Rolex Milgauss 116400

By Florian Matrion - January 6, 2011
Milgauss 116400 Diaporama
Rolex reissues one of its historical references: the Milgauss, an unusual model unknown to the mass market. Will this Clockwork Orange know how to strike us?  I've tested it for you. 
Exclusive! review of the Milgauss 116400. Manufacturer data, photos, editor's opinion and watch retail price on thewatchobserver.co.uk
Editor's opinion
72/100
Users' rating
80/100

Slideshow: 15 photos to see this watch from every angle

 

First contact

The Milgauss, which was re-launched in 2007 after having been discontinued 19 years ago, stands as one unusual watch in the Rolex catalogue.

At first, the overall look seems quite classical.

With its 40mm diameter, it could even be compared with an overboosted Air-King!

But when taking a closer look, the orange touch on the dial cuts with this classicism and electrifies the whole: the markers above the white gold indexes, the "Milgauss" engraving just under the "Rolex Oyster Perpetual", and, on top of it all, this lightning bolt-shaped seconds hand.

They all combine in making the Milgauss so different from any other Rolex!

 

A comfortable watch

Some people might be surprised by its weight when first wearing it.
Indeed, with its 157 grams, it weighs a little more than most of "professional" models of the brand: 134 grams for the Submariner, 138 for the Cosmograph Daytona...

This weight difference is due to the very specific manufacturing of its case, which is "double-bottomed". We'll detail this in a moment.

 

With white hands and broad white indexes that are very clearly visible on this dark background, legibility's just perfect.

In spite of this slight overweight, the watch still is very comfortable.

First of all thanks to the Oysterclap clasp, incorporating the Easylink extension system, allowing a very precise fit of the strap accordingly to the wrist's size.
And it's undeniably a very efficient, and simple operation.

Then, thanks to its 72400 strap, derived from the 72200 currently used on the latest Datejust series.
The difference with its predecessor stands in the tip links (SEL, Solid End Links), thicker and more curved.

 


The case's lugs flow together with this same feeling, and are very plummeted.
The outcome is the Milgauss sitting comfortably on the wrist.

 

Excellent legibility

Its matte charcoal grey dial is very open.
With white hands and broad white indexes that are very clearly visible on this dark background, legibility's just perfect.

Its orange lightning bolt-shaped seconds hand (as on the first Milgauss ever issued, Ref. 6541) makes this legibility even more successful.
There's no way you'll confuse it with the two other, very classic-shaped hands.

And at night, or if you're in a faintly lit nightclub or bar, the SuperLumiNova of the indexes and hands, now green-glowing, will efficiently light up your wrist.

 

Technical Breakthrough

Specially created in 1954 for scientists working in power plants and research labs, the Milgauss 6541 has been designed to cope with strong magnetic fields. 'CERN', the European Council for Nuclear Research, had specially ordered it to Rolex.

 

The orange touch on the dial cuts with this classicism and electrifies the whole, specially its lightning bolt-shaped seconds hand.

According to the DIN 8309 (Deutsche Industrie Norm – German Industry Norm), an anti-magnetic watch must resist a magnetic field of 60 gauss.

And the Milgauss - its name is derived from the French "Mille", meaning 1,000 - can indeed resist magnetic fields of up to 1,000 gauss!

In order to do this, Rolex has added an anti-magnetic inner casing under the caseback.

It works just like a "Faraday cage" and thus protects the movement. A Faraday cage is an
enclosure made of conducting material, which blocks out external static electric fields.

 

True to its spirit, Rolex has even pushed the limits of the anti-magnetic concept a step further by giving the Milgauss the Cal. 3131 automatic movement, C.O.S.C/SCS-certified (Swiss Calibration Service).
An upgrade of the 3130, as used on timepieces such as the Submariner (Ref. 14060M) or the Air-King (Ref. 114210), this movement comes with the Parachrom-Blu hairspring, as well as an escapement made of a special paramagnetic alloy.

 

Conclusions

With the Milgauss, Rolex has succeeded in creating a somehow confusing watch by blending its product lines' codes.
Its sports/chic and uncluttered aspect, spiced up by its almost rock'n'roll orange lightning bolt, makes it a great watch with both elegant outfits and casual wear and sportswear.
Less consensual than other Rolex classics, it draws attention.
In a nutshell, this watch doesn't fail to impress.

 

The +:

  • a multipurpose watch
  • its legibility
  • a COSC-certified, reliable movement

 

The –:

  • the polished clasp sensitive to scratches
  • the sapphire crystal without anti-reflective coating

 

Further information:

  • journalist's wrist = 17 cm
Slideshow
15 pictures to see this watch in all its angles
Click on one photo to enlarge the watch gallery
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Manufacturer data

Brand Rolex
Model name Milgauss 116400
Reference number 116400
Case material Steel
Case diameter (without crown) 40 mm
Case diameter (crown included) 42,11 mm
Movement type Automatic
Calibre 3131
Calibre base 3130
Functions Second
Minute
Hour
Crystal Sapphire glass
Power reserve ability 48h
Transparent back No
Lug width 20,03 mm
Length from lug to lug 48,92 mm
Case thickness 13,15 mm
Water resistant 100 m
Strap material Steel
Clasp type Deployment clasp
Clasp type Steel
Total weight 157 grams
Retail price France at 2011/01/06 5,250.00 € calc

Editor's opinion 72/100

Confort (/15) 13
more Movement (/20) 11.5
Movement Optimisation / Garnishment (/5) 3.5
Ease of handling and adjustment (/5) 5
Movement control proceeded by the Manufacture / horlogical awards (/3) 2
Power reserve ability (/2) 1
Complications (/5) 0
more Finishing (/20) 14.5
Dial finishing (/6) 4.5
Case finishing (/6) 5
Quality of garnishment / caseback engraving quality (/2) 1
Crystal quality (/4) 2
Clasp finishing (inner and extern) (/2) 2
more Practicality (/20) 14
Diurnal legibility (/5) 5
Night legibility (/4) 3
Water resistant (/3) 1
Strap : ease of size adjustment + ease of substitution (/4) 2
Clasp : quality and safety (/4) 3
more Bonus (/10) 5
Limited edition (/3) 0
Watch delivered with several straps (/2) 0
Quality of the watch box (/1) 1
Portability with shirtsleeves buttoned (/2) 2
Goodies included (/1) 1
Understandability of the brochure (/1) 1
Value for money (/15) 14
When to wear it ?
At the yearly board of directors and then, at a party!

Users' rating 80/100

Confort (/15) 13.5
Movement (/20) 16.5
Finishing (/20) 17
Practicality (/20) 16
Bonus (/10) 6
Value for money (/15) 11.5
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    Love this watch,I am currently wearing the black dial version. One slight niggle however,the hour hand is slightly out of line when reaching the o,clock position.I have noticed this on a few models recently. Ps Super review.

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