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We all are familiar with countless exceptional watches made by the Swiss and Japanese that are dominating the market. Nonetheless, the French also displayed excellence in the fine art of watchmaking with the creation of many beautifully decorated haute horlogerie pieces and complex movements. While YEMA may not be a name that the masses are entirely familiar with, it is a brand synonymous with the production of fine French-made timepieces and an incredibly rich heritage. Founded in 1948 by French watchmaker Henry Louis Belmont, YEMA has demonstrated remarkable mastery in watchmaking with the creative integration of innovative designs to their ever-dependable tool watches.
|Yema Navygraf Heritage - Bracelet
Developing reliable dive watches is certainly no stranger to YEMA, producing high-performance dive watches for the French Military’s Air Force Diver Rescuers back in the 1970s for helicopter-borne sea rescue operations. Likewise, YEMA brought us another exceedingly attractive heritage dive watch inspired by a model from the YEMA Navygraf from the early 1970s. This re-issue of the Navygraf embodies YEMA’s prestigious heritage while offering a fresh modernistic design, upholding their unwavering innovative spirit.
As expected from a brand that stays true to their roots, the YEMA Navygraf Heritage comes in a classic size closer to conventional dive watches of the 70s era. The case measures in with a tasteful diameter of 39mm, a lug to lug distance of 47mm and a thickness of 12mm. With these dimensions, the watch evokes an appealing retro character that sits extremely comfortable on the wrist. Finishing is immaculately executed to a high level of precision, presenting fine satin brushing throughout the case. The excellent brushing blends harmoniously with the refined case size that makes for an overall sporty and elegant look ready for any occasion .
|Bright yellow hands offering increased readability in all circumstances|
Here’s where it gets really interesting, the YEMA Navygraf Heritage houses a striking black sapphire glass bezel boasting superior scratch resistance. For the most part, the watch sticks with a vintage theme, incorporating a contemporary material like sapphire glass here is truly mesmerizing to see. This captures the glossy rendering of bakelite resin bezels formerly used back in the day, producing a warm sheen that pleasingly captures the light. To take it up a notch, every marker in 5-minute increments is treated with Swiss Super-LumiNova to produce an enchanting green glow in the dark.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the YEMA Navygraf Heritage lies in its matte black dial that offers a throwback to the ‘70s, producing a retro charm that makes this such a charismatic piece. Zooming in closer, the distinct exclamation mark shaped marker is one of the key traits of the original Navygraf model, accompanied with a creamy orange tone that manifests the attractive look of aged tritium/radium lume of the past.
|Domed Sapphire crystal radiates the vintage charm of 70s divers|
Bright yellow hour, minute and seconds hands add a dash of colour, making the dial exceptionally legible with a mere glance towards the wrist. Speaking of legibility, hands and markers are also treated generously with Swiss C5 Super-LumiNova lume that glows excellently in the dark. The dial is protected with a thick piece of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that grants this piece a substantial water resistance of 990 ft (300 meters).
Water resistance is uncompromised as a result of its screw-down crown and screw-in case back which are proudly signed with YEMA’s historic rest. This incredible dive tool watch is supplied with a 19mm 1970s reissue of the “oyster” vintage style stainless steel bracelet, equipped with a diver’s extension set for your underwater diving adventures.
|Super-LumiNova offers perfect readability in low light conditions|
The YEMA Navygraf Heritage is powered by the second-generation in-house Caliber YEMA2000 automatic movement, a stepped-up variation of the MBP1000 Caliber. This magnificent movement yields slightly enhanced precision and durability with optimized components, giving the movement a healthy power reserve of approximately 42 hours. This 29 jewel movement beats at a rate of 28,800 beats per hour with thorough accuracy checks by YEMA watchmakers. On top of that, movement is gorgeously decorated with stripes and stunning perlage finishing that reflects on their fine craft in producing an in-house movement.
The clever mix between a vintage style and modern materials here definitely highlights YEMA’s meticulous attention to finer detail in the crafting of their watches. Bringing a vintage model back to life seems to be a winning formula for many of YEMA’s classic timepieces, especially when it is refined with fine contemporary watchmaking of the French. Similarly, the YEMA Navygraf Heritage presents a captivating retro design that will surely find a place in any watch collection.