Rolex is home to some of the most coveted timepieces in the world. It has a drool-worthy catalogue consisting of famous and diverse luxury pieces, such as the Rolex Batman and Rolex Pepsi, that every watch enthusiast and aficionado dreams of owning someday.
One of the brand’s most emblematic watches is the Rolex Smurf, which hails from its iconic Submariner collection. Like its peers in the Submariner collection, the Rolex Smurf is a sturdily-built, luxurious dive watch. Indeed, having been in production for over ten years now, the Rolex Smurf remains one of Rolex’s most sought-after timepieces ever made. Stylish, sleek, and robust, in this article we will be taking an in-depth look at the Rolex Smurf and the reasons behind its enduring popularity
Rolex Watches and Nicknames
If you are new to the watchmaking world, you may not know about the habit some watch fans have of giving their favourite timepieces iconic nicknames. Oftentimes, when fans truly love a watch, they will give it a certain moniker based on its design, color, or structure. Some examples include Seiko’s dive watches, with popular examples like the Seiko Tuna or the Seiko Samurai.
Rolex watches, too, are known for their witty labels which are used by the watch community more frequently than the actual names of these timepieces. For instance, many people have probably heard about watches such as the Rolex Coke or Rolex Hulk. In fact, you can probably take a guess as to the aesthetic and colorway of these watches just off their names.
The Rolex Smurf is another one of these cleverly nicknamed Rolex watches. The reason behind this nickname should be pretty obvious, especially if you are familiar with the popular animated characters called The Smurfs. They are fictional creatures with bright blue skin that resembles the royal blue colorway of the Rolex Submariner Ref. 116619LB, hence the Rolex Smurf’s catchy nickname.
All About The Rolex Smurf
The Rolex Ref. 116619LB, which is more popularly referred to as the Rolex Smurf, came out in 2008. It was released in celebration of the brand’s 100th anniversary and the 55th anniversary of the iconic Rolex Submariner collection. The Rolex Smurf immediately caught the attention of watch collectors around the world, as it was the first Submariner watch to be made solely out of precious white gold metal.
With that said, let us delve deeper into the Rolex Smurf to find out everything else it has to offer.
Case and Bezel
Right off the bat, the most notable thing about the Rolex Smurf is its solid, 18-carat white gold case that simply exudes the utmost luxury. It has a diameter of around 400mm and a lug width of 20mm. These are rather standard measurements, allowing the Rolex Smurf to fit quite nicely on wrists of all sizes.
One of the main reasons behind the exceptional popularity of the Rolex Smurf is its unique coating. In most cases, white gold watches tend to showcase a shiny and extremely bright sheen that draws the eye. For the Rolex Smurf, however, the brand opted to apply a slightly duller, greyer brushed finish. This unusual finish allows the Rolex Smurf to truly stand out against other white gold watches.
On the top of the Rolex Smurf’s watch case, you can find the brand’s signature elapsed time scale bezel. Fitted with a deep blue Cerachrom insert, this bezel is marked with 60-minute graduations and can rotate in one direction, clockwise only. This bezel also comes with 120 clean clicks, with virtually no backplay, so you do not have to worry about jostling the bezel and losing track of your elapsed time underwater.
Enclosed within the bezel is a layer of sapphire crystal, which is the strongest watch crystal available on the market. Tough and extremely resistant against scratches, this watch crystal is perfect for those who value durability in a watch.
The Rolex Smurf is paired with a gorgeous Oyster bracelet that is also made out of luxurious 18-carat white gold. With its classic three-link design, this Oyster bracelet is one of Rolex’s trademark creations, perfectly fusing durability and comfort. Like the watch case, this bracelet is embellished with a sleek brushed finish. It is also equipped with an Oysterlock clasp, which keeps the bracelet firmly fastened on your wrist. The Oysterlock clasp is engraved with the brand’s iconic crown logo, adding an air of refinement to this timepiece.
As with most Rolex Submariner timepieces, the dial is the star of the show. The Rolex Smurf showcases a captivating shade of blue that is truly unique to this model and is the source of the watch’s nickname.
This dial also boasts a classic, easy-to-read Submariner layout. It comprises thick hour markers in various geometric shapes, signature Rolex Mercedes hands, and a date window at 3 o’clock that is magnified by a special cyclops lens. The hands and indices of this watch are generously coated with Super-LumiNova. This causes the watch face to light up in a bright, neon blue hue when viewed in the dark, allowing for optimal legibility at all times.
Movement and Other Features
People often tend to focus a little too much on the exteriors of Rolex Submariner watches, due to their admittedly vibrant and luxurious designs. However, just like every other model in Rolex’s catalogue, the inner mechanisms of the Rolex Smurf are certainly worthy of discussion too.
The Rolex Smurf is equipped with a well-crafted in-house Rolex Caliber 3135. This is a COSC-certified automatic movement that possesses an impressive power reserve of 50 hours. It boasts top-notch time-telling precision, with an accuracy rate of +/-2 seconds per day. Finally, this movement also offers an excellent 300-meter depth rating, making it truly reliable both in and out of the water.
It is no secret that Rolex watches are some of the most valuable timepieces to ever exist. While the Rolex Smurf is not the most exorbitant Rolex model out there, it is still highly coveted, especially since it is no longer in production today.
The current estimated value of the Rolex Smurf is around $63,500 USD, which is a very hefty price indeed. You can also expect the value of the Rolex Smurf to appreciate in the next years, due to its prestigious Rolex branding and its status rare timepiece that is no longer in production.
Rolex Smurf: Selling Points
Now that we know more about the Rolex Smurf, let us consider a few main reasons why you should definitely consider adding this watch to your collection.
