Antimagnetic Attraction: Testing the Rolex Milgauss

The updated version of the 1950s’ Rolex Milgauss replica uk is a hit among Rolex fans. Is this re-engineered classic, with its improved protection against magnetism, worth the wait? Writer Jens Koch and photographer Nik Schölzel find out in this watch test.

Magnetic fields are invisible and do not greatly affect the human body. Maybe that’s why we don’t think about them very much, even though our high-tech world is full of them, generated by all sorts of devices, from motors to loudspeakers. Unlike the people who wear them, however, mechanical watches are extremely susceptible to magnetic fields. When parts of a watch’s movement become magnetized, its rate accuracy is disturbed, causing frustration for its owner.Rolex Milgauss - caliber 3131

Rolex addressed this problem in the 1950s with the introduction of its Oyster Perpetual Milgauss model. The name comes from the French mille Gauss, referring to the watch’s protection from magnetic fields up to 1,000 gauss (named after physicist Karl Friedrich Gauss, a gauss is a unit for measuring the strength of a magnetic field). This level of magnetism, which corresponds to 0.1 Tesla or 80,000 vph, is 100 times higher than that of a typical horseshoe magnet. It would take levels such as those found in an MRI scanner to affect the watch’s functioning. After devoting considerable time and effort to the development of the recent reissue of the Milgauss, Rolex introduced it at the Baselworld watch fair in 2007. Its inner case, made of ferromagnetic material, shields the movement from magnetic fields and consists of only two parts: a container and another cover tightly screwed to it. The container encloses the movement laterally and on the dial side, while the back seals the movement side. To ensure that the movement would be shielded as much as possible, the designers allowed for only a bare minimum of openings in the dial and case. This is why there is no aperture for a date display, for example. There are only the necessary small openings for the winding stem and for the axles that anchor the hands. There are also two tiny holes for the screws that hold the dial. Most other watches with magnetic protection have an inner case with three parts, with the parts layered on top of one another rather than threaded together.

Rolex didn’t stop there; its engineers were determined to make additional modifications to prevent even minute amounts of magnetism from leaking into the movement. The result of this initiative was the blue Parachrom hairspring that appears in the Rolex Milgauss as well as other Rolex models such as the Daytona, the new GMT-Master II and the Yacht-Master II. It is made of a niobium-zirconium alloy with an oxide coating and remains completely unaffected by magnetic fields. It is also Sea Dweller rolex replica uk supposed to withstand shocks better than conventional hairsprings. (Click here to read WatchTime’s 2010 visit to the Rolex manufacturing facility in Bienne, Switzerland and learn more about how these Rolex-exclusive springs are made.) Additionally, the pallet fork and escape wheel are made of amorphous nickel-phosphorous, which is completely antimagnetic. Opening the solid, screw-down caseback reveals the second caseback made of soft iron. It can be opened with the same special wrench used for the outer caseback. This caseback is marked with a “B” with an arrow above it — the symbol for magnetic flux density — as an indication of its special function. (Interestingly, it is one of Rolex’s main competitors, Omega, that recently upped the ante on magnetism-resistant watches with the 2013 introduction of its Seamaster >1,500 Gauss, which uses even more antimagnetic materials in its movement.Rolex Milgauss - front

Ticking behind that caseback is the automatic Caliber 3131. It differs from its close relative, the 3130, which is used in the Explorer and the no-date version of the Submariner, only by these modified materials. Caliber 3130 is in turn based on the well-known Caliber 3135 that powers the Submariner and Datejust models. Some watchmakers view this Rolex manufacture caliber as the best automatic movement on the market, due to its robust design, which also permits very precise rate adjustment. For example, a stable balance bridge replaces the usual balance cock that features only one point of support. The endshake of the balance can be adjusted with two knurled screws. The Breguet overcoil of the hairspring also ensures precision in every position, as does the free-sprung balance using Microstella nuts. The red anodized reversers in the automatic module minimize friction. The only criticism we could level at the movement is that its rotor axle is set in a jeweled bearing rather than in a more modern ball bearing. Nevertheless, there are no known problems associated with this caliber. There is no caseback viewing window, so you’ll have to remove the caseback to see the nicely designed movement and its decorations. The classic Rolex rotor with cutouts and the automatic bridge are decorated with a sunburst finish. Other bridges have a perlage finish. Every bridge and plate is rhodium-plated and the edges are beveled and polished. The carefully polished screw heads are especially attractive.

