1956 was a seminal year for both Karl Lagerfeld and Rolex. Mr Lagerfeld was a newbie at the famed Balmain fashion house and the luxury watchmaker was introducing its Oyster Perpetual Milgauss timepiece. And now, nearly 60 years later, Lagerfeld and Bamford Watch Department, the storied London customizer have collaborated to place both iconic names on a special edition timepiece. Designed in Bamford’s signature black matte finish, the limited edition Milgauss is available only at Lagerfeld concept boutiques in Paris and Munich.
The Rolex Oyster Case, synonymous with the brand name and sealed hermetically, has always been known to be waterproof and robust. The original Oyster 40mm Milgauss, however, was made with those working in power plants, medical facilities and researchers in mind, places where electromagnetic fields were known to wreak havoc with watches. Made to stand up to magnetic fields up to 1,000 gauss ( a unit of magnetic induction), with chronometric precision, the Milgauss is famed for being the watch of choice of the scientists working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).
A new generation Milgauss, brought forth in 2007, featured perpetual, magnetic self-winding. It was equipped with a hair-spring made from Parachrom-Blu, an anti-magnetic alloy and its movement is encased in a magnetic shield, all of which enhance its protective qualities.
Karl Lagerfeld, still going strong at 80, was anointed by Vogue as “unparalleled interpreter of the mood of the moment”. He has repeatedly redesigned his creations while redefining himself. He went on to become an icon in the world of fashion, serving as the creative director and lead designer of the Chanel label and the Italian fashion house Fendi, as well as a designer at Chloe. And last but not least, there is the eponymous Karl Lagerfeld label which he created “to channel his intellectual sexiness.”
In 2005, he sold his name brand, along with Lagerfeld Gallery to Tommy Hilfiger with the understanding that he would remain fully involved in design. 2011 saw his co-branding involvement with Macy’s to create a fashion collection in a different price range than he usually catered to. Lagerfeld also went on to design a line for the retailer H&M.
Now if you are in the market for the Karl-Lagerfeld X Bamford Watch Department Rolex Oyster Perpetual Milgauss timepiece, be careful not to get it mixed up with any of the Fossil watches Lagerfeld also licenses. The special edition has “Kaiser Karl’s” silhouette at the 7 o’clock position, just below his signature, and a miniature version of Lagerfeld cameo camouflage pattern runs across its entire face. And oh yes, it also bears a price tag of 19,000 euros, or $ 25,820 USD.