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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1979
    Reference No: 1019
    Movement No: M'O23'475
    Case No: 6'136'941
    Model Name: Milgauss
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1580, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, reference 78360, end links stamped 580, max length 205mm.
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex folding deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 37.5mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex punched guarantee dating May 25, 1989, product literature, fitted presentation box and hangtags.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Milgauss is the result of a direct collaboration between Rolex and Geneva-based CERN - Centre Européen de Recherche Nucléaire (European Organization for Nuclear Research). Their aim was to develop a wristwatch that could withstand intense magnetic fields and thus be worn by the CERN engineers and laboratory workers constantly in highly magnetic environments.

    The result was the Milgauss, deriving its name from the Latin “mille” meaning a thousand, and “Gauss” representing the unit measure for magnetism. Accordingly, it could withstand exposure of up to 1000 Gauss with no effect on accuracy, whereas a typical watch movement can only withstand up to 70-90 Gauss. In the early 1960s, the newly introduced Rolex Milgauss reference 1019, like the present lot, replaced the original two versions: references 6541 and 6543. Significantly thinner than its predecessors, it was manufactured until 1990 and was available only in stainless steel. The reference 1019 of the present lot is Rolex’s second-generation Milgauss model, designed with a much smoother case compared with its predecessor.

    An extremely niche tool watch, the Milgauss was never a commercial success and consequently production numbers were low. Being from the late 1980s, its dial features luminous dots placed outside the applied hour markers, and its distinctive hands are in matte finished aluminium.

    The present watch is fitted with a black matte dial that permits the desirable red “Milgauss” text at 12 o’clock to stand out. This example is in exceptional original condition as it retains all its sharp edges and bevels. The Rolex sticker on the back suggests that this watch was rarely worn, if ever. Accompanied by its original guarantee, box and hangtag, it is a great find for the connoisseur of vintage wristwatches.

  • Artist Biography

    Rolex

    Swiss • 1905

    Founded in 1905 England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, it soon became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving its headquarters to Geneva in 1919. Like no other company, the success of the wristwatch can be attributed to many of Rolex's innovations that made them one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These innovations include their famous "Oyster" case — the world's first water resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and their "Perpetual" — the first reliable self-winding movement for wristwatches launched in 1933. They would form the foundation for Rolex's Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956, but also importantly for their sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.

    One of its most famous models is the Cosmograph Daytona. Launched in 1963, these chronographs are without any doubt amongst the most iconic and coveted of all collectible wristwatches. Other key collectible models include their most complicated vintage watches, including references 8171 and 6062 with triple calendar and moon phase, "Jean Claude Killy" triple date chronograph models and the Submariner, including early "big-crown" models and military-issued variants.

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Ref. 1019
An attractive and rare stainless steel anti-magnetic wristwatch with centre seconds, black dial, bracelet, original guarantee, hangtag and presentation box

Circa 1979
37.5mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF20,000 - 30,000 
€17,300-25,900
$20,700-31,000

Sold for CHF47,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89
[email protected]

The Geneva Watch Auction: SIX

Geneva Auctions 11 - 12 November 2017