The rate results for the new Rolex Milgauss were good, though they were not as precise as other Rolex watches that have undergone the same tests. They showed an average deviation of only +1.5 seconds per day on the timing machine, and a stable amplitude with no strong deviation between the vertical and horizontal positions. However, the greatest deviation between the positions, at seven seconds, was a rather imperfect result. When worn on the wrist the watch gained three seconds per day. Operating the Milgauss, however, is simplicity itself. The crown is easy to unscrew and has only two positions for winding and setting the hands. A hack mechanism keeps the balance and hands in place, enabling the wearer to set the watch to the second with precision. The logo and markings on the winding crown — a Rolex “crown” emblem with a dash below it —denotes the Twinlock crown, a departure from the Triplock crown of the Submariner, Sea-Dweller, and other Rolex Professional models. At 7 mm this crown is considerably fake rolex Submariner larger and easier to grasp than the crowns on other, similar watches. Download the full review here.

Fratello Friday: My Top 3 Rolex GMT-Master Watches Replica Sale

Many visitors to my GMT rolex replica for men uk blog, Fratellowatches.com, absolutely love Rolex watches. Whenever I write something about this brand, whether it’s about new product introductions at Baselworld or something involving vintage Rolex watches, I receive a great deal of commentary and questions. One of the most often-asked questions is,“What is your favorite Rolex model?”

My personal pick is the Rolex GMT-Master. Not only because of the interesting history it has, as the watch of Pan-Am pilots and NASA astronauts, nor even the fact that Tom Selleck had one on his wrist in “Magnum: P.I.,” but also because it is a very reliable and easy-to-use travel companion.

For this Fratello Friday article, I picked three of my favorite Rolex GMT-Master models. From the first models, with their bakelite turning bezels, to the current models that feature an independent extra hour hand and a ceramic turning bezel, there are plenty to choose from, as this watch has been on the market since 1954.Rolex GMT Master 16710 - collection

1. Rolex GMT-Master II Reference 16710

My first pick is the now discontinued model Rolex GMT-Master II (Reference 16710) with a blue-and-red bezel. This model was introduced in 1989 and was produced until 2007. Due to the independent hour hand and rotatable bezel, the wearer is able to read three different time zones. With its variety of three different aluminum inlays for the bezels, and the ability to have them swapped every so often (either DIY or at a Rolex service center), it was a very versatile watch. Rolex aficionados have developed nicknames for the black-and-red-bezel version (Coke) and the blue-and-red bezel (Pepsi). The Oyster bracelet on this model had an all-matte finish and had a flip-lock on the clasp to ensure safety.Rolex GMT Master II Ref. 116710-LN - green

2. Rolex GMT-Master II Reference 116710LN

In 2008, Rolex introduced the current lineup of GMT-Master II watches.  The case of the watch grew in both thickness and diameter and the lugs become a bit larger as well. The hour markers are bigger, and the watch featured a Trip-Lock crown (instead of the Twin-Lock crown it had in the past) and a ceramic bezel. The ceramic bezel will not discolor like the old aluminum bezels did and, more importantly, they won’t scratch.

The red GMT hand, which was so recognizable on the previous stainless-steel Rolex GMT-Master models, was replaced with a green one on this model. Also, the printing of the word “GMT-Master” on the dial is in green instead of white.

The bracelet of the Reference 116710LN GMT-Master II is quite different from the simpler and much criticized bracelets of old (although most of the criticism always seemed to come from people who didn’t like Rolex to begin with). The bracelet on the GMT-Master II 116710LN has a new clasp (with micro-adjustment and the capability to extend the bracelet) and a polished center link.

