Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: SIX Geneva Friday, November 10, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1968
    Reference No: 1019
    Movement No: M'209'980
    Case No: 1'985'480 inside caseback stamped III.68
    Model Name: Milgauss "Black Swan"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1580, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel riveted Oyster bracelet, end links stamped 58, max length 200mm.
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel deployant clasp, stamped 3.69
    Dimensions: 40mm. Diameter
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex Japan service papers

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rolex is obviously known for its tool watches accompanying divers or pilots. However another audience which doesn’t immediately come to mind is the scientific community.

    The Milgauss finds its roots in 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 Milgaus reference 1019, like the present lot, was launched in the early 1960s replacing the original two models: references 6541 and 6543. Significantly thinner than its predecessors, it was manufactured until 1990 and was available only in stainless steel and with either silver or black dials.

    The name Milgauss is derived from the Greek terminology for thousand, "Mil", and “Gauss”, representing the unit of measure for magnetism. A typical watch movement is able to endure 70-90 gauss, whereas the reference 1019 can withstand up to 1000 gauss with no effect on timekeeping accuracy thanks in part to the soft iron FARADAY cage protecting the movement.

    It can be easy to imagine adventurers and pilots wearing their Rolex in excitement laden environments but it can be just as exhilarating, if not more, imagining the world’s greatest nuclear scientists wearing their Milgaus during the breakthrough first observations of antinuclei or proton collision tests.

    Behind its rather "conservative" looks, the present watch is certainly the most exclusive and valuable version of the reference 1019 that exists as it is born with a mega rare black glossy dial of which only three are know to date explaining why collectors have nicknamed this timepiece the "Black Swan". This glossy dial not only confers a subtle yet whole different look to the Milgauss but also gives it a prominent place on the Olympus of the ultra rare and coveted Rolex models.

    The present lot with its ultimate rarity, strong case and bracelet with crisp black glossy dial and contrasting “Milgauss” lettering is a timepiece for the connaisseur and a worthy addition to any Rolex collection.

  • Artist Biography


    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 extremely rare and very attractive stainless steel anti-magnetic wristwatch with center seconds and black dial

Case, dial and movement signed
40mm. Diameter

CHF70,000 - 100,000 

Sold for CHF150,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: SIX

Geneva Auctions 11 - 12 November 2017