Why is it that so many blue watches seem to automatically get the nickname Smurf? Could it be that the people who can afford expensive watches today once wasted their Saturday mornings in the 1980s viewing cartoons about a village of blue gnomes? The answer is probably yes, but maybe reference numbers are not the only thing that is important to people in this hobby. We like to have fun by giving our watches silly, but memorable names.
With that said, I want to discuss a small subset of brilliant blue watches from Victorinox Swiss Army that I have nicknamed “Summit Smurfs”. These are part of the Summit XLT line that Swiss Army produced for in the mid-2000s. I hope that I do a Smurfy job explaining why I like them.
Smurfing Around with Watch Nicknames
Watch collectors have been making cute nicknames for their timepieces since watch collecting culture started. Many watches are more often known by their famous nicknames and not necessarily the confusing internal reference numbers. Those nicknames are not the ones that the manufacturers use, but everyone else does. Nicknames simplify the discussion of watches and the best ones describe the watch so well that it could not be anything else. Surely you have heard of a Turtle, a Tuna, a Samurai, a Hulk, a Kermit and so forth. Try to recall each of those watch’s model numbers and you might come up short (except for the nerdiest of you!)
The Rolex Smurf is already a well-known nickname for the brilliant blue Rolex Submariner 116619. For our Victorinox Swiss Army Smurfs, I modified the moniker slightly to “Summit Smurfs”. I am a sucker for catchy nicknames and the best ones stick for a reason. This one has alliteration and rolls off of the tongue. I’ll admit that borrowing the Smurf nickname is what my professor-wife would call plagiarism, but maybe it is the highest form of flattery. Or, maybe I thought that it would certainly be more catchy than some of the other blue names that I brainstormed such as sky blue, blueberry or avatar XLTs.
At least I am admitting my lack of creativity. In a way, using Smurf in the nickname tells watch collectors that the watch will likely have a blue dial and a blue bezel like the famous Rolex. The Victorinox Swiss ArmySummit XLT watches in this article certainly fit that description. Today, I want to introduce a few previously unknown Smurfs that were seldom seen in the Smurf Village. It is easy to imagine that these Smurfs have been away serving in the Swiss Army. haha.
There is the Chronograph (24014), the Men’s 3-hand (24006) and the Ladies 3-hand (24009). Together, these watches make up the “Summit Smurfs”. Sure, this name is cheesy, but this is my daydream so anything goes. haha.
What is the Actual Smurf Color?
Everyone knows that a Smurf watch is supposed to be blue, but I have yet to see a blue watch that is actually the color of the Smurfs that I remember from television. To be honest, the colors of a “real Smurf” might not be the most appealing hue for a watch. Smurfs are more of cerulean blue or sky blue. It could even look like baby blue to some people. Getting the right shade of blue can make the difference between a watch becoming a runaway hit or fizzling like a dud.
If I was acting like Brainy Smurf, I would emphatically state that the color is more like lapis lazuli and not the actual color of Smurf epidermis. Lapis is a semi-precious stone with a brilliant blue hue. You might remember seeing photos of King Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus and this stone was used on his golden burial headdress. Without pulling out my Pantone book, I would argue that the color of lapis describes the blue “Summit Smurfs“ accurately. I wonder if the young King Tut would have fancied one of these for eternity, or at least until someone raided his tomb?
Why are “Summit Smurfs” Special?
While there are three “Summit Smurfs”, I only own the blue Victorinox Swiss Army Summit XLT Chronograph. This is quite a mouthful to say, so I’ll just call it the Summit XLT Chrono from here on out. While I have owned other Summit XLT Chronos, the blue model was the one that I knew that I must own. This Smurfy version of Summit XLT Chrono is noteworthy for the blue color on both the dial and bezel. Many watch designs just have a colored dial and a black bezel. To see a watch with a perfectly matched color bezel changes a watch’s appearance in a significant way.
I might be taking liberties to claim that the “Summit Smurfs” were special compared to other Summit XLT watches. They are clearly different from the designs that used one color for the dial and another for the bezel. “Summit Smurfs” used the same color for both the dial and the bezel.
Technically, the black dial/bezel versions used the same trick, however, they don’t have the visual punch that the blue versions do. It is the hue of blue and the surface quality that makes the “Summit Smurfs” stand out amongst other Summit XLTs. It is just my opinion that “Summit Smurfs” are cooler than the others.
The dial surface texture of the “Summit Smurfs” has a semi-matte appearance. The material for the bezel is plastic and it has a similar matte appearance seen below.Even though the dial and bezel are different materials, Swiss Army matched the colors and textures perfectly. The end result is a continuous expanse of color from the bezel to the dial similar to what Tudor did for their blue Pelagos dive watch. Admittedly, this is a silly comparison because the Tudor Pelagos is a chronometer, uses an in-house movement, has a ceramic bezel and costs 40 times what a “Summit Smurf” does. However, I’m just cheeky enough to suggest a passing resemblance (if you have bad eyesight and see it from across a room). haha
The Blue Cousins of the “Summit Smurfs”
If the blue “Summit Smurfs” are not your style, then you might be captivated by the other color options like the blood-red, classic black or white dials. You really cannot go wrong with any of them. Or, if the “Summit Smurfs” are too blue, them you might be interested in the cousins of the “Summit Smurfs”. These would be the second generation of Summit XLTs that use metallic blue dials and black bezels. These watches also have a great appeal and appear more upscale with polished sword hands, metallic dials and higher-end finishing.
The “Summit Smurfs” in the Real World
Sometimes it is more fun to just look at some photos of the watch instead of reading what some blogger blabs on about. I’ve owned my “Summit Smurf” Chrono for a few years now and it has been on many adventures. Anyone following my instagram will recognized the photos that I’ve snapped over the months. This watch gets a lot of wear even though I own more prestigious and expensive watches. You like what you like, and this particular watch ticks many boxes for me.
It might sound crazy, but I often like to take photos of my watches against the cars that I see at some of Atlanta’s massive car shows!
I’m always looking for the perfect match, which is often more difficult to find that you would think.
So far, the closest color match to the “Summit Smurfs” is actually my own Subaru WRX. Maybe that is why I like it so much. It feels custom-matched to my sweet ride.
No lights… no problem. The Summit XLT has decent lume, but do not expect Seiko brightness. This small blobs of lumina are adequate to get the job done.
Hunting the “Summit Smurfs”
Maybe this article serves as a psychological profile that reveals volumes about my collecting motives. Generally speaking, I will choose the most unusual watch from an entire series to collect. If buying a puppy. this would be like choosing the pick of the litter. However, I do not always pick out the one that most resembles the breed standard. I might opt for the quirky runt that does not fit in the same mold as the rest. I might pass over the standard-issue models in black or white that less adventurous people might desire. Maybe this is because I value uniqueness over other deciding factors.
If you are interested in finding a “Summit Smurf,” for yourself, patience and perseverance is the best approach. These watches are from the early to mid-2000s and seldom available for sale these days. I have only seen a few in the years since I first noticed them. That does not necessarily mean that they are rare, but that is my experience. Also, finding one in good condition may be tricky. The crystal is mineral glass and the bezel is plastic so any rough use tends to leave scars making some specimens look ratty if the previous owner acted like Clumsy Smurf.
These watches tend to fly under the radar, but I think, that they are work tracking down if you like what you have seen in this article. Maybe, the best thing to do is imagine that you are Gargamel. Along with your cat, Azrael, you can set a trap for the “Summit Smurfs”. In other words, try using an eBay saved-search, which can notify you as soon as one appears. Good luck and happy hunting!
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