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No more lightning bolts. Rolex discontinued one of its core sports models in a flash! You aren’t the only one who wished this news was false, but sadly, we say goodbye to the Milgauss this year.
Every year at Watches & Wonders, Rolex releases new models. But simultaneously it discontinues some. This is how it happens and in 2023 Rolex quietly discontinued the odd watch out.
Here’s what we feel about the Milgauss
In a catalogue full of high-end professional watches, the Milgauss was the ‘mad scientist’ timepiece. Back in 1956, it was created for scientists who worked under strong magnetic fields inside a laboratory. The Milgauss was the saviour anti-magnetic watch and the true value of this Rolex was only understood by watch buyers who appreciate practical timepieces.
This wildest-looking model was one of the longest-running Rolex references and now that it’s gone forever, we have fixed feelings. No more orange lightning bolt or green crystal, yellow lume plots or Z-Blue dials. Well, only time will tell if this was the right move.
But wait! The Milgauss was first produced in 1956, only to be shelved in 1988 and again revived in 2007 and now discontinued yet again in 2023. Does that mean we could see a new version sometime soon?
Well, for now, we’d like to relive the journey of the most underrated Rolex creation by looking back at its history, discussing some of the possible reasons for this sudden withdrawal and contemplating the future.
In the early 1950s, Rolex was approached by the scientists at Geneva Conseil Eurepeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire (CERN) to create a wristwatch that could function perfectly under the presence of strong magnetic fields. Rolex being the happy-to-help brand immediately obliged to the request and introduced the ‘MILGAUSS’ with Ref. 6543 in 1954.
The key selling point of this watch was the anti-magnetic quality which is easily understood by the name. ‘Mille’ in French means 1000 and ‘Gauss’ is a unit of measurement for magnetism, together comes the name Milgauss. Therefore, the watch always offered a magnetic resistance of 1000 gauss. In fact, it was the first watch to reach such capabilities and was always worn by the scientists at CERN.
Another characteristic that made the Rolex Milgauss so unique was its dial detailing. The Milgauss featured lightning bolt-shaped bold seconds hand as a tribute to the scientific community. However, not all Milgauss models included this stunning element.
The stylish green-tinted sapphire crystal and the Z-Blue dial further increased the watch’s appeal. According to the brand, the process of producing the green glass is so ardent that Rolex didn’t feel the need to patent it.
List of all Milgauss models throughout history:
Modern Milgauss Models:
Also Read: Is a Rolex Watch a Good Investment
Honestly, there’s no definitive answer to this. Rolex has never been the brand that offers any explanation during such situations. Neither does it give any intimation as to when a particular model will be pulled. It simply abolishes the product from the official website and issues a press release stating that so and so the model will no longer sell.
Here are some of the reasons that we believe led to this drastic measure:
As happens with every other thing, when you hear that something is no longer available, you suddenly start growing a peculiar affinity towards it. Even though the Milgauss was largely overlooked all these years in the second-hand Rolex market, now that it’s no longer available after 6 long decades, we believe there will be a spike in its popularity soon.
In the watch realm, any timepiece with unique design traits often becomes a favourable thing. With that in mind, we think that the Milgauss Ref. 116400GV featuring plenty of design traits will soon become a future collectible.
In fact, the prices have already started to climb in the pre-owned marketplaces. So, we predict that the prices will go up by 10-20% pretty quickly. And, because the Milgauss will now surge in popularity, chances are that the brand will release a future version of the Milgauss soon. We just have to stay tuned for that.
The watch community was expecting the Milgauss to get a significant update in 2023. Many fans were expecting a complete overhaul or significant update to the anti-magnetism feature, and some of us were hoping that Rolex renewed the watch in titanium. But clearly, that’s not going to happen, at least now.
Rolex might revive the watch in a few years but until then we’d have to content ourselves with a pre-owned model. Our suggestion – get your hands on one till it’s available at a healthy price or till the pool dries up!
Also Read: 5 Best Vintage Rolex Watches Of All Time