It’s only been a couple of weeks since Rolex presented their 2023 novelties at Watches and Wonders. Along with the introduction of their new collection, we also saw the discontinuation of some models. The most remarkable Rolex delisting of this year is the Milgauss. With it, a staple is leaving the Rolex portfolio. The Milgauss was first introduced in 1956, as Rolex’s watch for scientists. As such, the watch’s main feature was an anti-magnetic construction that could withstand the magnetic fields scientists and engineers would routinely encounter on the job. The Milgauss has always been a quirky watch in the Rolex collection – quirky, but much-loved by fans.
Modern Design Based on Previous Rolex Milgauss Generations
The last generation of the Milgauss was introduced in 2007, after an absence of 18 years, meaning it was in production for a good 16 years before the recent discontinuation by Rolex. The final Milgauss was the ref. 116400GV, and it was available in two different versions; however, the reference had more iterations than just these final two. Let’s jump back to 2007 for a more thorough overview. Rolex first introduced the Milgauss ref. 116400 with a 40-mm case that was water-resistant to 100 m (10 bar, 328 ft). Inside the case, Rolex relied on its in-house caliber 3131, which was housed in a two-piece shield providing anti-magnetic properties. The watch was able to resist magnetic fields up to 1,000 gauss.
Rolex introduced this version of the Milgauss with a completely new design. The looks were based on previous Milgauss generations, but incorporated a modern case and specs. The watch was available with a black or white dial, and both variants featured bright orange accents and orange lume. The first orange details that immediately stood out were the bright lightning bolt seconds hand and the Milgauss dial inscription. The white dial version featured a full set of orange hour markers and a matching minute scale on the periphery of the dial. The black dial version, on the other hand, had white markers with the 3, 6, and 9 markers glowing orange in the dark. Every fifth marker on the minute scale was also replaced by an orange square.
The Rolex Milgauss Glace Verte Models
There was also a third anniversary model that turned the quirky levels up to one hundred. It had a black dial and featured a green-tinted sapphire crystal. This watch can be found under the ref. 116400GV. “GV” stands for glace verte, or green glass in French. The watch offered a new look that took Rolex fans some time to get used to. In 2014, Rolex expanded the collection with a model that featured a Z-Blue dial and the same green-tinted sapphire crystal. This increased the stand-out factor of the Milgauss even more. In 2016, Rolex decided to discontinue the black and white Milgauss models with standard sapphire crystal, leaving the two models with green sapphire crystal. These were the two models that were discontinued this year.
Current Prices for the Four Last Rolex Milgauss Models
It’s interesting to look at the price developments for all four models from the last Milgauss generation. Changes after the discontinuation of the final two models are certainly worth noting, but let’s start with the black and white models that were discontinued in 2016. Of the two, the white dial version is the more unique model, and the one that experienced appreciation sooner. Over time, however, prices for both models have pretty much evened out. Expect to see prices between $7,500 and 15,000 for the white dial version. Prices for the black dial version with the standard sapphire crystal start at roughly the same price and move up to around $13,000.
Models with a black dial and green tinted sapphire crystal start at $9,000 and go up to about $15,000. There are a lot more of these watches on offer due to the longer production cycle. Prices start a bit higher for the funky Z-Blue dial version. Prices for the most affordable of these start at roughly $11,000 and move up to $18,000, making it the most expensive of the four. The reason? Probably because it’s the stand-out model with the most offbeat character. As you would expect, the green sapphire versions can still be bought new with box and papers, as they were only discontinued very recently.
Price Developments for the Rolex Milgauss
When it comes to the financial performance of the Rolex Milgauss, the trend for all four models is pretty much the same. Prices spiked in early 2022, before dropping along with pretty much every other Rolex model. The peak price for the Z-Blue model was $2,000 to 3,000 higher than that of the other three variants. Prices continued to fall for all versions until February of this year, right before Watches and Wonders.
As soon as speculation began that the Milgauss might be discontinued – something that happens every year for numerous models – prices started going up again. In the aftermath of the discontinuation and the news of there being no replacement, prices will probably continue to rise over time. A lot of watch fans expected to see a new Milgauss with an updated case like the one used for the Air-King, but Rolex decided differently, and because of that, the Milgauss is hot property. Of course, the eccentric watch isn’t for everyone, so you might still be able to get one for a good price. As long as Rolex doesn’t replace the Milgauss with a new model, the final generation will continue to be in demand. So, is it a good investment? Right now it looks like it, but only time will tell. There is no denying that the Rolex Milgauss was a unique model in the Rolex collection. Thus, it wouldn’t be surprising to see increased appreciation for the quirky scientist’s watch over time, especially if Rolex decides not to follow it up with a new Milgauss. I would love to see a new one, because I am a big fan, but if it doesn’t happen, I will set my sights on a black dial version with green-tinted sapphire crystal – it’s that good!