You could forgive the Rolex Milgauss, a timepiece created in the mid-1950s for the button-down world of scientists and engineers, for getting a little lost in the crowd. Once one of the brand’s very rare underperformers as far as sales were concerned, the Milgauss had the misfortune to arrive around the same time as some of horology’s greatest legends. The Submariner, Explorer, GMT-Master, and Day-Date all made their debuts in the same several years, with replica rolex oyster perpetual Rolex going through an explosion of creativity like no other.
However, far from being an inferior watch to any of those titans, the Rolex Milgauss had outstanding qualities all its own. Like other Rolex watches produced during this time period, the Milgauss was designed to overcome a modern problem of the twentieth century. Where the GMT-Master helped pilots and airline crews track time in multiple locations, and the Submariner solved the issue of keeping track of time while underwater, the Milgauss’s party piece was its ability to keep accurate time in the presence of the mechanical watch’s biggest enemy: electromagnetic fields.
The post-war years were a time of massive expansion in many technological industries. That progression obviously went hand-in-hand with never-before-seen equipment, including high-tech electronic appliances that created strong magnetic forces. With the delicate parts of a traditional watch’s internal movement affected by even the weakest fields, a model that could withstand replica rolex watches prolonged exposure became a necessity. On top of that, households in the 50s began to be filled with an increasing number of laborsaving devices that also produced enough of a field to disrupt the timekeeping of traditional mechanical watches. Theoretically, the stage was set for the Rolex Milgauss to answer the call of a very wide spectrum of the watch buying public. In practice though, that proved not to be the case.
There is some debate over how exactly the Rolex Milgauss came to be built in the first place. One anecdote of its origins suggests that Rolex created it at the direct request of scientists at the recently-opened European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), located on the outskirts of Geneva. Those working in the high energy physics labs were certainly in need of something special in the wristwatch department, but there is no real evidence to support the story. Nonetheless, it is certainly not out of the realm of possibility, with it being a similar tale as to how both the GMT-Master and Sea-Dweller came into being – at the requests of Pan Am Airlines and COMEX, respectively.
Whatever the truth is, the original Rolex Milgauss arrived in 1954 with the ref. 6543, and the first run was indeed tested by scientists at CERN. That reference, which was little more than a prototype with only around 150 examples ever produced, was found to be resistant to magnetic forces of up to 1,000 gauss. The model name was taken from that, with mille being the French for a thousand and gauss a unit of magnetic flux density. It is also interesting to note that Rolex does not formally recognize the ref. 6543 as the first Milgauss and instead cites the subsequent ref. 6541 that appeared two years later in 1956 as the official start of the Milgauss collection.