Invariably, the biggest stories of Watches & Wonders are the ones you don’t get a press release for. Case in point: Rolex has used the occasion to quietly discontinue one of their more obscure models, the funky Milgauss.
Rolex gives with one hand and takes with the other. At the same time that we’ve seen the first titanium Yacht-Master, a huge update to the Daytona and the wackiest Day-Date Rolex has released in years, ‘The Crown’ has also discontinued their iconic anti-magnetic scientist’s watch, the Milgauss.
The Milgauss has always been a bit of an oddball… In a good way, mind. Its green-tinted sapphire crystal, fluoro-coloured highlights, double caseback and lightning bolt-shaped seconds hand made it really stand out amongst Rolex’s sometimes rather sober range.
It hasn’t received an update in years (since 2007, in fact) and when a big watch brand like Rolex doesn’t update a watch in years, it means they’ve either got something big planned, or they’re about to put it out to pasture.
We thought the Air-King, another lesser-loved Rolex, was also due for the chopping block back in 2021 – but after years of letting it put along, Rolex gave it an update last year at Watches & Wonders. The Milgauss hasn’t been so lucky, with Rolex sneakily scrubbing the watch from their website whilst the world’s watch fans were obsessing over 2023’s new releases.
Naturally, we’ve already started to see Milgauss prices start to climb on marketplaces like Chrono24 and eBay after being reasonably stable for ages… But how much are they likely to climb now that the market smells blood in the water?
We spoke to Paul Altieri, founder and CEO of respected Rolex dealer Bob’s Watches, who reckons we could see some pretty serious price movements over the next few days.
“It’s always exciting to see the new launches every year by Rolex, but the real understory is what was discontinued,” Paul says.
“Sadly, the Milgauss, after 6 decades, is one of them. Finished. Done. All you mad scientists and engineers out there will need to scoop up an existing pre-owned model 116400 now. Like, right now, as I expect prices will increase [by] 10-20% pretty quickly.”Paul Altieri
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Paul doesn’t think this will be the last we ever see of the Milgauss, however.
“The model dates back to 1956 so my guess is they could re-introduce it back again in a few years,” he reckons. “It’s too iconic to send to the graveyard. But for now, say goodbye to that orange lightning bolt second hands dial.”
Other Rolex discontinuations
The Milgauss isn’t the only Rolex that’s been quietly discontinued.
Every previous Daytona and Sky-Dweller reference has also been discontinued, as both models received significant updates in 2023 to both their movements, and in the Daytona’s case, its design (it’s got a new bezel and the new platinum Daytona has an exhibition caseback).
That means popular models like the yellow gold/green dial and white gold/blue dial Daytona are no more, as are all meteorite dial models. It’s a shame to see meteorite dials disappear from Rolex’s range (not that you could easily get your hands on them anyway…) especially considering how the current meteorite dial Daytonas were only introduced in 2021. Not a very long production run.
Rolex has also discontinued their Cellini model line, which has been replaced by the new 1908 dress watch – which not only closely resembles Cellini models of yore but now sits under a new ‘Perpetual’ model family alongside Rolex’s current ‘Classic’ and ‘Professional’ model families.