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04/30/2021
 5 minutes

Chrono24 Buyer’s Guide: Rolex Milgauss

By Mathias Kunz
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The Rolex Milgauss can withstand magnetic fields up to 1,000 gauss before its accuracy is compromised. When Rolex first presented the watch back in 1956, magnetic resistance to 1,000 gauss was an impressive feat, making the timepiece an ideal companion for engineers and scientists exposed to strong magnetic fields at work. The Rolex model’s magnetic resistance was made possible by a soft iron cage surrounding the movement and was confirmed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in the 1950s. 

Rolex Milgauss ref. 116400GV
Rolex Milgauss ref. 116400GV

Nowadays, a blue Parachrom hairspring made of a zirconium-niobium alloy and a soft iron cage ensure the movement’s magnetic resistance. Moreover, the hairspring is designed to withstand shocks and temperature fluctuations much better than conventional balance springs. The movement is Rolex’s own 3131, which boasts a power reserve of 48 hours and is a certified Superlative Chronometer, meaning the time only deviates from the reference time by a maximum of +/- 2 seconds per day. 

A Closer Look at the Rolex Milgauss 

The name Milgauss comes from the French word for thousand, mille, and the unit of measurement for magnetic flux density, gauss. The latest version was released in 2014 and is easily recognizable by its so-called Z-Blue dial. Both the dial color and the green sapphire crystal are exclusive to this model. Rolex supposedly didn’t bother getting a patent for the signature green watch crystal as no other manufacturer can produce it. This crystal debuted alongside the new edition of the Milgauss in 2007. Before that release, the model was absent from the Rolex catalog for nearly 20 years. Versions outfitted with green sapphire crystal have the addition of “GV” (glace verte or “green glass”) in their reference numbers. These watches are in high demand on Chrono24 and worth taking a look at in more detail. 

Rolex Milgauss Ref. 116400GV With Green Sapphire Crystal 

The Rolex Milgauss ref. 116400GV stands out with its shimmering green sapphire crystal. Other features include a 40-mm Oyster case and a three-piece link stainless steel Oyster bracelet. The bracelet’s middle links are polished, while the outer links have a satin finish on the top and bottom and polished sides. As for the clasp, Rolex relies on the fold-over Oysterclasp with an Easylink extension system. This allows the wearer to lengthen the strap by 5 mm without the need for any additional tools. This feature is especially practical on hot summer days when wrists tend to swell. 

Case back of the Rolex Milgauss ref. 116400GV
Case back of the Rolex Milgauss ref. 116400GV

The Oyster case is water-resistant to 100 m (328 ft, 10 bar) thanks to its screw-down case back and Twinlock crown. This means you can take the Milgauss swimming or snorkeling without any problems. 

The Milgauss is powered by the tried and tested caliber 3131. You can’t get a view of the movement at work due to its soft-iron cage and solid case back, which requires a special tool to open. Thus, the blue Parachrom hairspring with its Breguet overcoil, the pelage finishing, and red anodized winding components remain concealed to the wearer. The caliber 3131 boasts a 48-hour power reserve. Considering that this movement has been in use for several years now, Rolex may soon give the Milgauss an update. The new caliber 3230, which powers the current Oyster Perpetual 41 and Submariner No Date models, has a power reserve of 70 hours. 

Rolex Milgauss caliber 3131
Rolex Milgauss caliber 3131

The ref. 116400GV is also available with a black dial. This watch and the version with a Z-Blue dial share the same reference number. The black dial comes with orange indices at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. All the other indices are white, while a luminous Rolex coronet replaces the index at 12 o’clock. The Z-Blue dial features exclusively white indices, though both versions share an orange minute track around the dial’s edge. All the indices glow blue in the dark thanks to Rolex’s proprietary luminous material, Chromalight. Rolex used a mix of green Super-LumiNova and blue Chromalight on earlier models. The latter could be found at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock.  

You can also find Milgauss watches on Chrono24 under the reference number 116400. These versions have either a black or white dial and do not come with the shimmering green sapphire crystal. Those with white dials feature 11 orange indices, while those with black dials have white indices. The orange lightning-bolt-shaped second hand is one of the most notable features on every Milgauss watch. 

Performance of the Rolex Milgauss Ref. 116400GV

The Rolex Milgauss ref. 116400GV with a Z-Blue dial has performed particularly well in recent years. Both the Z-Blue and black versions have an official list price of $8,200; however, the market price for the blue version has risen from around $8,500 to nearly $11,000 in the past two years alone. This means the Z-Blue version is now selling well above its list price. If you opt for a pre-owned model, you can save just over $1,000, indicating decent value retention. 

The Milgauss ref. 116400GV with a black dial has performed nearly as well as its blue sister model. At the start of 2018, you could purchase this version for around $7,700. Today, it sells for closer to $10,000. Similar to the Z-Blue version, that’s a nearly 30% increase in value. Pre-owned watches sell for around $8,800. 

Performance of the Rolex Milgauss Ref. 116400

Rolex ceased production of the Milgauss ref. 116400 several years ago: the version with the black dial in 2013 and the version with a white dial in 2016. The black version’s relatively short production run of just six years has driven up its market price. Be prepared to spend around $14,500 for a watch in mint condition. About five years ago, you could still find the same watch for less than $7,000. In mid-2020, they were selling for less than $12,000. 

It’s worth looking for this Milgauss on the pre-owned market. You can find numerous offers for just over $8,000 on Chrono24. Thus, a pre-owned 116400 costs nearly as much as a brand new 116400GV but significantly less than an unworn watch. 

The ref. 116400 with a white dial sells for similar prices. Expect to pay just over $8,000 for a used watch and around $12,500 for a new one. 

Rolex Milgauss ref. 116400
Rolex Milgauss ref. 116400

Is the Milgauss a good investment? 

Both the Milgauss ref. 116400GV and 116400 have performed well financially recently. Prices for used watches with green sapphire crystal are only slightly below those for a new watch. This is a good sign in terms of the watches retaining their value. For those who are willing to take a bigger risk, there are rumors that Rolex may discontinue and replace the current Milgauss ref. 116400GV. If this happens, prices will likely be driven even higher to levels on par with the 116400 with standard sapphire crystal. Since mint-condition copies of this model are becoming increasingly rare and, therefore, more expensive, it’s well worth looking into the pre-owned market. 

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About the Author

Mathias Kunz

Since starting as a copywriter at Chrono24 in 2015, watches have been part of my daily life. I'm most fascinated by the fine mechanics and their ability to reflect …

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