We’ve never reviewed a Rolex ‘Smurf’ Submariner before. It’s wasn’t a significant watch of sorts when it was released in 2008. Rumors are swirling it could receive a few updates soon. Will we finally get a ‘Smurf’ in steel?
Will it be this year? Or will we have to wait until Baselworld 2021 to find out?
Baselworld was canceled this year due to COVID-19, which left the industry wondering if brands would still reveal new products. That question was answered when Rolex and Patek Philippe confirmed they’re delaying new releases until further notice.
While things are up in the air, let’s look at the origins of the Rolex ‘Smurf.’
History of the Rolex ‘Smurf’ Submariner (Ref. 116619)
The Rolex Submariner Ref. 116619 was introduced at Baselworld 2008. The blazing blue hue quickly earned the ‘Smurf’ nickname; as in the blue cartoon characters from the ’80’s.
Submariners had seen a lot of prior success, especially the Rolex Kermit that released a few years earlier. Although it brought initial pushback, eat Kermit went on to become a major collector’s piece.
You’d think the Rolex Smurf– the only Submariner ever offered in white gold– would also be a coveted model. It surprisingly never garnered that much attention, although it’s a sharp looking watch.
Rolex ‘Smurf’ Submariner Details
The ‘blue on blue’ dial and bezel was a change from the traditional blue dials Rolex had released. Instead of a sunburst dial, the Rolex Smurf showcases a solid, lacquered blue dial with a matching blue bezel.
The almost ‘wet’ blue look pays homage to the Submariner’s diving watch roots.
Also worth noting, the Rolex Smurf dial is known as a “Maxi Dial.” It features larger luminous markers and wider hands.
This was one of the first models to feature a Cerachrom ceramic bezel. Of course Rolex crafted their own ceramic alloy, calling it ‘cerachrom.’ It’s a combination of the words ceramic and “chrom” (the Greek word for color).
Cerachrom ceramic is scratch-proof, water-resistant, and virtually indestructible. Perfect for a daily wear sports watch!
The unidirectional rotatable bezel has always been a key feature of the diver watch. The engraved 60-minute graduations allow a diver to accurately and safely monitor diving time and decompression stops.
Case and Bracelet
Rolex went out on a limb with this release. The Rolex ‘Smurf’ looks like a typical steel tool watch, but the bracelet and 40mm Oyster case are actually made of 18 karat white gold. It’s the only Submariner to ever be offered (so far) in white gold.
Why is white gold on a Submariner such a big deal? A Submariner has always been one of the more affordable Rolex models. It’s considered an introductory watch for most collectors.
The white gold addition significantly increased the price tag. The ‘Smurf’ was immediately elevated into an elite class. One it’d never been a part of before. Also, gold just isn’t a metal you’d expect to see on a tool watch.
The Smurf’s release featured another Rolex first. A new Glidelock clasp allowed the bracelet length to be extended up to 5 mm without any additional tools.
Oyster, 40 mm, white gold
Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Rolex Glidelock extension system
Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding
Unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated, scratch-resistant Cerachrom insert in ceramic, numerals and graduations coated in platinum
Blue, Highly legible Chromalight display with long-lasting blue luminescence
Scratch-resistant sapphire, Cyclops lens over the date
Waterproof to 300 metres / 1,000 feet
Oyster, flat, three-piece links, 18 ct white gold
The Rolex quality and craftsmanship are definitely noticeable when you put a Smurf on your wrist. The weight and feel of this watch definitely leaves an impression.
The icy blue and white gold combination is sure to turn heads as well. We like the unique combo. It’s not one that Rolex has replicated a lot, but it seems to work.
The Rolex Smurf hasn’t increased in value as quickly as some of the other Submariners have, but it’s still worth a look.
Especially with rumors it could get a few updates soon.
If you are interested in purchasing your own Rolex Submariner, give us a call or fill out our contact form. Check out our Facebook page for box openings and watch reviews by our in-house watch expert Sergio Nuncio!
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