Little of the Rolex Milgauss 116400’s original finishing is visible through the rich gun-art style engraving all over the case and bracelet on this MadeWorn-customized model. Each MadeWorn watch has a unique engraving, as the particular decorative design is imagined by the engraver while they spend the week or so required to engrave each case. What MadeWorn logically does is, first, disassemble the watch into its respective case and bracelet parts. The engraver then decorates the individual parts and the watch is put back together again. Let me once again remind you that Rolex uses the very tough 904L alloy of steel which is particularly difficult to cut. Most engraved things are done in softer metals such as brass or gold, so the fact that you get this level of detail in a harder steel case is a testament to the work.
Blaine probably won’t share examples of “rejected” engraved watches, but there are a number of them. In fact, according to him, most of the engravers he works with (even those who claim they can engrave watch cases) aren’t able to offer results which are satisfactory to him. What the public sees is only the best, and they don’t know about the several months of back and forth it took to get just one case done right. Knowing all of this, as well as the actual time it took from when a master engraver starts work on it, the retail price of this watch looks a lot more like a bargain, even though this is clearly a luxury timepiece.
What I like the most about MadeWorn’s customized Rolex and other watches is how no two of them that I have seen are the same. It begins with a watch that MadeWorn decides is worth engraving, and then the process with the engraver begins. This is truly a combined and highly curated effort, which can nevertheless be difficult to understand when looked at from the outside. That means each of the timepieces that go through the process is special, and this isn’t something that can be mass produced.
I can’t see Rolex being nearly as upset with stuff like this as they are with other customized Rolex watches that have different dials or case colors. Yes, this is a highly personalized product, but at its heart, it is still the same Rolex watch that fans know and love. It just happens to be one that has “tattoos all over it.” Blaine happens to be covered in tattoos as well, and when you glance at him, and then the watch, and then at him again – the entire thing starts to make sense.
MadeWorn as a brand is still emerging. Their space in LA doesn’t have a sign or address. It doesn’t even have a door bell – and that is the way Blaine likes it. With that said, the utter attention to detail in all of their stuff has earned them constant work from a number of celebrities and movie studios, as well as other projects. MadeWorn does everything from making custom costumes for big-budget movies to art installations at New York Fashion Week. Blaine Halvorson is a force to be reckoned with, and this is a brand that should be on the radar of anyone keen on emerging fashion trends. Is that all relevant to the watches? I would say yes, and the reason is that MadeWorn isn’t just adding some decoration to a Rolex watch, but the watches now benefit from the strength of two important (albeit utterly different) brands that, when combined together, truly do result in something fresh. Price for this MadeWorn-engraved Rolex Milgauss 116400 watch is $16,000. rolex.com・madeworn.com
>Brand: Rolex customized by MadeWorn
>Model: Milgauss 116400
>Size: 40mm wide
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: People who love the allure of a Rolex but want the added personality of a hand-engraved case.
>Best characteristic of watch: Beautiful engraving and overall presentation is fantastic for fans of this decorative style.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Arguably removes the re-sale value of the watch but at the same time offers a lot of new inherent value. Not a design style for everyone, but it isn’t meant to be.