Anyone who has recently tried to buy a popular Rolex sports watch knows how frustrating it can be to go to an authorized dealer. Basically, unless you’re a long-term customer or very lucky, you won’t get one that doesn’t have a lot of time to sit on a waiting list. The shortage of replica Rolex sports watches has resulted in many collectors and enthusiasts concentrating on alternatives, and the Milgauss has started to benefit from it. Although still heavily underrated, the watch’s popularity on the second-hand market has soared in the past few years and shows no signs of slowing.
The Z-Blue dial variant, probably the most famous of the new models, is already trading hands for decent premiums through independent retailers, but the original black and white dial versions (without the green sapphire crystal) still represent something of a bargain. The white-dial piece, in particular, could well be worth serious consideration. In addition to being a nice watch, it offers a special aesthetic among the various Milgauss models, and the fact that it has been discontinued will only work in its favor in the years to come.
And then there are the vintage Rolex Milgauss references. These amazing watches can often attain some dizzying values no matter when they surface at auction. Only around 150 examples of the original ref. 6543 Milgauss were made, meaning it is always something of an event when they come up at auction. One sold in 2017, for example, for 271,500 Swiss Francs. The follow-up, the ref. 6541, is much more plentiful, but still incredibly rare and highly coveted.
The long-running ref. 1019 that replaced the ref. 6541 is significantly more attainable with prices hovering around $25,500 to $35,500 for most examples; however, there is one special variant that is particularly rare. In the 1960s, scientists at CERN requested that Rolex produce for them a handful of ref. 1019 fake watches with no luminescence on the hands or indexes at all. Tritium, though much safer than the previous radium, was still radioactive and at levels high enough to damage sensitive equipment used in laboratories. These lume-free models, known as CERN dials, are among the most satisfying examples of the entire Milgauss family.