Amongst the soon-to-be-discontinued Z-blue, CERN, and white-orange dialed Milgausses (Milgausss, Milgausses, or Milgaussi?), it’s easy to forget the that antimagnetic Wilsdorf family member can sport a more subdued tone. In black, the 1019 looks absolutely pedestrian in the best way possible; mostly because it is absolutely anything but. The level of significance this steel sports Rolex holds is, in my view, disproportionate to the level of attention it receives. The watch served time in CERN, helped fundamental particle physics research, the space race, and received almost no commercial success in period. Recently, the bloodsport that is vintage Rolex collecting has begun to shed light on what is the most alternative sports model to wear a coronet. I mean, the Explorer II is downright mainstream by comparison.
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 original varied references ended in 1988 with little commercial success. Because the watch never really caught on, it’s rare. As I’m sure you know, anything remotely rare with Rolex on the dial is en vogue.
The majority, by a sliver, of 1019 Milgausses were produced with a brushed silver dial. These black dials are ever-so-slightly rarer but no where near as scarce as the CERN dials. The case is a 38mm Oyster with unique inner construction. They came on riveted 6636s. If you ask me, the black wears quite a bit more modern that the silver counterpart. A bit stealth-vintage as well. You’d have to know your shit properly well to pick out this dial at a glance. I like that sort of thing.
This example is an all-around performer. The dial is evenly light black with all fonts visible. The tritium is cream, echoed in the handset. Its case is sharp, with lugs retaining proportion. The crown is signed and correct. Its iron cage and movement show nothing out of place and it comes on an original bracelet, recently serviced. It comes from a small retailer.
Find this 1019 here from Bulang & Sons listed as POA.