The Rolex Submariner Date Ref 116619LB, known as the “Smurf,” is notable for its distinct blue color, reminiscent of the iconic cartoon character. Launched in 2008 to mark Rolex’s 100th year and the Submariner’s 55th anniversary, it represents a significant evolution in the Submariner series, crafted in luxurious 18k white gold.
The Rolex Smurf’s introduction was a balance of respecting tradition and embracing the future. It set a new standard with its white gold composition and Cerachrom bezel, showcasing Rolex watches’ dedication to pioneering design and excellence.
Design and Features
Material and Build
The Rolex Submariner ref. 116619 is a masterclass in material innovation, crafted entirely from 18 karat “Grey Gold.” . This alloy, unique to Rolex, boasts a darker hue that sharply contrasts with traditional steel versions, offering a refined and sophisticated appearance. Its durability is unparalleled, negating the need for re-plating even after years of wear, maintaining its lustrous finish.
The heft and feel of the Submariner 116619 in Grey Gold are immediately noticeable, embodying the essence of premium quality. This material choice not only adds a significant weight that underscores its luxury status but also enhances the overall tactile experience. The moment it graces the wrist, its exceptional quality and value are unmistakably felt, distinguishing it in the realm of high-end sports watches.
Forged in Rolex’s own foundry, this all-gold finish uses only the finest precious metals, ensuring consistency and resilience. This commitment to quality results in a watch that not only looks exceptional but also withstands the test of time. The Grey Gold’s enduring finish with darker appearance, resistant to scratches and wear, signifies Rolex’s dedication to creating watches from just the precious metal that are as durable as they are elegant.
Bezel and Dial
The Rolex Smurf’s bezel is a standout feature, showcasing an all-blue Cerachrom unidirectional rotatable bezel design. This innovative material is renowned for its scratch and corrosion resistance, marking a significant upgrade from the older, more vulnerable aluminum bezels. The full Cerachrom blue bezel is a unique characteristic in Rolex’s collections, enhancing both the aesthetic and functional aspects of the watch.
At the heart of the Smurf’s design lies its distinctive unique lacquered blue dial, offering an exceptional sheen that shifts with the light.
- This unique precious metals finish not only adds a visual depth but also enhances legibility under different lighting conditions.
- The dial’s dynamic appearance, ranging from a flat matte to a lustrous wet look, caters to the diverse tastes of Rolex enthusiasts.
Completing the Rolex Smurf dial face is the “Maxi Dial,” characterized by its larger indices and broader hands, making the Smurf feel more substantial on the wrist compared to previous Submariner models. This dial design, which first submariner appeared on the Rolex Kermit, is elevated in the Smurf by the special lacquered finish, offering a nod to the Submariner’s nautical heritage while presenting a striking and modern appearance.
Case and Size
The Rolex Smurf’s “Super Case” design, with its pronounced thicker lugs and larger crown guards, redefines the classic watch silhouette. This contemporary styling lends the watch a more robust and modern appearance, enhancing its presence on the wrist. The Super Case is a testament to Rolex’s ability to blend traditional elegance with modern boldness.
- Despite maintaining the traditional 40mm Oyster case size, the Smurf feels substantially larger due to its 48mm lug-to-lug measurement.
- This expanded dimension, a hallmark of the “Super Case” design, gives the watch a commanding presence, appealing to those who favor a more assertive and contemporary look.
The combination of white gold case, solid end links, and the broad lugs contribute to the Smurf’s impressive stature. This construction not only adds to the watch’s visual appeal but also provides a satisfying heft, making it a standout piece in both aesthetics and feel on the wrist.
Bracelet and Clasp
The Rolex Smurf’s bracelet is a fine example of craftsmanship, featuring solid end outer links that seamlessly integrate with the watch case. The addition of the updated newer Glidelock clasp, a significant improvement, allows for effortless size adjustment without the need for tools. This feature enhances the watch’s functionality and wearability, catering to the comfort of the wearer.
Each link of the white gold Oyster bracelet, exhibits a refined dual-tone finish, alternating between satin and high polish. This luxurious aspect not only elevates the watch’s visual appeal but also imparts a sense of premium heft on the wrist, reflecting its superior quality.
A standout feature of the Rolex Smurf is the Glidelock white gold clasp, a recent addition that exemplifies Rolex’s dedication to functionality and elegance. This clasp permits up to 5mm of bracelet length adjustment, ensuring an ideal fit for diverse wrist sizes. It’s a testament to Rolex’s focus on delivering both comfort and style in their timepieces.
Movement and Functionality
The Rolex Smurf is powered by Rolex’s venerable Calibre 3135, a movement that stands as a testament to the brand’s commitment to reliability and precision. As a COSC-certified chronometer, it exemplifies the highest standards of accuracy. This movement has been a cornerstone in Rolex’s lineup, renowned for its steadfast performance and durability.
