By Robin Swithinbank in London
There was an unhappy rumour doing the rounds among watch folk last year that Rolex was on the verge of burying the Milgauss, one of the lodestar antimagnetic watches of the last 60 years.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Milgauss watch has never been mentioned in the same hushed tones reserved for the Daytona, the Submariner, et al., but since its 2007 reboot, it has attracted a loyal following among watch buyers who enjoy wearing a Rolex not everyone recognises.
Despite that, the rumour felt like it had legs. Ever since Omega announced it had blown the Milgauss's antimagnetic merits into the horological hinterland with its 15,000 Gauss technology, Rolex's long-serving, 1,000-gauss, antimagnetic talisman has looked rather long in the tooth. The notion that the comparison with Omega's 2013 Seamaster could be irking the perfectionists at Rolex sufficiently for them to ditch a watch once touted by scientists at CERN, remained a reasonable hypothesis.
That would have been a shame. The Milgauss is a super watch, which is why the model Rolex announced - to a pleasantly surprised audience - at Basel earlier this year, has been met with such broadly positive reviews. The Rolex Milgauss Z-blue watch, with its shimmering deep turquoise-blue sunburst dial and trademark glace verte green sapphire crystal, proved to be one of the hits of the fair.
Still, it might just be a stopgap with a pretty aesthetic - all the tech above and below the dial is the same as before. From the 904L stainless steel superalloy case and the Parachrom hairspring (which has its own antimagnetic properties), to the antimagnetic shield that protects the automatic movement from the magnetic fields emitted by our computers, smartphones and household goods, it's a familiar package.
So, we watch on with interest. Many believe the Geneva brand is working behind the scenes on a watch with vastly improved antimagnetic creds (and who's to say it isn't?), but in the meantime, before the people in green and gold throw the baby out with the bathwater, the Rolex Milgauss Z-blue is a watch to savour.
Read more about the history of Rolex watches here