Point/Counterpoint: The White Rolex Milgauss Is The Best Rolex Milgauss
And don’t let Danny tell you otherwise.
Today, two HODINKEE writers with very different opinions debate which Rolex Milgauss is the best Rolex Milgauss. In this article, Nick Marino argues that the Milgauss with the white dial is best. In his Counterpoint, Danny Milton argues on behalf of the version with the black dial. We invite you to read both pieces, and let us know your thoughts in the comments sections.
Danny Milton is one of my favorite people on Planet Earth. I’d trust him with my life. Hell, I’d trust him with Ben Clymer’s life. But I would not trust him to pick out a Rolex Milgauss, because he would choose the one with a black dial, which in my view is an unconscionable error in judgment.
Examine, if you will, these two watches.
The one on the left, with its tasteful creamsicle coloration, has balance. It has a point of view. It looks considered.
The one on the right, a confusion of black and orange, looks like someone had too much Jagermeister at the Rolex company Halloween party.
Is this a jack-o-lantern LE? Am I being tricked?
Listen, I’m all for wild Rolex designs. Bring on the palm fronds! But black and orange, in these proportions, are not a winning combination. Just ask the Baltimore Orioles, who wore this color scheme all season on their way to losing 110 games this year and being the worst team in baseball. Or check in with the Cincinnati Bengals, who have not won a playoff series since 1990. Or the Philadelphia Flyers, who haven’t hoisted the Stanley Cup since 1974.
The lighter Milgauss has the same colors, it’s true. But it has them in the proper ratio. The neutral color dominates the canvas, with the brighter hue as the accent, and the black as a border. Simple. Restrained. And yet still plenty exciting. When the seconds hand is a lightning bolt, you don’t have to do a whole lot else.
I love a white dial, pretty much across the board. I stan the “White Side Of The Moon” Omega Speedmaster and the polar Rolex Explorer II, a pair of milky dials that, in my view, surpass their blackened counterparts. White-dial watches are underrated in the same way vanilla ice cream is. With so many sexier choices in the world, they’re easy to overlook – and when the white Milgauss came out, many people did! Perhaps as a result, in less than a decade the unloved watch was remorselessly discontinued, eliminated from the horological Squid Game. The black-dial variant has soldiered on to the present day, joined by a blue one, both of which now have green crystals that, to my eye, look like melted-down Heineken bottles.
The black one then, astoundingly, goes a step further and throws silver into the mix. Get a load of those hour markers: Nine of them are filled with white and three are filled with orange, yet somehow it’s a different orange from the one on the seconds hand and the minutes. The former are tangerine, and the latter are apricot. The whole thing is an assault on innocent fruit.
I’ll take the white watch, thanks. The one where the hour markers look like peach chiclets. The one that works on a steel bracelet or a fabric strap – in fact, it may look even better on a strap.
Check out the way Ryan Fitzgerald (speaking of ice cream) wears his white Milgauss, alternating between a couple of different straps: One’s a happy rainbow, and the other’s a comic-book print. Both look awesome. I could imagine the same watch working with a khaki NATO. Or a black-and-white racing stripe. Or this handsome strap that resembles a fresh Spalding basketball.
The point is that you have choices. And for a watch like this, versatility matters. If it were a starry-dialed Lange dress watch, then fine – wear it only to black-tie galas (and trips to the planetarium). This is something else, a watch that can be worn pretty much daily. A half-century ago, it was meant as an anti-magnetic tool for scientists. That’s nice. But unless you’re the type of person who walks around all day in a magnetic field, you’re not wearing it for that. You’re wearing it for looks, which is why this dial argument actually matters – or at least matters as much as any friendly internet tussle over a luxury watch.
Thousands of your very own dollars may be on the line here, so you might as well get the decision right. My advice, as a person who does not know you and will likely never meet you, is to trust my taste over Danny’s and get the white one. Now that it’s out of production, it’s only getting more collectible. Some collectors, who are technically correct but morally wrong, will argue that the black and orange (and green and silver) one has become the classic model, the standard upon which future Milgausses (Milgaui?) will be based, and they will steer you away from the white one. Good. Every time they do that, it means one more available for the rest of us.
Photos by Brian Woodcock