Rare Rolex Milgauss sells for $2.5m at Geneva auction


Joe Baker
Joe Baker
Senior Copywriter
Joe is a Senior Copywriter working on reports, news and analysis. Previously, he worked as a B2B copywriter, journalist and editor covering a broad range of topics, including technology, transport,… Read more
  • ​​​​​A rare Rolex Milgauss watch has been sold by Phillips Auctioneers for an unprecedented $2.5m. 
  • The value of the watch doubled pre-auction predictions of $1.12m. 
  • The winning bidder reportedly bought the watch on behalf of Rolex.  

Phillips Auctioneers, based in Geneva, has sold a Rolex Milgauss watch for $2.5m (CHF 2.24m), breaking the record for the most money ever paid at auction for a Milgauss.

This stainless-steel watch was designed by Rolex in 1958. The watch was created after scientists at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research approached Rolex to design a wristwatch that could keep accurate time in the presence of strong magnetic fields. 

A similar model from 1958 was sold at Christie's Auction House, London, in 2013 for CHF 317,000. Another, auctioned by Phillips in 2022, was sold for over CHF 300,000. 

At Sotheby’s weekend auction, a 'John Player Special' yellow gold Rolex Daytona with a 'Paul Newman' dial was sold for CHF 2.24m, making it the most expensive of its kind ever to be sold at auction.

Christie's auctioned off a limited edition Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711, customised by Tiffany & Co. with its iconic blue dial, for CHF 2.23m. In 2021, the same model went for around $6.5m. In 2022, another was sold for CHF 3.17m. 

The winner of the Rolex Milgauss was present in the auction house for the sale, beating the offer of a US-based investor. It is believed that the watch was bought on behalf of Rolex, but the company is yet to confirm these claims. 

The auctioning of exclusive designer watches at overseas auction houses allows high-net-worth individuals to bid on these luxury items from overseas. To do so, they will need access to safe international money transfer services.  

Auction houses are inclined to receive payments for higher valued items via digital payment platforms. It is common for buyers to transfer money overseas in order to purchase products from luxury brands such as Rolex. 

Tony Traina, an editor at Hodinkee, the US-based online watch magazine and retailer, stated that the result suggests that watch collectors are eager to pay record prices for rare, vintage Rolex timepieces in excellent condition. 

For HNWIs interested in buying luxury watches, our online money transfer tool can compare the different methods of transferring money overseas. 

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