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The 1960s was truly a golden age for mechanical wristwatches, giving birth to countless iconic designs that served as the foundation for modern day timepieces. With vintage reissues of historic watch models becoming immensely popular in recent years, French watchmaking company YEMA has delved into their illustrious history to release numerous watches based on remarkable models from their extensive archive. This time, YEMA unveiled an exclusive collector’s limited edition reissue of their flagship Superman collection, paying tribute to early Superman models from the 1960s with a retro diver dial and scales bracelet that rediscovers its remarkable vintage charm.
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 Superman Skin Diver 39mm - Ltd Ed 1000pcs
The case of the Superman Skin Diver 39mm Ltd Ed remains as striking as we’ve known it to be with previous iterations, presenting sharp pointed lugs and well-defined lines on its fully brushed 316L stainless steel case. Measuring in with a tasteful diameter of 39mm, a lug to lug distance of 48mm and a slim case profile of merely 13mm, the watch evokes an appealing retro character that sits extremely comfortable on the wrist.
The Superman Skin Diver 39mm Ltd Ed remains true to the original Superman with its gorgeous 19mm fully-brushed stainless steel scales bracelet, offering a nostalgic 60s appeal to this handsome diver while being incredibly comfortable as a result of its small, articulating links. Being meant for divers, the bracelet is equipped with a diving extension for the right fit over a diver’s wetsuit.
|Skin Diver markers & lollipop second hand|
Driven by a strong sense of innovation, YEMA developed the Superman with a novel bezel-lock mechanism to set the bezel in place, preventing accidental bezel movements that may hinder timekeeping functions for professional divers. Just like YEMA’s Superman models from the 1960s, the Superman Skin Diver 39mm Ltd Ed sports this iconic design feature operated from its YEMA-signed screw-down crown at the 3 o’clock position, locking its unidirectional, scratch-resistant sapphire bezel firmly in place.
The implementation of a sapphire bezel certainly enhances presence on the wrist with a shimmering glaze that alluringly gleams in the light, capturing the warm, fascinating appearance of retro bakelite bezels. For timing operations under dark lighting conditions, the count-up bezel markers on the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock position are coated with C3 Super-Luminova beneath the sapphire crystal.
Yema's signature locking device for the bezel
Perhaps the most distinctive trait of the Superman Skin Diver 39mm Ltd Ed is present on its deep glossy black dial, showcasing a classic dial design closely similar to the original 60s diver. Unlike last year’s edition, the dial now features crisply printed hour markers, a historically accurate detail that brings the watch closer to its vintage counterpart. The iconic set of highly-polished hands,‘lollipop’ seconds hand and hour markers are generously treated with beige patinated C3 Super-Luminova luminous paint that glows like a lightshow in the dark.
Topping it off, the dial sits a 2.60mm thick scratch-resistant double-domed sapphire crystal further elevates the vintage aspect of the piece with enthralling distortions at various angles, just like old-school acrylic crystals. YEMA stated this type of double dome sapphire crystals require 3 times more sapphire than ordinary sapphire crystals due to the construction of two convex faces.
|Green Super-LumiNova C3|
At the heart of the Superman Skin Diver 39mm Ltd Ed lies the ever-reliable Swiss Sellita SW200-1 automatic caliber. Essentially an alternative to the reputable ETA 2824-2 movement, the 26 jewel workhorse movement runs at a 4 Hz rate of 28,800 beats per hour (BPH) with handwinding and hacking capabilities. At the back of the watch, the movement is enclosed beneath a solid screw-in caseback, offering a high water resistance of 300m / 990 feet. As a mark of exclusivity on this collector’s edition, the steel caseback is engraved with an édition limitée (French for limited edition) unique serial number of 1000, alongside with the historic YEMA crest, beautifully embossed with a hydraulic press.
YEMA delivered a striking reissue of their classic 1960s Superman with exceptional details, performance and design that upholds YEMA’s rich watchmaking heritage. At a time where vintage reissues are vastly popular among countless watch brands, the Superman Skin Diver 39 LE truly stands out as one of the most stunning modern French dive watch reissues in its class.