Central to the Calibre 3135’s prowess is the blue Parachrom hairspring, a Rolex innovation. This component enhances the movement’s resistance to magnetic fields, shocks, and temperature variations, ensuring the watch’s impeccable functionality under various conditions. The incorporation of the Parachrom hairspring is a nod to Rolex’s pursuit of technical excellence in watchmaking.
The Rolex Calibre 3135 is not only reliable but also practical, offering a 48-hour power reserve and a quick-change date feature. This movement has been a mainstay in the Submariner collection, celebrated for its enduring performance.
The Rolex Smurf holds a special place in horological history, having been introduced in 2008, coinciding with Rolex’s centennial celebrations. This timing is more than symbolic; it represents a milestone in Rolex’s storied legacy of watchmaking innovation and excellence. The Smurf, as a commemorative piece, encapsulates the spirit of a century’s worth of craftsmanship and design prowess.
Standing out as the first and only white gold submariner in the lineage, the Smurf is renowned for being the inaugural model crafted entirely in solid 18k white gold. This distinction sets it apart not just within the Submariner series but also in the broader realm of luxury watches. The choice of white gold, particularly Rolex’s unique “Grey Gold,” lends the Smurf an air of understated elegance and exclusivity, aligning perfectly with the brand’s ethos of sophisticated luxury.
A striking feature of the Rolex Smurf is its luminous quality, with both hands and markers that glow a serene blue in the dark. This functionality is not only practical for visibility in low-light conditions but also aesthetically pleasing, harmoniously complementing the watch’s blue-themed design. The luminosity adds a layer of allure to the watch, enhancing its appeal both as a tool and a piece of art.
Market and Collectibility
The Rolex Smurf, with its initial retail price slightly higher than other Submariner models, positioned itself as a premium offering in the market.
- As of September 2021, the retail price for a new piece stood at approximately S$52,900.
- On the secondary market, it held a strong position with a pre-owned price estimate of around S$48,919, reflecting its enduring appeal among watch enthusiasts.
In 2020, Rolex discontinued the Smurf and replaced it with the new reference 126619, often referred to as the ‘Cookie Monster’.
- The newer model, as of September 2023, retails at about S$58,600, with its pre-owned market price estimated at S$50,067.
- This transition in models highlights the evolving market dynamics and Rolex’s continuous innovation in design and functionality.
While the Rolex Smurf is celebrated for its stable value in the secondary market, it’s not necessarily categorized as a highly collectible item.
- This is attributed to its lengthy production run and the absence of distinct attributes that typically drive collectibility in other Rolex models.
Nevertheless, the Smurf has experienced a recent increase in value, likely due to a growing recognition of its unique offerings. Prospective buyers are advised to consider not only the watch’s allure and market presence but also its distinctive features, such as its “Grey Gold” material and blue theme, when evaluating its potential as an investment.
Comparison with Other Models
When considering the Rolex Smurf in relation to other luxury sport watches, some collectors may compare it to Panerai models. However, the Smurf’s market dynamics differ significantly from Panerai’s. The Smurf’s value and demand are influenced by its niche status within the Rolex Submariner collection, while Panerai watches often stand out due to their unique design language and aesthetic.
Among the Rolex Submariner collection, this white gold submariner has gained a reputation for its distinctive blue dial and bezel, earning it the nickname “Smurf.” Here’s a brief comparison of the Smurf with two other popular Rolex Submariner models:
- Rolex Submariner Hulk (116610LV): Stainless steel case and bracelet, green dial, green bezel Cerachrom ceramic.
- Rolex Submariner Kermit (16610LV): Stainless steel case and bracelet, black dial, green aluminum bezel.
- Rolex Submariner Bluesy (126618LB): Yellow gold case and bracelet, blue dials, blue bezel
The Smurf’s market performance continues to solidify its status as a desirable timepiece. It appeals to both seasoned Rolex collectors and new enthusiasts entering the world of luxury watches. The watch’s bold design, featuring a Maxi Dial with larger luminous markers and wider hands, and it’s blue Cerachrom bezel, make it stand out in the Rolex Submariner family.
The Rolex Smurf’s market performance continues to solidify its status as a desirable timepiece. It appeals to both seasoned Rolex collectors and new enthusiasts entering the world of luxury watches. The watch’s bold design, featuring a Maxi Dial with larger luminous markers and wider hands, unidirectional bezel, and its blue Cerachrom bezel, make it stand out in the Rolex Submariner line family.
- The Rolex Smurf is unique for its white gold composition and iconic blue theme.
- It maintains strong value retention and appeal in the luxury watch market.
- Its discontinuation has heightened its collectibility and allure among enthusiasts.
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