Rolex Milgauss Arrives and Stays

Since then, just as Rolex did with the Explorer of the same era, the brand seems to have forgotten about the Milgauss. The two models have traditionally occupied the second tier of the brand’s product line, forever overshadowed by the big household names that have become more of a cult and oddity in the collection at Unlike the Explorer, however, Milgauss was eventually retired. ref. 1019 remained unchanged for 28 years until Rolex finally discontinued it in 1988, and most people thought of it as a scientist’s watch. Gone was the rotating bezel; a fixed smooth one in pure stainless steel now took its place. The hour markers reverted to the plain batons – much more like the style found on the Datejust and Day-Date; likewise, the handset was changed to a more standard stick shape.
Unfortunately, the drastic toning down also extended to swapping out the odd lightning-shaped seconds hand for a pencil-straight alternative with a small red arrow on top. The Ref.1019 does, however, offer a choice of dials in different colors. Buyers can choose between black or silver, neither of which have the honeycomb design that was characteristic of previous Ref. models.
However, there was also one additional type of dial offered for the Milgauss 1019, and rumor has it that it was created to meet the request of scientists at CERN. Otherwise identical to the standard silver dial variants, these particular Milgauss watches featured no lume at all on either the dial or the hands. It was believed that the radioactive tritium lume – despite being far less radioactive than the radium that was previously used replica watches for men – would still disrupt the incredibly sensitive lab equipment. Now known as the CERN dials, they are among the most sought after and valuable examples of vintage Milgauss 1019 watches.

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