Rolex has gained a well-deserved reputation as the manufacturer of timepieces that are both aspirational and iconic. However, it is not only that this timeless 'Rolex watch is so iconic. It is also the incredible engineering and design that has produced watches that are in a class of their own such as the Submariner, the Day-Date, the Daytona, and the Explorer.
There is another classic watch in the Rolex collection that demonstrates the commitment of the Rolex designers to state-of-the-art engineering to dizzying heights - and this is the Rolex Milgauss.
The Rolex Milgauss, first released in 1956 is a watch by masters of luxury and designed for scientists. This is perhaps one of the reasons that the Rolex Milgauss does not garner the attention of some of the other models in the Rolex collection. This is not like other luxury models in that it boasts no external adornments such as gemstones - and it is not made of precious metals. Some might describe it as a professional stainless steel tool (40mm Stainless Steel) made to the highest possible standards. However, it is the tool-like quality and specialization that makes it one of the most collectible and coveted Rolex models.
The Rolex Milgauss was designed to satisfy a need to be accurate in the presence of electromagnetic fields generated in industries such as science, medicine, and engineering. These fields were a growing problem as new technical equipment became widely available.
The problem was that run-of-the-mill mechanical watches could be damaged by even moderate electromagnetic fields. The Rolex solution to the problem was to shield the components in a 'Faraday Cage' manufactured using soft iron. That cage would allow the watch components to survive electromagnetic fields as strong as 1,000 gauss (compare that to a fridge magnet that produces only 50-100 gauss).
The Rolex Milgauss looks remarkably similar to the original Submariner (black rotating bezel and a black matte dial) but can be identified by the metallic honeycomb mesh across its face - another magnetic shield.
The commitment of Rolex to be at the cutting edge of technology and innovation, as well as design, was firmly entrenched by the mid-1950s, as demonstrated by the Rolex Milgauss 40mm Stainless Steel.