The Rolex Milgauss has gained a reputation as a watch emblematic of science and technological progress. Now newly introduced from Rolex for Baselworld is an Oyster Perpetual Milgauss with an updated colour scheme. In 2007 the Milgauss was introduced with an unusual green sapphire crystal – a first in watchmaking- and now this has been combined with a new electric blue dial or “Z blue dial” as Rolex calls it. The electric blue colour of the dial is in reference to the signature lightning-bolt-shaped seconds hand according to Rolex as well as to it being aimed at engineers and scientists.
Originally introduced in 1956 the Milgauss was aimed at people working close to magnetic fields that might disrupt the correct functioning of a mechanical watch, so typically people working as engineers and technicians. It derives part of its name from the French word for 1000 (Mille) since it was designed to withstand magnetic interference of up to 1000 gauss while still preserving its accuracy as an officially certified chronometer.
The Milgauss became well known for its pioneering technical qualities in the area of magnetic resistance and was adopted by scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva. The technical innovations were several including its first line of defence: a shield surrounding the movement within the Oyster case made of ferromagnetic alloys, an invention patented by Rolex in 1954. A secondary defense system involves the construction of two of the movement’s key components: the oscillator and the escapement. They have been manufactured from special paramagnetic materials developed by Rolex in the early 21st century.
The escapement of the Milgauss features a paramagnetic escape wheel made of a nickel-phosphorus alloy which is produced entirely in-house using a micromanufacturing technology (UV-LiGA). Also manufactured entirely by Rolex is the blue Parachrom hairspring using an exclusive alloy of niobium and zirconium. The Parachrom hairspring offers great stability when exposed to temperature variations, is impervious to magnetic fields and up to 10 times more precise than a conventional hairsprings in the case of shocks.