Rolex first created this watch in 1956 for engineers and technicians who are exposed in their work to magnetic fields which disrupt the performance of mechanical watches, the Milgauss was designed to resist strong interference of up to 1,000 gauss thanks to a magnetic shield patented by Rolex protecting the movement. Hence the name of the watch, mille being French for thousand. The Milgauss became known notably as the scientists watch at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva.
A new generation of this watch, was reintroduced in 2007 and encompasses all Rolex’s technological and watchmaking expertise. Aesthetically, the new Milgauss stands out with its orange seconds hand shaped like a lightning bolt, which was inspired by the original model. The watch also features a green sapphire crystal, a novelty in watchmaking.
Telecommunications, medical technology, the aerospace and electrotechnical industries are just a few of the many areas in which magnetic fields play a particularly important role. Magnetic fields strongly affect the rate of mechanical watches by magnetizing the components in the movement, in particular the escapement and the oscillator, which are responsible for the watch’s precision. Depending on the intensity and the length of exposure to a magnetic field, the movement rate can be negatively influenced and the watch may even stop. The reliability and precision of an ordinary mechanical watch are affected by a magnetic field of 50 to 100 gauss (or 0.01 tesla, according to today’s unit of measure). As a general example, the strength of the magnetic field of an ordinary poster magnet at a distance of 5 mm is around 200 gauss.
In 1956 Rolex succeeded in outsmarting the effects of magnetic fields by designing a watch that resists interference of 1,000 gauss (0.1 tesla, or 80,000 A/m) while preserving its exceptional chronometric performance. Today, several innovations contribute to the resistance of this technological gem. The first line of defense is the magnetic shield inside the Oyster case. Made of ferromagnetic alloys, it surrounds and protects the movement. It is engraved with the symbol for magnetic flux density, the letter B with an arrow above it. This invention was patented by Rolex in 1956 and has since been further improved. The second line of defense involves two of the movement’s key components, the oscillator and the escapement, which are made from innovative and pioneering paramagnetic materials.
Like all Rolex watches, each Milgauss is certified as a Superlative Chronometer. This exclusive designation attests that it has successfully undergone a series of tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories and according to its own criteria, which exceed watchmaking norms and standards. These tests are carried out on the fully assembled watch, in order to guarantee its superlative performance on the wrist. The Superlative Chronometer status is symbolized by the green seal that comes with every Rolex watch and is coupled with an international five-year guarantee.
The Milgauss is equipped with calibre 3131, a self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. Its architecture, manufacturing and innovative features make it exceptionally precise and reliable. It includes state-of-the-art technologies patented by the brand that ensure exceptional resistance to magnetic fields.
The Milgauss is available on a three-piece link Oyster bracelet in Oystersteel, with a folding Oysterclasp. It is additionally fitted with the Easylink comfort extension link, patented by Rolex in 1996. This system allows the wearer to increase the bracelet length by approximately 5 mm, providing additional comfort in any circumstance.