The Circle of Life
Every year ahead of Watches & Wonders, industry experts, and bloggers are prepared and waiting at their computers or in front of their video cameras to bring you articles and vlogs with predictions about Rolex’s new releases. We do it ourselves here at UrHandleren. This year was no exception. But what often goes unnoticed, or at best does not get the attention from the press, and what is most important, is which watches suddenly cease to exist.
At Rolex, in the executive suite, they have the same mantra as I do when it comes to my girlfriend’s wardrobe; when a new pair of shoes arrives, another pair of shoes must go. The circle of life, you might call it.
The fact that the Rolex Daytona with various watch faces; John Mayer, light blue and Meteorite, Rolex Datejust 41mm with Meteorite, and Rolex Cellini are no longer part of the range, we may discuss later – now it is about one of Rolex’s most funky and daring watches of all time; Milgauss
It is with some sadness that we write today’s obituary of the Rolex Milgauss watch. After many years of production, Rolex is discontinuing the production of this unique and special watch.
Developed in 1953 to withstand magnetic field interference of up to 1,000 gauss, Milgauss quickly became a favorite among scientists and engineers who needed a watch that could operate in strong magnetic fields. According to Rolex, the watch was worn by scientists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Geneva, which no doubt contributed to making the watch a unique symbol of science and technology. After disappearing from catalogs for 20 years, a new edition of the watch was launched in 2007 with a distinctive turquoise watch face, orange lightning-shaped seconds hand, and a green sapphire crystal, which was a first for Rolex.
Learn more about another anti-magnetic watch; IWC Ingenieur at our Youtube channel here
The Milgauss was always a slightly controversial model, as its size and thickness were significantly different from other Rolex watches on the market when it was released. But it was this very diversity that made the watch a special and coveted object for collectors and enthusiasts. Milgauss has never been mainstream but has nevertheless found its way onto the wrists of several celebrities. Jennifer Anniston, Anthony Kiedis, Eric Clapton, Will Farrell, Tom Hanks, Sylvester Stallone, Jake Gyllenhaal, James May, and Conor O’Brien have all been spotted wearing a Rolex Milgauss in public. And even in Jurassic World: Domination protagonist Ian Malcom wears a Rolex Milgauss. As a scientist and mathematician specializing in chaos theory, could he wear anything else?
The most popular Milgauss is without a doubt the 116400GV Z-blue. Launched in 2014 with a metallic blue watch face and the unique, green-tinged crystal, it is a combination not found in any other Rolex model. Depending on the light and angle, the interplay between disc and glass creates a beautiful interplay that alternates between different shades of both green and blue.
Fact: The name Milgauss comes from the French word for 1,000; “mille”, and “Gauss” meaning the unit of measurement for magnetism in an area.
Unfortunately, the time has come for Rolex to say goodbye to Milgauss. It is a watch that will be missed by many, but it will always remain an important part of Rolex’s history and heritage. We part with Milgauss in appreciation of the many years it was part of the Rolex family, and we will always remember it as a unique and special watch that meant something incredibly special to many people.
But Milgauss lives on. And the watch will enjoy an even more fascinating life than before. The desirability and market price of the Rolex Milgauss will increase now that the model has been discontinued. This is simply because when a product ceases to be produced, it can increase demand and therefore the market price of the existing supply.
This phenomenon is particularly prevalent in the luxury and collectibles market, where exclusivity and rarity are key factors influencing pricing. It can be expected that subsequent speculation by collectors, investors, and dealers will lead to an increase in the price of used Rolex Milgauss watches on the market.
A strong indicator of this is that in the days around April 1, 2023, when Milgauss was discontinued during Watches & Wonders, there were more than twice as many Google searches globally for “Milgauss” than in 2007 when it was newly launched. An even stronger testament to this is the price development since the news of Milgauss’ exit from the big stage.
The most popular version of Milgauss of all time, the 116400GV Z-blue, has already been affected. Quite a lot! In the early months of 2023, the watch was trading in the region of 85-100,000 DKK or 12-14,500 USD. Today, in April of the same year, the market price of the watch is approaching DKK 110-125,000, or 16-18,000 USD! That is an increase of around 30-40% in just a few months!
The market price started to move as soon as the rumors started circulating ahead of Watches & Wonders, and the price skyrocketed again when Rolex’s 2023 lineup was presented in Geneva, and it was confirmed that Milgauss was missing. However, it should be noted that watch prices can be very volatile these days, with many watches being taken off the market to hold out for even higher prices in the future, while others choose to profit by selling in the market at current prices. Within a few months, the market price will stabilize more.
How prices will behave in the future can be difficult to predict. Will there be a sequel or updated edition of Milgauss presented at Watches & Wonders next year? And if so, how will the market react to a new edition?