The Rolex Milgauss reference 116400 watches are modern classic. Sporty and historic, this popular Rolex timepiece today serves as the slightly avant-garde, casual-to-dress watch evoking good taste, a focus on performance, and of course, a high station in life to the owner who is wearing it. This review, however, is for something a little bit different. This is a Rolex Milgauss which has been fully engraved in America under the MadeWorn label – so, in a sense, this is a review of a customized Rolex Milgauss watch.
The fact that this timepiece is aftermarket-engraved immediately factionalizes watch lovers: on one side are those who see the modification of any Rolex as being sacrilegious, and on the other side are those who see this as a way of taking something extremely popular yet ordinary and making it a lot more exclusive and unique. You know what? They are both right.
Buying a customized Rolex does not come without risk, but there are also rewards. First, for the most part, you invalidate any remaining Rolex warranty (which isn’t the end of the world – especially on a watch that is already out of warranty), and you also greatly risk inhibiting future resale value. Of course, that latter element really depends on the customization. Most customized Rolex watches today fall into two camps. One is aftermarket diamond or jewelry setting (though, I always recommend factory stones from Rolex since they can’t be beaten), and the second is color or design changes to the Rolex case and dial. This is where something like a Bamford Watch Department or Project X Rolex limited edition watches comes in.
This MadeWorn customized Rolex Milgauss is different, making it among the less-common types of customized Rolex watches. Aftermarket watch case engraving is out there, but it is rare – and one of the major reasons for that is that there simply aren’t too many engravers who can do this type of work satisfactorily. If anyone knows this fact, it is MadeWorn founder Blaine Halvorson, who began the brand after selling his company JunkFood Clothing several years ago. Halvorson now runs MadeWorn out of its private studio and appointment-only retail space in West Hollywood – where, among other things, he continues to personally make shoes and clothing by hand.
While MadeWorn specializes in making new things look old, that obviously isn’t his tactic with watch customization. Instead, his tactic is to give these Rolex stainless steel case fake watches and other watches some “old character,” allowing them to exist in the world of high-quality tools men used to covet, such as their hunting equipment. There are lots of collectors out there who enjoy timepieces along with knives and guns – so this fits right into that mentality. In some ways, this MadeWorn-engraved Rolex Milgauss 116400 is Blaine’s vision of what the timepiece would look like if it was made 150 years ago.