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The Milgauss: a missed opportunity
by admin


Pic.: Rolex Milgauss ref 6541

In 1958 Rolex started with the production of the Milgauss. Most important feature of this watch was that it could withstand magnetic radiation. Certain groups of professionals who had to deal with this radiation benefitted from this watch that kept it’s accuracy.

Most important facts of the ref 6541 were:

- case diameter: 38 mm
- caliber 1066M
- bracelet: Oyster ref 6636
- material: stainless steel
- crown: Oyster twinlock ref 21
- hands: Dauphine
- at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock steel triangles with facet
- seconds hand: lightning bolt
- anti-magnetic: up to 1000 Gauss

Ref 6541 was also produced with a black, rotating bezel divided in 60 units.

From the 1960s until the 1980s Rolex produced the Milgauss ref 1019, the successor of the ref 6541.


Pic.: Rolex Milgauss ref. 1019

The most important features of the ref 1019 were:

- case diameter: 37 mm

-       kaliber 1580 (rhodium-plated, 26 jewels, straight-line lever escapement, monometallic balance adjusted to 5 positions and temperature, shock absorber, white metal Breguet balance spring, Microstella regulating screws)

-       bracelet: Oyster

-       material: stainless steel

-       soft iron gilt metal anti-magnetic protecting cap forming a Faraday cage

-       dial: black over soft iron dial with luminous steel baton indexes, outer minute/seconds divisions, ‘milgauss’ in red

Rolex also made a special version of the ref 1019 for the CERN in Geneva. This watch had a Rolex USA jubilee bracelet and engraved in the inner site of the caseback was III.67, meaning that it was made in the third quarter of 1967.


Pic.: Rolex Milgauss CERN ref. 1019

The initial tragedy of this Rolex model with all it’s interesting specifications was that it turned out to be practically unsellable in the 1960s and 1970s. In the Netherlands in the 70s they were offered for 1600 to 1900 guilders but even with this reduction in price they still kept collecting dust in the safes of the dealers.

In 2013 the Milgauss turns out to be in a totally different ballpark! Because they were so hard to sell the Milgauss now is a very rare watch and everybody understands what this does to the price. In a recent search I found one for $ 29.000 and in Holland expect to pay at least 20.000 Euros for a Milgauss.

There is a whole bunch of people now that lie awake at night wondering why they didn’t buy a couple of Milgauss’s in the good old days:
a missed opportunity!

With thanks to Wilfred Muhring, Shop Director Schaap en Citroen Utrecht

Jaap Bakker

August 8th


The CEO of Rolex: Gian Riccardo Marini
by admin


On May the 3th 2011 the Italian Gian Riccardo Marini was appointed worldwide CEO of Rolex. The former head of Rolex Italy replaced the long time sitting chief Bruno Meier.

In 1932 Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf decided to distribute his watches in Italy through Italian dealer Franco Locatelli. In 1947 Locatelli started the business ROMALO together with Ronchi, the first Rolex dealer in Milan, and Renato Marini.
The sons of Renato Marini, Gian Riccardo and Giancarlo, became involved with the firm in the seventies. Soon Gian Riccardo became the commercial director of the business. In 1980 ROMALO started with it’s first service centre which quickly became an important international institute for the training of Rolex dealers. It took until 1993 before ROMALO became a recognised part of Rolex Italy SpA.

Gian Riccardo Marini is responsible for the important brand combinations with sailing and golf and the creation of limited editions for these sports. When Marini talks about the uniqueness of a Rolex watch he uses this quote: “an object of passion and luxury, but also an important personal investment”. The whole marketing has made Rolex to be one of the most solid luxury brands in the world.

After Marini became professionally involved with sailing the sport turned out to be love at first site for him. In an interview in Yacht Online he was asked if he could explain why luxury brands in general and watch manufacturers especially are more and more interested in sponsoring sailing. He gave the following answer:

“I can’t really say why any other company is interested in the sector. But what is certain is that we were at the forefront in that regard: Rolex was the first watch brand in the world to launch an advertising campaign built around the sea and that was in 1926. Our watches were also the first official timepieces for the America’s Cup. The power of teamwork, cutting-edge technologies, toughness, resistance, man as protagonist: they’re all the values our company recognised in sailing and that’s why we chose it as our preferred sponsorship sport. Now, of course, everyone has gotten in on the act with testimonials, etc. but maybe that’s just because there’s very little spirit of initiative when it comes to looking for new avenues of communication.”

