For humans, even a strong magnetic field is imperceptible: it cannot be felt, seen or heard. Worse with mechanical watches, because when the magnetic field exceeds the so-called critical value, some fake watches watches start walking inaccurately or stop. Watchmakers’ struggle with magnetism began in the 19th century and continues. And one of the companies that has contributed to this fight is Rolex. Here is a short history of the amagnetic Milgauss.
Located on the outskirts of Geneva, CERN was established in 1954 and is today the largest physics laboratory in the world. The history of the Milgauss model is connected with this place, currently gathering several thousand scientists. CERN researchers, like airplane crews and power plant workers, spent many hours surrounded by magnetic fields.
During operation, their mechanical watches (there were no quartz watches in the 1950s), even the most reliable ones, stopped frequently. Among others, Hans Wilsdorf, the owner of Rolex, knew about it. Besides, not only him, because the IWC company has been using special anti-magnetic protection in the Mark 11 watch, created for the British Royal Air Force since 1948.
Beware of interference!
The 1950s were a great time for Rolex. The following models were created: Turn-O-Graph, Submariner, Day-Date and GMT-Master. Thanks to them, the brand clearly distanced its competitors both technically and aesthetically. Guided by the principle that precision, reliability and longevity are the most important, Rolex has constantly improved its mechanisms, especially the tensioning system.
At the same time, in the 1950s, Rolex designers created an ideal case: it had the shape of an elongated classic barrel, but it was as durable as sports watches. It was a smart move. The new models appealed to the tastes of various customers: those who wanted an elegant accessory, as well as those looking for sports rolex replica watches watches with a very masculine design.
Over time, the design of the envelopes was modified, but the changes concerned more details. Therefore, when looking at the current Rolex collection, we can see that the appearance of the new models does not differ much from the designs from 60 years ago.
Where was Milgauss in all this?
Where was Milgauss in all this? It appeared at the right moment as a harbinger of a new time, i.e. the beginning of the era of cosmic discovery. After the Submariner, Milgauss was another watch designed for professionals, in this case scientists working at CERN (and everyone who worked in the vicinity of electromagnetic fields on a daily basis – or so the advertisements said).fake watches
Its original name (as the only Rolex model without an English name) is also a description of the watch. It comes from the French word “mille” meaning 1000 and the word “gauss” referring to the unit of magnetic induction. So the name of the watch tells you that the movement is protected against interference caused by magnetic fields up to 1000 Gs (approx. 80,000 A / m).
If someone is not a physicist, this number sounds abstract. It is easiest to understand what the example is about: a watch without any protection starts to work inaccurately at 50 Gs (approx. 4800 A / m) and stops at over 100 Gs (approx. 8000 A / m). Therefore, it is not without reason that the current international standard ISO 764, developed for non-magnetic watches, requires protection at the level of 60 Gs.
It is assumed that the fluctuations in gait may not exceed 30 seconds per day. It can therefore be said that theoretically most of the watches produced today are non-magnetic. But given the fact that magnetic fields are everywhere today, protection of 60 Gs is not enough (60 Gs is only a third of the intensity produced by an ordinary magnet, not to mention the iPhone, which produces a field of around 180 Gs).
Which was the first?
Many sources (including Rolex) mention 1956 as the year of the Milgauss’ foundation. However, some texts mention an earlier date: 1954, when Rolex produced the Milgauss model no. ref. 6543. Why the company does not recognize this version as the original? It is not known. Maybe it was because few were made (some sources say around 100, others say 88 to 200) and were only produced for two years, so Rolex treated them as prototypes? We are unlikely to find out about this, unless someone could get information from the company’s archives. And as you know, Rolex is one of the most mysterious companies.
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Version ref. The 6543 looked very similar to the Submariner: it had a black rotating bezel with the numbers 1 to 5 or 10 to 50 marked on the scale,
a black dial with a red Milgauss sign (this differed from Suba) with a honeycomb structure, and also triangular, tapered hands (hour and minute) and a simple second hand.
The first Milgauss was packed in a steel Oyster case with a diameter of approx. 38 mm (large for the time; with an unusual 19 mm lug spacing) and powered by the automatic caliber 1080 (modified cal. 1030, also used in the Submariner and Explorer), which It did not differ in any way from the mechanisms of other models from that period. In order for the watch to be immune to magnetic fields,fake watches
the movement had to be protected in some other way. Therefore, protection was provided by an additional inner envelope made of soft, non-magnetic steel that acted like a Faraday cage. Some argue that the honeycomb structure of the dial was not just a nice decorative detail, but part of the cage,
which is known to have a metal mesh structure. However, this is another piece of information unconfirmed by Rolex.
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However, it is known that in 1956 a generally available version of the Milgauss (ref. 6541), officially recognized as the first, hit the market. Was it different from the 6543 variant? Slightly. The most notable change was the new lightning-shaped seconds hand, which later became the hallmark of Milgauss.
And although the case of the 6541 version had the same diameter (38 mm),
the spacing of its lugs was increased to 20 mm (then standard in sports watches). The differences actually ended (the new Milgauss was powered by the same mechanism;
although some sources say that in addition to the caliber 1080, Rolex also used the caliber 1065 M and 1066 M),
with perhaps one exception: the standard Milgauss had a black rotating bezel, but on some markets (for example the US) Rolex released a version with a smooth, polished bezel.
Shield for CERN
In the second half of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s, when it should have gained great popularity as a novelty,
the Milgauss remained a niche watch. And the competition did not sleep, because the market regularly featured amagnetic models of various brands:fake watches
IWC Ingenieur (1955), Omega Railmaster (1957), Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic (1958),
Patek Philippe Amagnetic (1959), Eberhard Scientigraph (1960) and Blanc Scientpain TR-900 (1963).
In the 1960s, new times came, and so did Milgauss. Marked with ref. The 1019 had a completely different dial – smooth and matte (silver or black) rather than honeycomb. All the indices were rectangular, so they fit perfectly with the slightly thicker (almost rectangular) hands. Besides, two very distinctive elements have disappeared: a lightning-shaped pointer and a black ring.
They were replaced by a simple needle tipped with a red arrow and a narrow,fake watches
polished ring. A very popular version among collectors is the ref. 1019 of the so-called CERN shield (silver). This specific Milgauss was commissioned by
CERN and was the only one that had neither indexes nor indications covered with radioactive tritium
(tritium could affect the accuracy of the results of experiments aimed at checking radioactivity).