The polished center link of the bracelet and the green GMT hand are the reason that this watch comes in at #2. If the bracelet best replica rolex Masterpiece had an all-matte finish, or if the GMT hand were still in red, this one could well be ranked first on my list. The new black-and-blue model that Rolex introduced at this year’s Baselworld is a handsome version, but I still prefer the green model; the blue color probably has to grow on me.

3. Rolex GMT-Master Reference 1675

Not the oldest GMT-Master, but still a nice vintage watch (1959 – 1980) that can be found for relatively decent prices. Since there are so many of them still around, you can pick one you really like (with patina hands and hour markers or ones that are still white and fresh) in a good, wearable condition. The plexi crystal adds a fun element, but must be – of course – treated with care. It easily scratches.

These vintage Rolex GMT-Master Reference 1675 (Tom Selleck wore one in the TV series, “Magnum P.I.”) are quite a bit smaller than the later models and noticeably thinner. This reference has no independent moving hour hand; you have to use the bezel to read a second time zone. The extra hour is a 24-hour indicator.Rolex GMT Master Ref. 1675 - reclining

Aside from missing the independent hour hand, the vintage 1675 has the looks of authentic “tool watch”  —  no glossy dials, polished center links or white-gold rings around the hour markers. However, I’d pick one of the modern versions over this one if I needed a watch for Yachtmaster rolex replica eta daily wear.

What is your favorite Rolex? Share your thoughts using the comment box below.

 

Watch Insider: Discover 100 Years of Rolex Chronometers and Rolex Oyster Watches

Just over one hundred rolex replica Milgauss years ago, in 1914, the Kew Observatory in Great Britain granted a “Class A” chronometer certificate to a wristwatch for the very first time. This was a major achievement for the timepiece in question, a tiny Rolex watch, and it also marked the advent of the modern precision wristwatch.

In this article excerpted from my blog, Watch-Insider.com, I explore the full story behind this watch-world milestone, and trace the evolution of the Rolex “Oyster” watches that resulted from it, with photos of all the major Rolex Oytser models from 1926 through 2014.

Until July 15, 1914, the “Class A” certification, which attested to the highest chronometric precision, had generally been awarded only to large marine chronometers after extremely rigorous tests. Rolex was, in fact, the first to prove that a wristwatch could be just as precise as a marine chronometer – a notion that was scarcely believable at the time.The 1914 Kew certified Rolex wristwatch Chronometer

Rolex’s first success in this area had, in fact, already come in 1910, when it obtained a chronometer certificate for a small watch from the Official Watch Rating Center in Bienne, Switzerland (as seen below).

This proof of performance would contribute significantly to the rise of the wristwatch in popularity. On the strength of this achievement, Rolex would eventually become the world’s largest manufacturer of chronometer-certified wristwatches. The Geneva-based brand perfected the concept of the modern watch in 1926 by inventing the waterproof “Oyster” case to protect the movement inside and then, in 1931, by developing the self-winding “Perpetual” rotor movement. Today, all Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches are officially certified chronometers, carrying on the heritage of the pioneering role the brand played in bringing precision to the wristwatch.

That milestone feat of miniaturized precision — the very first “Class A” rating certificate for a wristwatch from the Kew Observatory near London, occurred on 15 July 1914, and would forever change the destiny of the modern watch.

This first chronometer wristwatch not only met but passed with flying colors the British observatory’s demanding criteria, the most stringent in the world: 45 days of tests, in five different positions and at three different temperatures (ice-cold, oven-hot and ambient). For the first time in history, a wristwatch fulfilled the requirements expected of the aaa rolex replica Sea Dweller best marine chronometers. These navigation instruments, whose precision was used to determine the position of ships at sea (longitude), could not deviate by more than a few seconds per day without putting the safety of the ships at risk.

