A vintage Rolex in the November Watch Sale at Fellows Auctioneers sold for £110,000 (plus Buyers Premium), setting a new house record for a price achieved by a watch at auction.
This Rolex Oyster Perpetual Milgauss dates from 1958 and was given an estimate of £40,000 – £60,000 ahead of Tuesday’s auction.
This watch had been in single ownership since purchase and had been worn regularly which was reflected in its condition. Although there was a bit of wear to the watch, this didn’t stop the enthusiastic bidders throwing their hats into the ring. Following lively bidding on the phone, in the room and on the internet, the watch far exceeded its original estimate to sell for £110,000, not including Buyers Premium.
Watch specialist Steven Yambo said “This is a stunning result for the watch. We’re delighted that we could do so well for our clients”. When asked why the watch sold for so much money, Yambo said “It is very rare to find a Rolex Milgauss nowadays. This is the first one we have had for sale, hopefully it’s not the last!”.
What is a Rolex Milgauss?
The name Milgauss is derived from mille, one-thousand, and gauss, the unit of a magnetic field. This model is so named because it can withstand a magnetic flux density of 1,000 gauss. The Milgauss is known for its unique lightning bolt seconds hand and Milgauss Bezel. The Milgauss was designed as an antimagnetic watch specifically for those who worked in power plants, medical facilities and research labs (like CERN in Geneva) where electromagnetic fields can cause havoc with the timing of a watch. This model was the first Rolex watch to shield a movement from magnetic fields. The honeycomb dial is made from laminated copper which protects the movement from magnetic fields.
This is a watch that rarely comes to auction, and is very sought after amongst watch collectors. This is due mainly to its relatively low sales and popularity during the 1960s and 1970s.
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