The latest big deal Marini closed is 10 year sponsor contract worth $ 350 million for being the worldwide partner and official timekeeper of the Formula 1. Important reason for closing the deal was the threath of competing watch brand Omega taking over the leading position. According to a report of Digital Luxury Group (DLG) in april 2013 the gap between Rolex and Omega has become smaller over the years, from 8,4% in 2009 to 2% in 2012.
The following picture shows Marini and Formula 1′s big boss Bernie Ecclestone.


To celebrate this deal Rolex produced a very interesting, strictly limited Daytona. The full name of this Rolex is:

Rolex Daytona FORMULA 1 Limited Edition BREVET+ PVD DLC



Brevet is a Swiss company that, according to their website, does the following:

‘About BREVET +

BREVETPLUS specialises in customising and re-designing High End wristwatches at our customers request. BREVETPLUS is proud to be the first company to introduce ADLC ( AMPHOROUS DIAMOND LASER LIKE COATING ), DLC and PVD Coatings.

BREVETPLUS is an independent company providing customisation to original brands. We are not affiliated to any watch manufacturer and operate independently and in an unofficial capacity. BREVET + primarily focuses on achieving unique designs and concepts through its research and development. Our aim is to deliver an irreplaceable watch to our client.

Brevetplus are to watches what Zagato is to Cars.’

These are the most important facts about the Daytona BREVET+:

BLACK ROLEX DAYTONA Formula 1 Limited Edition


BREVET + Limited Edition – Customised Rolex Daytona Formula 1 Limited Edition
Launch Date: March 2013


BLACK AMPHOROUS Diamond Like Carbon matte coating
44 jewels movement
Sapphire crystal
Individual case back engraved (xx-13)
Water proof 100m/300ft
Comes with fitted box
2 years in house BREVET+ warranty for a mechanical failure.

Price: 23.141 euro
This watch is also available in stainless steel at: £14750.

Watches are supplied with or without BREVETPLUS INSCRIPTION on the dials.

Jaap Bakker

August 8th



Chuck Yeager: no flight without a Rolex
by admin


Pic.: Air Force Brigadier General Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager with a Rolex Submariner ref. 6538

General Yeager was born on the 13th of February 1923 in Myra, West Virginia. In 1939 he applied for the Citizens Military Training Camp in Fort Benjamin Harrison and starting the 12th of September 1941 he was part of the Army Corps. In July 1942 he started his pilot training of the flying sergeant program and in March 1943 he received his pilot wings and became a flight officer in Luke Field, Arizona.

As of the 7th of December 1941 the US was pulled into WOII and Yeager took part in it in the 363d Fighter Squadron in Tonopah, Nevada, as a P-39 pilot. In November 1942 he was transfered to Leiston, Suffolk (UK), to start fighting against the Germans as a P-51 pilot. After shooting a ME-109 and a HE-111K on his 8th mission (5th of March 1944) he was shot down himself above occupied France. Thanks to the Maquis (guerilla units of the French resistence, the Resistance) Yeager got away safely to Spain.
After his return to the UK in the summer of 1944 his superiors didn’t want him to fly above occupied territory because he might get shot again and they were afraid that he could fall into the hands of the Gestapo; if he broke under investigation he might give away sensitive information about the Maquis. Yeager fully disagreed and said: “I don’t want to leave my buddies after only eight missions. It just isn’t right. I have a lot of fighting left to do”.
In the end General Dwight D. Eisenhower himself gave him the green light and Yeager went on to fly another 56 missions in which he shot down 11 German warplanes.

In 1945 Yeager returned to the US and through test projects with the P-80 ‘Shooting Star’ and the P-84 ‘Thunderjet’ he got involved in the development of the Bell X-1, the first rocket propelled airplane. The X-1 was stationed at Muroc (now called Edwards Air Force Base) in California. Airbase Muroc was named after the little town of Muroc, founded by the Corum brothers in the beginning of the 20th century.


Pic.: Chuck Yeager in 1947 with a Rolex Oyster

On the 14th of October 1947 General Yeager was the first pilot to break through the sound barrier, flying the Bell X-1 with a speed of Mach 1.07 (670 mph). In the following two years flew another 33 times with the X-1, achieving a topspeed of Mach 1.45 (957 mph) at a height of 70.000 feet.

In December 1953 Yeager flew with the Bell X-1A at a speed of Mach 2.44 (1.650 mph), a record that still stands for an airplane with straight wings.


