Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: X Geneva Saturday, November 9, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1969
    Reference No: 1019 inside caseback stamped III.68
    Movement No: M'210'682
    Case No: 2'015'950
    Model Name: Milgauss
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1580, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel riveted Rolex Oyster bracelet, reference 7206, end links stamped 80, max length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped 1.69
    Dimensions: 36.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rolex, before evolving into the luxury powerhouse it is today, was historically a company focused on tool and professional watches, most notably divers (Submariner/Sea-Dweller) or pilots (GMT). However the company spoke also to other more rarified professionals, such as those working in 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). The 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 name Milgauss coming from the union of “Mil” - a thousand - and “Gauss” - the unit of measure for magnetism - indicating the watch can withstand up to 1000 Gauss without showing accuracy loss.

    Reference 1019 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 in a variety of versions in terms of outer track script or hands to name a few.

    Then, there is the elusive black gloss dial version. So far seen on only three watches around 2M serial number, the genesis of this configuration is shrouded in mystery, but its collectability and aesthetic appeal is conversely quite apparent.

    This gloss 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.

    Adding to the overall appeal of this gem, after careful examination it can be said that the present piece is preserved in outstanding condition, the dial fully retaining its mesmerising sheen: a practically unrepeatable opportunity for the collector of the most rare and coveted timepieces in existence.

  • 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 inside caseback stamped III.68
A highly rare and attractive stainless steel antimagnetic wristwatch with black lacquer dial and bracelet

Circa 1969
36.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF70,000 - 140,000 

Sold for CHF131,250

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East
+ 41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: X

Geneva Auction 9-10 November 2019