- Valuable. The Rolex Smurf is an expensive model that makes for a great investment piece. Even though it has been more than a decade since the Rolex Smurf was launched, its popularity only continues to grow throughout the years. As such, it is an incredibly valuable, highly-coveted watch with a resale value that will only appreciate in the future.
- Renown. Another reason why the Rolex Smurf is worth your time is that it is a well-established model in the watchmaking scene. If you are trying to make your collection more credible or impressive, adding this renowned timepiece to your assortment will surely garner rave compliments from fellow enthusiasts.
- Symbolic. This last point is directed to all the watch connoisseurs and enthusiasts who value the essence and the story of a timepiece above all. Released in celebration of Rolex’s 100th anniversary, the Rolex Smurf possesses great symbolic value as it was a tribute to the brand’s storied past and to what it can offer moving forward. The fact that it incorporated new materials and design elements while simultaneously celebrating the historical value of Rolex as a brand showcases how the Rolex Smurf represents everything that Rolex is all about.
Alternatives to the Rolex Smurf
If you are having trouble getting your hands on the Rolex Smurf, below are some alternative models you can opt for instead.
1. Rolex Submariner Ref. 116618LB
First up, we have the Rolex Submariner Ref. 116618LB. Arguably on the same level as the Rolex Smurf when it comes to popularity, this Rolex timepiece showcases a very similar design to the Smurf, albeit with a different colorway and a slightly different vibe. This is a highly sought-after timepiece that would surely make any watch collector drool.
The Rolex Submariner Ref. 116618LB is presented in a 40mm case made of 18-carat yellow gold, coupled with an Oyster bracelet made of the same material. Its gleaming, all-gold exterior gives off a flashier, more lavish feel that will draw the eyes of all who see it. Like the Rolex Smurf, this model also comes with a rotating elapsed time scale bezel that bears a royal blue Cerachrom insert.
The dial of this watch, on the other hand, is a little different than the Rolex Smurf. Unlike the Smurf’s matte blue dial, this Rolex timepiece instead showcases a blue dial with a gorgeous, metallic sunray finish. This adds to the higher-end, classy look of this watch. The dial is also furnished with geometric hour markers, Mercedes hands, and a magnified date display at 3 o’clock.
As with the Rolex Smurf, this timepiece is driven by an in-house Rolex Caliber 3135. Held together by 31 jewels, this COSC-certified automatic movement offers an accuracy rate of +/-2 seconds per day. It can last up to 50 hours when fully wound. This timepiece also has an excellent depth rating of 300 meters, befitting its status as a Rolex Submariner watch.
Given all its impressive and extravagant characteristics, the Rolex Submariner Ref. 116618LB’s price tag of $39,995 USD is not surprising at all.
2. Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5740/1G-001
Next up, we have the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5740/1G-001. This watch has a rather different design compared to the Rolex Smurf. Nevertheless, it shows off the same prestige and exclusivity as the Smurf, thanks to its similar colorway and use of luxurious materials. This watch serves as the ideal alternative for those seeking a blue-dial watch at the peak of luxury.
This Patek Philippe watch comes in a 40mm cushion-shaped case and bracelet, both of which are made from 18-carat white gold. It showcases a matte blue dial with a horizontal teak pattern that adds to the sophisticated look of this watch. It also consists of white gold applique hour markers and blunt watch hands. Three unusual sub-dials are dotted around the dial. At 3 o’clock, you can find a quarter-month counter, while a day-of-the-week dial is placed at 9 o’clock. Located at 6 o’clock is a day-of-the-month dial, which also contains a lovely, starry moon phase indicator.
A Patek Philippe Calibre 240 Q powers this watch. This is an automatic movement with a standard 48-hour power supply. The only downside to this watch, arguably, is the fact that it only has a water resistance capacity of 60 meters. While this is enough to survive any accidental splashes or showers, you will not be able to use this Patek Philippe Nautilus watch for any deepwater activities.
Be prepared to shell out at least $449,000 USD to get your hands on the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5740/1G-001.
3. Seiko 5 Sports Ref. SBSA043
The Seiko 5 Sports Ref. SBSA043, on the other hand, serves as a more affordable alternative to the Rolex Smurf. It does not have the same luxurious feel as the previous models. Instead, this Seiko watch offers a more simple and more sporty aesthetic. It is perfect for those who want something similar to the Rolex Smurf without having to break the bank.
This Seiko 5 Sports watch utilizes a 40mm stainless steel case and a matching three-link stainless steel bracelet. Affixed to the top of the watch case is a steel bezel, which guards the watch’s face against any impacts or scratches. Enclosed within this bezel is a layer of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.
Through the watch’s sapphire crystal, you can get a clear view of the watch’s striking blue dial. It comes in a beautiful shade of sunray blue and is adorned with geometric hour markers, large syringe hands, and a day-date complication at 3 o’clock.
Flipping the watch over, you will find a transparent caseback that is also made of stainless steel. This caseback gives you a glimpse of the Seiko Caliber 4R36 that runs inside. This Japanese automatic movement offers a decent power reserve of 40 hours. On top of that, the Seiko SBSA043 is also water-resistant up to depths of 100 meters, making it suitable for most water activities.
The Seiko SBSA043 costs approximately $490 USD.
The Rolex Smurf is a gorgeous diving watch that really stands out among the rest. It comes in a mesmerizing shade of blue that perfectly complements its clever nickname. On top of that, it is also equipped with state-of-the-art functions and features that are powered by a well-crafted movement. While it is a little disappointing that the Rolex Smurf is no longer in production today, the guarantee of its constantly appreciating value makes this a great watch to add to your collection.
Photo Credits: Watchshopping Site
Interested in diving watches? Check out this piece on the Orient Mako II!
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