A paramagnetic timepieceBASELWORLD 2014: A new version of the Oyster Perpetual Milgauss
Rolex is presenting a new version of the Oyster Perpetual Milgauss with unique and symbolic aesthetics. Its green sapphire crystal marked a first in watchmaking when it was introduced on the Milgauss in 2007. Now this crystal is combined with an electric blue dial, an allusion to the emblematic lightning-boltshaped seconds hand and the watch’s technical purpose as a paramagnetic timepiece designed for engineers and scientists in the 1950s, a golden age of scientific research.
Seen through the green sapphire crystal, the Z blue dial – a name derived from its zirconium content – takes on a powerfully attractive magnetic hue.
An Avantgarde Watch
Ever since its launch, the Milgauss has remained an avant-garde watch. It was created in 1956 for engineers and technicians who are exposed in their work to magnetic fields which disrupt the performance of mechanical watches. It was designed to resist strong interference of up to 1,000 gauss, hence its name – “mille” being French for thousand – while maintaining its performance and precision as an officially certified chronometer.
A pioneer in magnetic resistance, it became known as the watch worn by scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva and gained a reputation as the ultimate watch of science and technological progress. Several innovations contribute to its resistance to magnetism. The first line of defence is a shield made of ferromagnetic alloys that surrounds the movement within the Oyster case, an invention patented by Rolex in 1954. The second line of defence involves two of the movement’s key components, the oscillator and the escapement, which are made of innovative paramagnetic materials developed by Rolex since the 2000s.
The Milgauss is equipped with calibre 3131, a self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. Like all Rolex Perpetual movements, the 3131 is a certified Swiss chronometer, a designation reserved for high-precision watches that have successfully passed the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) tests. It includes Rolex-patented components to guarantee the level of resistance to magnetic interference for which it is named. The escapement of the Milgauss features a paramagnetic escape wheel made of a nickel-phosphorus alloy. This component is produced using a micromanufacturing technology (UV-LiGA) that is entirely mastered in-house. The oscillator, the true heart of the watch, has a blue Parachrom hairspring patented and manufactured by Rolex in an exclusive alloy of niobium and zirconium. Insensitive to magnetic fields, the Parachrom hairspring offers great stability when exposed to temperature variations and remains up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks.