaped in the form of a lightning bolt motif. The Milgauss script on the 12 o’clock position of the dial is similarly in orange as well. The combination is certainly bold, but it definitely stands out as a more unusual timepiece from Rolex.

The Movement: Caliber 3131

Notably, the Rolex Milgauss is powered by the brand’s in-house Caliber 3131. This is a self-winding movement, with a power reserve of around 48 hours. Aside from the Parachrom hairspring (which is anti-magnetic), the watch is also fitted with an additional magnetic shield to protect the movement. Finally, it is Superlative Chronometer certified, and it promises a deviation of not more than 2 seconds a day.

Competitive Landscape

The Milgauss retails at S$11,600. It is slightly pricey for a time-only watch, but this is a Rolex after all. These watches are robust, and they hold their value immensely well.

IWC Ingenieur is one of the main competitors in the field, where it combines both form and functionality together seamlessly. This was especially accentuated in the 1970s, where Gerald Genta reinterpreted the collection and designed a bold luxury sports watch with an angular case and integrated bracelet. The modern variant is a little more subtle, but it is undeniably a good-looking timepiece. Priced at CHF 5,900 (approximately S$8,895), the Ingenieur Automatic is a safe choice for someone who wants a solid timepiece that is elegant and unassuming.

Alternatively, we have the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 15,000 Gauss (full hands on review soon!). Debuted in 2013, the striking timepiece set forth the standard of watchmaking with the new silicon hairspring – which is now a mainstay in most of the Co-Axial movements today. The Aqua Terra, notably, is bolder in design with its midnight blue dial and loud yellow accents (and the black-yellow striped seconds hand). The watch is priced at S$8,550.

Concluding Thoughts

You either love or hate the Milgauss – there are no two ways about it. This is perhaps one of the most unusual Rolexes in modern times, when it comes to design and aesthetics. It is bold, confident, and perhaps a little playful. But for those who comment about how boring Rolexes are, the Milgauss is certainly a breath of fresh air.

However, looking beyond the aesthetics, the Milgauss is still a true-blue Rolex timepiece. It is a well-built tool watch, and it is capable of performing whenever it is being called to task. In addition, it is sized rather nicely too, which makes it very comfortable on the wrist. This is a good option for someone who is looking for a reliable daily beater.

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10 Comments

  1. Pingback: Review: Hands-on with the Rolex Milgauss Ref. 116400GV | Wristwatch News

  2. Pingback: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra > 15,000 Gauss – The Most Antimagnetic Watch? – SaFonaGastroCrono

  3. Pingback: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra > 15,000 Gauss – The Most Antimagnetic Watch? | Wristwatch News

  4. My dad and brother would find it wonderful (dad was an EE engineer w/ SR71, bro was engineer with Shuttle). I’m the Rolex man,… Explorer 1 (117270), Datejust (3). Very cool, needs to match anti-gauss rating of METAS?

  5. Waiting to buy this , but all authorised retailers in Singapore out of stocks. Few enrol me in their waiting list. Hope to get this piece soon. Is indeed my dream and love watch.
    Looking forward to get the rolex milgauss blue dial soon in Singapore. 🇸🇬

    • Hi i have new Rolex Milgaus with sticker purchased in 2019…Rarely wear.

      Complete with Documents and Box

      If you are interested let me know

      Whatsapp : +79169810055

  6. Richard price on

    The rolex is a standard bearer of course but it is time to look behind things. The Seamaster noted here and the Railmaster are simply leagues better and it is time to acknowledge when you are just paying for a name. The Railmaster has 15,000 Gaus rating, 150m, 55 hrs, CO-axial escapement, and is about half the price. And there are others. I mean, come on. Is the empower clothed or not? I say not.

    • I hear what you’re saying Richard, but like it or hate it the indisputable fact is that Omegas and pretty much every other watch brand on the market plummet in value the minute you walk out of the store, whereas the WORST you’ll do with any stainless steal Rolex sports watch is break even on resale, though most will gain in value. The Omegas are just expensive watches. Until something drastic happens, SS Rolex sports watches are investments.

  7. The current Ingeneur isn’t magnetic, which is nothing short of a travesty. Why they chose to abandon one of Genta’s original timeless designs, especially when integrated steel sport watches are being produced by seemingly everyone, makes no sense. They dropped the ball here in a major way.