It is said that science advances in irregular leaps and bounds rather than consistent steps. Perhaps not by coincidence, the same could be said about Rolex. This particular Milgauss, in my opinion, is one of the most attractive Rolexes ever produced. I hold it on equal footing with issued military subs because, in one sense of the word, they were issued. Science is sexy and I won’t have a word said against the 1019 Milgauss, particularly this variant.
Most of us know the tale of the Milgauss, a strange beast developed for 1950s scientists conducting operations in heavy magnetic fields. The iron Faraday cage of the original 6541 could famously withstand 1000 Gauss and not lose a second. Without a hint of sarcasm, Rolex did not seem to realize just how niche a market that was. The run of varied references ended in 1988 with little commercial success.
In an early effort to increase sales, Rolex wrote a request to supply the newly founded CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) Laboratory. CERN agreed, on one condition. They asked Rolex to remove the tritium lume plots on the dial and indices as it was believed the light radiation could interfere with their extremely sensitive instruments. Rolex obliged and produced, in very small quantities, a lumeless 1019 Milgauss—since known as the CERN dial.
These CERN 1019s are few and far between. Often the silvery dials can be tarnished and the black striping (in place of tritium) cracked and flaking. This example is almost unreal. The dial and hands are completely intact. There is only light weathering visible. The original riveted bracelet, end-links, and crown are correct. Its case and bezel are marked but unpolished, likely worn frequently.
I like to imagine that this particular Milgauss was on the wrist of someone helping to discover the Higgs-Boson or light Neutrino families. The CERN 1019 probably has the strongest ties to science of reference ever produced, Rolex or otherwise. If you’re working near a particle accelerator, look no further. Although you may want to sell a family member into labor on the side, because from what I understand particle acceleration is not a terrible lucrative field relative to how far vintage Rolex have appreciated.
Find this CERN 1019 here from A Beautiful Watch for 56852 USD.