Pic.: General Chuck Yeager in the Bell X-1 on his way to breaking the sound barrier


Pic.: the postcard Yeager sent to Rolex to thank them for the perfectly working wrist watch

In his whole carrier as a pilot Yeager has always worn Rolex watches (Oyster, Submariner, GMT Master II) and they have never let him down.
Also during the very hairy moment he experienced on the 10th of December 1963. He flew at a height of 104.000 feet (almost 21 miles) in the Lockheed NF-104 when the rocket engine stopped working. Without hydraulic pressure the whole dashboard seized to work and the plane was out of control. Yeager tried to restart the engine but it was completely burnt. The aircraft made 14 complete flat spins on it’s way to the desert Yeager flew above. It was not until the last spin that Yeager ejected himself from the plane at a height of 8.500 feet. The chair went through his visor and he got hot rocket lava in his face. The lava made the oxygen in his pressure suit start to burn and his face was in a sort of inferno. Luckily Yeager managed to open the existing parts of his visor which made the flames to stop.
After a safe touchdown in the desert Yeager realised that he had been very lucky. The rocket lava had burnt the ropes of his parachute to such an extend that they broke in his hand while folding up his parachute.

General Yeager has flown in 201 types of military airplanes and has more than 14.000 flight hours to his name, 13.000 of which in fighter airplanes. Recently he has flown the SR-71 Blackbird, F-15, F-16, F-18 and the F-20 Tigershark.

On the first of March 1975 General Yeager ended his carrier with the US Air Force. Through the years he has received many decorations and medals, both military as civil.
Chuck Yeager was married to Glennis Faye Dickhouse from Grass Valley, California. Unfortunately she passed away on December 1990. They have 2 daughters, Sharon and Susan, and 2 sons, Donald and Michael.

CY:GMT II adv.

Pic.: advertisement with General Chuck Yeager for the Rolex GMT Master II


Afb.: Chuck Yeager with a Big Crown Rolex Submariner ref.6538

Jaap Bakker

July 26th



Jacques Piccard: 36.000 feet into the Mariana Trough
by admin

Jacques Ernest Piccard was born on the 28th of July 1922 (1922-2008) in Brussels, Belgium. His father Auguste was a famous scientist who discovered Uranium 235 (he also called it Actinuran).


In October 1927 Auguste was present at the fifth Solvay international conference about electrons and fotons in Brussels. The picture above shows Auguste in the upper left corner, Marie Curie is in the middle and in the front right corner is Albert Einstein. At the conference they discussed the Quantum Theory of Einstein.

Auguste became interested in hot air balloons as a way to observe the cosmic radiation in the upper atmosphere. With his experiments he proved a part of the Relativity Theory of Einstein. In 1931 reached a record height of 50.000 feet in a balloon with the first pressure cabin, becoming the first person to get to the stratosphere and return safely.

With his experiences with the balloon Auguste started to develop a vessel with which he could submerge into the sea. According to the laws of buoyancy external tanks of the vessel needed to be able to dump their lighter than water fuel in order to fill the tanks with sea water; this gave enough negative buoyancy to submerge.

In 1943 Jacques Piccard started studying Economics at the University of Geneva but he quitted to go to the French First army. After the war he became more and more interested in the activities of his father. In 1948 the first prototype, named Bathyscape, was made thanks to the money from a Belgium scientific foundation. This vessel successfully made a unmanned descent to 4.600 feet but was damaged during it’s return in rough seas. In 1953 a second version was built for the French Navy. The city of Trieste ordered a third version with which a record depth of 10.335 feet was reached near the Italian island Ponza.

Bathyscaphe tekening

In 1956 Jacques Piccard contacted the US Navy. He went, with his vessel Trieste, to San Diego to work together with scientists who were studying the biological and acoustic properties of deep scattering layers. Two years later the Navy bought the Trieste and they hired Piccard as a consultant. The Navy thought that the Trieste could also be useful in case of a submarine accident and saving the crew. In the first 17 months Trieste made 22 dives, breaking three depth records.

In the early morning of the 23th of January 1960 Jacques Piccard and Lt. Don Walsh, a submarine officer, entered the Trieste in the rough seas near Guam. This was the start of a 36.000 feet dive into the Challenger Deep gorge in the Mariana Trough.


The Trieste didn’t have equipment on board to do experiments because the purpose of the dive was to show that it could reach this depth. The descent was without any problems until, at 30.000 feet, Piccard en Walsh heard a loud crack. Non the less they continued their descent and finally they landed in a tobacco brown sludge at 35.800 feet. Walsh described the experience as “being in a big bowl of milk”. According to them they saw a new kind of shrimp and a flat fish but marine biologists later said that that wasn’t possible at this depth with a pressure of 17.000 psi.
After seeing the cracks in the windows of the Trieste Piccard after 20 minutes decided to start the ascent. Piccard and Walsh returned to the surface without any further problems.




