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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.
Created by Henry Louis Belmont, a graduate from the National Watchmaking School of Besancon, YEMA was founded in 1948 and has been producing fine quality watches since. Along with some household names in the field of watchmaking, YEMA has concentrated on producing mostly emblematic and mechanical timepieces, including sports divers for pilots, racing drivers and underwater divers. Its repertoire includes reviving the YEMA Superman, commonly touted as France's legendary dive watch.
|Yema Urban Traveller White
Introduced in 1963, the Superman took the dive watch community by storm with its outstanding 300m water-resistance and idiosyncratic bezel-lock device. Today, we introduce the revamped and upgraded YEMA Superman 500 with its 39mm bracelet as the latest testament to YEMA’s innovative watchmaking.
In the seventies, Yema went on to produced some of the most recognisable chronographs in the world. Word has it that Yema chronographs are often spotted gracing the wrist of Mario Andretti, a highly decorated racing driver with the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500 and the Formula One World Championship under his belt. He had even crossed the finishing line to claim the champion trophy at the Indy 500 race in 1969 with a Yema Rallye chronograph strapped on.
Also, Yema’s aviation theme watches - the Flygraf chronographs are crafted in close collaboration with pilot watch enthusiasts and professional pilots to reach the greatest heights in the watch industry. And to cover all of the sports prospects, Yema recently crafted its luxurious steel sports watch segment with the limited edition Yema Wristmaster series. In 2023, Yema continues the trend and went on to introduced this on-going Yema Urban Traveller.
|Charming honeycomb surface finish with polished applied markers|
Right off the bat, the 316L stainless steel case of the YEMA Urban Traveller stands out straight away for its asymmetrical octagonal shape, a distinct appearance offering a visually intriguing style compared to the usual rounded construction. YEMA certainly knows all the right formulas to craft one enthusiast-driven vintage-looking mechanical masterpiece, with a case diameter of 39mm, a lug to lug distance of 43.5mm and a case thickness of 11.4mm, you can expect the watch to look incredibly posh on the wrist, exhibiting a sporty yet elegant appeal.
Taking a closer look at the case, details in its finishing are executed pleasingly with a continuous alternation between fine satin brushing and highly-polished chamfers, bringing a tasteful pop of refinement while preserving the marked sporting spirit. These beautiful finishes carry through towards the steel bezel, showcasing a unique design with top and bottom bevels inspired by a YEMA Sous-Marine quartz model from the 1980s, an old-school design that aged well even by modern day standards.
The polished and vertical brushed finishes cohesively extend down to the retrograde integrated stainless steel bracelet, featuring slim links that closely hug and conform to the wrist for utmost comfort with an attractive sporty look to complement the timepiece. For a seamless fit, the 24mm integrated bracelet is secured with a YEMA-signed double folding butterfly clasp.
|An asymmetrical octagon steel case|
On the dial of the Yema Urban Traveller, we get a sober white dial carrying a unique texture resembling honeycomb patterns. In line with the design theme of the watch, the dial is presented with applied markers treated with up to Super-LumiNova BGW9 for a vivid blue glow in dark lighting conditions. Apart from the printed YEMA logo, at the 6 o’clock position rests a clean ‘automatic’ imprint. The dial is then complete with a slightly raised scratch-resistant sapphire crystal for a resolute vintage touch.
The YEMA Urban Traveller 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, the movement is gorgeously decorated with stripes and stunning perlage finishing that reflects on their fine craft in producing an in-house movement. Equipped with a screw-in caseback embedded with YEMA’s historic crest, the watch is water resistant to 100m/330 feet.
Overall, the YEMA Urban Traveller reveals an interesting take on a 70s-inspired timepiece with an attractive modern design recalling past references. YEMA has been producing some really outstanding watches from their iconic Superman to various stunning collaboration models, however this latest integrated sports watch release has impressed us once again, proving time and time again how amazing the French are at making such phenomenal timepieces.