Guide to the Rolex Submariner Smurf

Rolex Submariner Smurf 116619LB

Time and again, very passionate Rolex collectors have assigned charming, and often quirky nicknames to certain Rolex models. From the iconic Rolex Submariner collection alone, we have the James Bond, Bart Simpson, Kermit, and Hulk.

In 2008, the then new reference 116619LB joined the Submariner family, and quickly acquired its now famous moniker, the “Smurf”. Here’s a closer look at the stunning blue Submariner with a peculiar nickname.


Introducing the Rolex Submariner ref 116619LB

The year 2008 was very special for Rolex. It marked both the 55th anniversary of the Rolex Submariner collection, as well as the 100th anniversary of Rolex as a brand.

To celebrate the occasion, Rolex introduced not one, but three new Rolex Submariner models in solid gold – the ref 116618 LB in 18k yellow gold with a blue dial and bezel, the 116618 LN in 18k yellow gold with a black dial and bezel, and finally the first ever Rolex Submariner in 18k white gold, ref 116619LB.

Rolex Submariner Smurf Blue Dial Bezel ref 116619LB

Rolex Submariner Smurf Blue Dial Bezel ref 116619LB

These models were equipped with modern features that were introduced years prior: the “Super Case” with wider lugs and larger crown guards previously seen in the Rolex GMT-Master II, and the “Maxi Case” with larger hands and markers first seen on the Rolex Kermit.

The ref 116619LB stood out for its unique qualities: a solid 18k white gold case – a first in the Rolex Submariner’s history – and a stunning lacquered blue dial and bezel. While blue has previously been used in Rolex Submariner models, this combination was totally new to the collection.


Why Smurf?

It set the watch community abuzz upon launch, and someone somewhere was reminded of the popular cartoon, The Smurfs. While completely unofficial, as with all Rolex nicknames set by collectors, the nickname stuck and the ref 116619LB is still known as “Smurf” to this day, joining the ranks of the Kermit and later joined by the Hulk.

Rolex Submariner Smurf Blue Dial Bezel ref 116619LB

Rolex Submariner Smurf Blue Dial Bezel ref 116619LB

Rolex Smurf Dial and Bezel

Aside from the stunning shade of blue used on the Rolex Smurf, what sets it apart from other blue colored Rolex watches is the finish of the dial. The lacquered blue treatment gives of a “wet” look that is a fitting homage to the diving history of the Submariner.

Rolex Submariner Smurf Blue Dial Bezel ref 116619LB

Rolex Submariner Smurf Blue Dial Bezel ref 116619LB

Its matching blue Cerachrom bezel was also a novelty upon launch. While the Cerachrom, Rolex’s patented scratch- and fade-proof ceramic bezel insert, was introduced in 2005, its first appearance was with the Rolex Smurf. Adding an even more luxurious touch are the platinum coated numerals on the unidirectional bezel.

Rolex Smurf Case and Bracelet

While white gold often mimics the look of stainless steel, the Rolex Smurf’s finish had a unique quality to it. In the early 2000s, Rolex began creating their own gold alloys in their in-house foundry, and the particular white gold used for the Rolex Smurf had an almost grayish quality to it. Upon wearing it, its added weight is also palpable.

Rolex Submariner Smurf Blue Dial Bezel ref 116619LB

Rolex Submariner Smurf Blue Dial Bezel ref 116619LB

It also features an 18k white gold Oyster bracelet with solid end links, further adding heft to the timepiece. The Glidelock extension clasp, while common in today’s Rolex sport watches, also made an inaugural appearance on the Smurf. It allows for a 5mm adjustment of the bracelet without the use of tools. Rolex being Rolex, they spared no detail – the bracelet comes in dual satin and high-polish finish that really spells “high-end”.


Movement and Water Resistance

Even with all the aesthetic updates, the Rolex Smurf maintained the 300m water resistance from the same generation of Rolex Submariner models. Inside, it is also powered by the same 31-jewel Rolex Caliber 3135 movement found in its contemporaries. The Caliber 3135 was the go-to date movement of Rolex for many years. It is fitted with the brand’s patented Bleu Parachrom Hairspring which is lauded for its antimagnetic and shock- and temperature-resistant qualities.


From Rolex Smurf to Rolex Cookie Monster

The Rolex Smurf had a good run from 2008 until 2020, when Rolex discontinued the 40mm Submariner case. Rolex made one of the biggest changes to the Submariner in its half-century history by increasing the case by 1mm. The refreshed collection brought back colorways in previous generations, this time in a wider but more svelte case silhouette.

This new generation of Rolex Submariner also brought out a new white gold model – the Submariner Date 126619LB. Just like the Rolex Smurf, it features a bright blue Cerachrom bezel insert, but replaces the lacquered blue dial with a glossy black dial.

Rolex Submariner Smurf Blue Dial Bezel ref 116619LB

Rolex Submariner Blue Bezel Black Dial “Cookie Monster” ref 126619LB

The movement was also updated from the Caliber 3135 to the new generation Caliber 3235 which offers longer 70-hour power reserve and accuracy of +2/-2 seconds per day.

Collectors have begun calling the new white gold edition as the “Cookie Monster”, referring to the bright blue fur and large black mouth of the famous Sesame Street puppet.


What’s next for the Rolex Smurf?

While Rolex closely guards the number of Rolex Smurfs ever produced, it’s certainly one of the more rare Rolex Submariners – it’s very seldom you’ll see one in the wild. Now that it’s discontinued, it has become even more coveted by collectors, with its value increasing over the recommended retail price during its production run.

The Rolex Submariner Smurf holds a special place in the collection’s history. With its luxurious finish, modern technology, and bold colorway, it represents move of dive watches from tool watches to luxury symbols.

Rolex GMT-Master II Watches with Jubilee Bracelets

Toll-free US and Canada Only:
Outside US:

Customer service:

Swiss Watch Expo
315 East Paces Ferry Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30305

M - F 10 AM to 6 PM EST
Saturdays 10 AM to 5 PM EST