The tiny Rolex wristwatch that was certified by Kew 100 years ago recorded an average daily rate of only +1 second. This was the moment when the wristwatch gained legitimacy at the prestigious Observatory tests.

The man behind this feat was German-born Hans Wilsdorf, who founded Rolex in 1905. By obtaining this first chronometer certificate from Kew, Wilsdorf demonstrated that, in terms of precision, a small wristwatch could rival that of the best timepieces, including pocketwatches, which were the norm at the time. Thus, nearly two centuries after John Harrison designed the first marine chronometer, Rolex targeted an equal level of precision for a wristwatch.

In those early days of the 20th century, no one had yet managed to design a truly reliable and precise wristwatch. Wristwatches were not in favor at the time, because their comparatively small mechanisms could not compete with the regularity and reliability of the larger pocketwatch movements. However, since the beginning of his career, Wilsdorf had been firmly convinced that the wristwatch would be future of the watchmaking industry. He devoted the energy of his youth to eliminating all the wristwatch’s weak points and made the quest for wristwatch precision his first objective. A visionary entrepreneur, Wilsdorf was firmly convinced that precision was essential to ensure the acceptance and eventual popularity of the wristwatch.Hans Wilsdorf the founder of Rolex

Rolex is one of the historic leaders in timekeeping and a true pioneer in chronometer wristwatches; Rolex made certified precision its signature. By the early 1950s, Rolex had manufactured nearly 90 percent of all chronometers officially certified in Switzerland since 1927, the year specific criteria for chronometer wristwatches were introduced.

When, in 1951, the regulations changed and it became compulsory to obtain chronometer certification from an official body, Rolex went further and made sure its movements obtained certificates bearing the citation “particularly good results.” This distinction gave rise to the famous phrase still inscribed on Rolex watch dials today: “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified”. Since the creation of the COSC (Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute) in 1973, special citations are no longer given on the certificates. But the signature on Rolex dials is a reminder that since the early 20th century, Rolex has played a central role in the rolex replica Submariner online store development of the modern precision watch.

WatchTime Exclusive: Inside Rolex Replica Sale Bienne

On a rare tour of Rolex’s best rolex replica GMT movement-manufacturing complex in Bienne, Switzerland, WatchTime’s Joe Thompson and Norma Buchanan witnessed the making of the Cosmograph Daytona Caliber 4130.

The first thing that strikes you is its sheer size. The Rolex movement-making complex, on the outskirts of Bienne, Switzerland, is a study in gigantism. It consists of four monolithic buildings, occupying 170,000 cubic meters of space. It’s imposing, and, with its air of impregnability, a little mysterious. We ride out there one February afternoon because Rolex has agreed to give us, two WatchTime editors, a tour of the facility, a mainplate-to-hairspring view of how it makes its movements, 750,000-plus of them per year. Before the tour, we receive a background briefing, a combination of live presentation and film. It takes place in a proportionately large auditorium attached to what is surely the biggest watch-company reception area we’ve ever been in: a two-story-high, light-filled atrium with a Rolex-green marble floor. This complex, Manufacture des Montres Rolex SA, located in an industrial zone called Champs-de-Boujean, is the sister of Rolex SA in Geneva, which makes cases, bracelets and dials; assembles the watches; and does the company’s gem-setting. Rolex corporate headquarters are also in Geneva.

Here in Bienne, about 2,000 employees buy rolex Masterpiece replica  make movement components, 50 million of them per year, assemble the movements, and send them to Switzerland’s chronometer-testing agency, COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) to receive chronometer certification. (All Rolex-made movements receive certification except for most in the Cellini collection — although Cellini Prince models are COSC-certified.) Rolex Bienne then ships the movements to Rolex Geneva for casing. The four Bienne buildings, set against the backdrop of the Jura mountains, are called Rolex III, IV, V and VI. (Rolex I and II are old, former factory buildings near the center of Bienne. Rolex no longer owns them.) The company also has a factory in the town of Le Locle, employing 150 people, where some movement assembly takes place.Rolex Daytona Caliber 4130

