Antimagnetic Attraction: Testing the Rolex Milgauss

Rolex Milgauss - frontThe updated version of the 1950s’ Rolex Milgauss is a hit among Rolex fans. Is this re-engineered classic, with its improved protection against magnetism, worth the wait? Writer Jens Koch and photographer Nik Schölzel find out in this watch test from our August 2008 issue.

Magnetic fields are invisible and do not greatly affect the human body. Maybe that’s why we don’t think about them very much, even though our high-tech world is full of them, generated by all sorts of devices, from motors to loudspeakers. Unlike the people who wear them, however, mechanical watches are extremely susceptible to magnetic fields. When parts of a watch’s movement become magnetized, its rate accuracy is disturbed, causing frustration for its owner.

Rolex addressed this problem in the 1950s with the introduction of its Oyster Perpetual Milgauss model. The name comes from the French mille Gauss, referring to the watch’s protection from magnetic fields up to 1,000 gauss (named after physicist Karl Friedrich Gauss, a gauss is a unit for measuring the strength of a magnetic field). This level of magnetism, which corresponds to 0.1 Tesla or 80,000 vph, is 100 times higher than that of a typical horseshoe magnet. It would take levels such as those found in an MRI scanner to affect the watch’s functioning. After devoting considerable time and effort to the development of the recent reissue of the Milgauss, Rolex introduced it at the Baselworld watch fair in 2007. Its inner case, made of ferromagnetic material, shields the movement from magnetic fields and consists of only two parts: a container and another cover tightly screwed to it. The container encloses the movement laterally and on the dial side, while the back seals the movement side. To ensure that the movement would be shielded as much as possible, the designers allowed for only a bare minimum of openings in the dial and case. This is why there is no aperture for a date display, for example. There are only the necessary small openings for the winding stem and for the axles that anchor the hands. There are also two tiny holes for the screws that hold the dial. Most other watches with magnetic protection have an inner case with three parts, with the parts layered on top of one another rather than threaded together.


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About Jens Koch


  1. Mike M. says:

    If you find your way here, I can attest that this watch (Black GV) is the perfect daily Rolex for me. The look is clean and purposeful yet interesting enough to make you smile every time you look at it, which you will often. I have a blue Yacht master and an SS Daytona. I was looking for a professional looking watch with a smooth, fixed bezel without the telltale date bubble that might draw a little less attention from non-WIS onlookers and yet still be a Rolex rather than say a Seiko Spring-Drive (which I think are also very cool). Perfect balance in diameter, height and weight on my 7.25 inch wrist. The new Rolex Oyster bracelets are superb, but as many know, the polished center links can be a little distracting. On the Milgauss GV this bracelet complements the look seamlessly with the polished case, bezel, hands and batons on the dial. Honestly, the antimagnetic properties appeal to me only because of the original heritage, which includes the lightning second hand found on early versions. The OMEGA Master Co-Axial movement has the Milgauss beat by miles in the anti-magnetic department. Accuracy has been +1.3 seconds per day. I\'m very pleased. I may just but the Blue GV as well which, like the Black GV, looks fantastic in person. Cheers.

  2. Philippos says:

    Maybe the ungliest rolex I have ever see...

  3. says:

    Hello! Someone in my Facebook group shared this
    website with us so I came to give it a look. I\'m definitely enjoying the information. I\'m book-marking
    and will be tweeting this to my followers! Terrific blog and terrific style and design.

  4. max says:

    Omega 15000 GAUSS no 1500!!! Without iron shield

  5. ED BUTCHER says:

    What justifies the new Explorer II 42MM\'s $2000 higher price than the Milgaus

    • Anthony says:

      The fact that this review was written years ago. Check the price today. I don\'t believe you\'ll find the difference to be so stark.

  6. Stephen R. Duff, M.D. says:

    I have owned two of these watches for the past two years. They both have both the green crystals. I have one that I\'ve never worn and is still in the original packing materials as the watches are in limited supply, and the other one I wear on a regular basis.

    I am at Rolex collector but I must say that this watch and of course by Pres. rose gold on my two favorites.

    Because of the parachrome hairspring, which comes standard in all Rolexes now, but, as i understand, was introduced in this watch, this watch remains the most accurate Rolex that I own.

    I am extremely pleased with my purchase of this watch and it has brought me great pleasure in wearing it, though it does not have the \"traditional\" look of the Rolex except the traditional rolex bracelet, If you\'re used to the standard Rolex, this is very much a pleasant change without compromising Rolex quality.

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