The mission received world wide attention and later Jacques Piccard, together with well known geologist Robert Deitz, wrote the book ‘Seven Miles Down’.



Pic.: Jacques Piccard and Lt. Don Walsh receiving a medal from President Eisenhower

Rolex had developed a special watch, the Deep Sea Special, for the descent into the Mariana Trough. The watch was attached to the outside of the vessel and after the return to the surface the Rolex was still ticking happily after having withstood a pressure of 17.000 psi.





Jaap Bakker

July 22nd



7 Variants of the Double Red Sea-Dweller
by admin

This article is about the Double Red Sea-Dwellers that were made between 1967 and 1969 (serial numbers between 1.7 and 2.2 million). There are dials with a line in red and other dials with two lines in red without the number ’2000′. The initial dial is in red, possibly printed on a white background, and both lines have the same format font. A couple of watches of this version have a faded dial causing the red letters to have changed into rose or white. The ‘O’ under the five fingers of the Rolex crown is clearly visible. Most versions of this model have ‘patent pending’ on the back of the case.







The second version of the dial can be found in about 1.7 million cases. The distinctive character of this dial is the way it is printed. In general the print is in clear red and applied directly on the background. The font of the second line is smaller. In rare cases the dial is faded into matt black, light brown or chocolate which are also called the ‘chocolate dial’. The fingers of the crown are disfigured and the ‘O’ is practically non existent.





This version is rare. The red print on the dial looks very much like the one on version 2 but here the crown is clearly printed and it has a flat lower part, looking like the first version. The ‘D’ in Sea-Dweller is in line with the ‘R’ in submariner 2000. In version 2 the ‘D’ is in line with the ‘I’ of submariner 2000. Version 3′s print is comparable with Version 2′s but the space between the depth markers is different and so is the crown.




The final version of the dial was made for general production and is the most common one. The red print is clear but not heavy and when one uses a magnifying glass the print looks like it’s made of small dots. The font of the upper red line is significantly bigger than that of the second line. The crown is big, the five fingers are clearly printed and the ‘O’ is rather big.





This is a common version of the dial. The crown is the same as in the second version. The upper two lines are in red. Depth markings ‘ft’ and ‘m’ are in italics and the most important detail is the markers containing luminova.





This is the white Sea-Dweller dial with markers in luminova and red print over the word ‘SEA-DWELLER’.







Jaap Bakker

July 21st


Rolex for the army: special order or standard issue?
by admin

As collectors know several Rolex models exist with a marque of an army unit on the back of the case. For instance the British broad arrow on some Submariner models from the 60s and 70s.
Then in January 1990 the strangest thing happened. Rolex wrote a letter to Italian collectors saying that these kind of watches were never made. How is this possible?

The answer is that these watches were never specifically designed for the army but that several units were given standard watches that were in production at that moment and that were modified (for instance different hands or other numbers on the bezel).

There is always an exception to the rule and in this case, as the letter said, that is the:” Radiomir Panerai produced in the 40s by our dealer for the Italian Navy. This watch was specially made for their famous Commando divers and it was designed and manufactured by Panerai. Rolex was only the supplier of the calibers so there was no Rolex on the watches”.
But there is another question that is still unanswered after reading these lines. A letter of intent (11/1954) between G. Panerai & Figlio and S.A. Montres Rolex Geneva said the following: “The deal is cristal clear that the waterproof watches with the Oyster cases G. 6152 and G. 6154 (or comparable models) who have been made for over 15 years at the request of and solely for the Panerai firm, are absolutely for G. Panerai & Figlio and can not be supplied to a third party with a Rolex or another caliber”.

The question remains open if Rolex only supplied the cases to Panerai or also the calibers.
Whatever the truth, it is clear that Panerai, nowadays a very popular watch brand for collectors, is one of the keystones on which the fame of Rolex is built.

RaPa 3646 wijzerplaat

Pic.: Radiomir Panerai ref 3646

RaPa 3646 kast

Pic.: Inner case with Oyster Watch Company, Geneva, Swiss

RaPa 3646 uurwerk

Pic.: Rolex cal. 618/Type 1 (typical: ‘ROLEX 17 RUBIS’ on the central bridge)

Jaap Bakker

July 21st