Until 2004, Rolex Bienne and Rolex Geneva had different owners. The former belonged to the descendants of Jean Aegler, whose Aegler SA factory in Bienne provided movements to Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf starting in 1905. Rolex Geneva was, and still is, owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, which Wilsdorf established in 1945. Several years ago, Rolex Geneva bought the Bienne facility and the two were merged. That move, along with Rolex’s long-term project of acquiring many of its suppliers of components and equipment, has transformed the company into a vertically integrated manufacture. Class over, we set out on the tour. It will have a theme, says François Paschoud, one of the facility’s technical directors: We will be following the manufacturing steps of Rolex’s famous Caliber 4130, the chronograph movement that Rolex launched in 2000 to replace the Zenith El Primero caliber it had been using in its Cosmograph Daytona models. That introduction was a major event for Rolex; it meant that from that point on all movements used in the Rolex brand were made in-house (watches in Rolex’s Masterpiece II rolex replica online store sister brand, Tudor, have ETA movements).

WatchTime Exclusive: Inside Rolex Replica Sale Bienne

On a rare tour of Rolex’s Daytona rolex replica sale movement-manufacturing complex in Bienne, Switzerland, WatchTime’s Joe Thompson and Norma Buchanan witnessed the making of the Cosmograph Daytona Caliber 4130.

The first thing that strikes you is its sheer size. The Rolex movement-making complex, on the outskirts of Bienne, Switzerland, is a study in gigantism. It consists of four monolithic buildings, occupying 170,000 cubic meters of space. It’s imposing, and, with its air of impregnability, a little mysterious. We ride out there one February afternoon because Rolex has agreed to give us, two WatchTime editors, a tour of the facility, a mainplate-to-hairspring view of how it makes its movements, 750,000-plus of them per year. Before the tour, we receive a background briefing, a combination of live presentation and film. It takes place in a proportionately large auditorium attached to what is surely the biggest watch-company reception area we’ve ever been in: a two-story-high, light-filled atrium with a Rolex-green marble floor. This complex, Manufacture des Montres Rolex SA, located in an industrial zone called Champs-de-Boujean, is the sister of Rolex SA in Geneva, which makes cases, bracelets and dials; assembles the watches; and does the company’s gem-setting. Rolex corporate headquarters are also in Geneva.

Here in Bienne, about 2,000 employees make movement components, 50 million of them per year, assemble the movements, and send them to Switzerland’s chronometer-testing agency, COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) to receive chronometer certification. (All Rolex-made movements receive certification except for most in the Cellini collection — although Cellini Prince models are COSC-certified.) Rolex Bienne then ships the movements to Rolex Geneva for casing. The four Bienne buildings, aaa rolex replica Daytona II set against the backdrop of the Jura mountains, are called Rolex III, IV, V and VI. (Rolex I and II are old, former factory buildings near the center of Bienne. Rolex no longer owns them.) The company also has a factory in the town of Le Locle, employing 150 people, where some movement assembly takes place.Rolex Daytona Caliber 4130

Until 2004, Rolex Bienne and Rolex Geneva had different owners. The former belonged to the descendants of Jean Aegler, whose Aegler SA factory in Bienne provided movements to Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf starting in 1905. Rolex Geneva was, and still is, owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, which Wilsdorf established in 1945. Several years ago, Rolex Geneva bought the Bienne facility and the two were merged. That move, along with Rolex’s long-term project of acquiring many of its suppliers of components and equipment, has transformed the company into a vertically integrated manufacture. Class over, we set out on the tour. It will have a theme, says François Paschoud, one of the facility’s technical directors: We will be following the manufacturing steps of Rolex’s famous Caliber 4130, the chronograph movement that Rolex launched in 2000 to replace the Zenith El Primero caliber it had been using in its Cosmograph Daytona models. That introduction was a major event for Rolex; it meant that from that point on all movements used in the Rolex brand were made in-house (watches in Rolex’s sister brand, Tudor, have fake rolex sale online Explorer ETA movements).