Okay, hi guys and welcome to the show – and today we return to a brand that has quickly grown to be one of my favorites um in recent years, and that is of course yema and the yemen superman.
But this is no ordinary uh superman. This is an extra special version. In fact, the one you’re looking at today is actually a prototype of a watch that has just recently had a kickstarter campaign. It sold out in a record four hours, um a huge tremendous success for yemen.
So this is a very much an exclusive look and we did talk about it in the top releases of 2020. So far now this is the watch in question and i’ve included my own uh superman. So we can kind of see what the differences are.
Oh and i should really do a wristwatch check before i get into it. I’m wearing my truda submariner there. It is. I’ve, been wearing an awful lot recently because we have indeed uh just reviewed the um black bay 58.
So i’m kind of re-appreciating uh. My current tudor anyway. As always, let’s, get into the history of the brand and a watch to help contextualize it [ Music ], founded in 1948 in bisan by expert watchmaker, henry louis belmont, aside from being the birthplace of victor hugo, the city also has one of France’s, premier watchmaking schools, of which mr belmont was a graduate of.
In 1963, yemen launched the very first superman a watch initially developed for diving professionals. It featured a unique locking mechanism incorporated into the crown to secure the dive time bezel, thus making it resistant to accidental, knocks that could potentially give inaccurate readings and put the diver at risk.
This made the tough 300 meter diver very unlike its rivals and would become a massive success with many versions soon being made available. This prosperity would allow the brand to expand and soon yammer added to their lineup with the 1966 yachting graph.
A watch specifically designed for sailors, this automatic, larger based chronograph, was waterproof to a staggering 200 meters, quite rare for chronograph at that time, and became very popular with french yachting amateurs in the 1960s and 70s.
Around the same time, the french government chose the superman and issued it to its elite air force, pilots, a contract and auspicious achievement that would be renewed in 2020, forever immortalizing, the brand in military watch history.
The rally graph model was also born in 1966 and a watch aimed and appreciated by car racing amateurs. One of these chronographs was famously worn by formula one champion: mario andretti, which resulted in further expansion of yemen’s range of chronographs throughout the 1970s, culminating with a specially evolved version in 1982 called the spationaut.
This annie, digi chronograph, would be the first french watch in space on the wrist of french astronaut. Jean-Luc three more generations of the spatial would follow all being worn on various space missions, while the brand would be purchased by japanese watch giant seiko in 1988.
. The brand would return to french ownership in the early 2000s, which would herald a new age of french independence. The result of this was four years of extensive investment, research and development leading to yemen.
Designing a new proprietary watch movement, the mvp-1000 that was completed in 2009. over the next decade. Yemma would go on to draw upon its illustrious past and offer new versions of all its classic watches now better than ever with either new in-house or eta movements to choose from, and that’s where we are today and just in case you’re wondering the name: yema derives from the latin gemma with a g, meaning precious stone, jewel or life-giving bud [ Music ].
So, as always, let’s start with the dimensions and it’s worthy to point out that it is almost identical to its steel, diving predecessor here. So the diameter is just a smidgen under 39. It’s 38.6. I would say: uh: there is a 42.
No sorry there’s, a 41 millimeter version available as well. The height is a lovely 13 millimeters. Then we have lug to lag at just a smidgen under 48, so 47.9, there lug width over 19 millimeters. The only difference or discernible difference is that i can possibly find reading their schematics is.
The dial is actually a few millimeters smaller than its diving predecessor. Here now, in terms of weight, let’s, just put it face down, so we get an accurate reading. Yeah we’re, looking at 77 grams there.
Now the similarities continue with um the domed, the really pronounced domed uh super thick sapphire glass. We do have a steel case back which i’ll return to in just a moment. However, we get a wonderfully brushed bronze case and it has a really rich kind of depends how the light hits it, but it’s, a really nice deep, bronze color.
Now, a couple of years ago, the first bronze cased watches um entered the watch scene with brands like rs iwc, mont blanc, panerai, trudeau, all jumping on the bandwagon. It seems that it, it’s very much a growing trend.
However, over the years, this type of watches have proved their staying power. Now, initially, bronze cases were mainly applied to dive watches because of their non-corrosive qualities, which obviously added an advantage there.
Now, one of the reasons why bronze cased watches have become so popular is that over time they will develop a very unique patina which is unique to each watch and that is developed depending on how you expose the watch or what you expose the watch to.
Rather so, if you swim in salt, water or you sweat on it different climates, etc, these all influence the patina process and results in a very distinctive look. Now there is a downside. Bronze is an alloy which is mainly copper, combined with other metals.
Of course, now the copper will react to moisture from the skin and eventually turning the case green. This is why the case back of the watch, which you see here is in a stainless steel, because this is going to have contact with your skin, obviously so, to avoid your skin turning green, so very, very deliberate! You’ll.
Either see this in bronze watches, typically with a steel case back or titanium, something like that. Another big change is: this is now a 24 hour bezel to correspond with the new gmt fourth hand, you see at the bottom.
Now it’s, an aluminium insert under a sapphire ring, and it is also loomed. We have a superluminova c1 thanks to the submariner style, differing shapes. It’s very easy to work out the orientation with the triangle at 12.
Of course, the segmented arrow minute hand and the floating triangle tip of the gmt hand, and i would say the pencil style of the main hours are very effective and easy to distinguish from each other in low light, um, so very efficient there.
I especially like what they’ve done. With the gmt hand, they’ve blacked it out giving it what they described as a phantom quality effect. So in complete low light, it looks like a floating triangle, subtle, but very, very clever.
I do like that, with the screw down crown and you’ll, see it’s signed there, of course, with the yemen logo. A big misconception has been that – and i understandably so especially with a diving watch – is that to unlock the the bezel, because now it’s locked when it’s fully screwed in um, you’re gonna endanger the Water resistance: well, actually, you only have to undo it a little bit and then you have the unidirectional click of the or ratcheted bezel there.
So it’s, not that bad to unscrew it completely. You have to go quite far. The action of the bezel very solid and it does line up nicely and we’ll, come back to the bezel, because there’s. A few things i would like to address it’s worthy to point out that this continues the tradition of being a 300 meter.
Water resistant, diver, so extremely capable indeed now gone, is the jubilee-esque bracelet of before this time it comes with either very durable and smooth to touch extremely flexible, rubber tropic style strap, which is perfect for a sports watch.
The easiest strap to wash, but it also comes with this gorgeous leather strap. Now i have to say, leather straps tend to be an afterthought, especially in this kind of price range. But this is absolutely exquisite.
It’s, got a wonderful supple, soft quality to it. These are actually made in france as well, and i dare i even say it, but it kind of rivals the quality of color rep, my beloved coral rep, straps outstanding and, of course, you ‘
Ve got this little bit of off-white stitching um, definitely helps and assists the vintage vibe love the strap and um. We get a matching bronze signed, buckle there as well, and i have to point out. We still have just like before the drilled lug holes, which are just fantastic.
I wish more brands would do this because it just makes life so much easier. But aside from its new material, its most groundbreaking change is inside. We have the completely in-house caliber yemet 3000, which is yemen’s.
First gmt movement. It’s, powered by optimized components, yielding a slightly better performance than similar eta and equivalent seiko calibers offers a daily rate of plus or minus 10 seconds per day out of the factory.
But i can happily report that this is performing uh even more admirably than that it’s, got a decent 42 hour power reserve and they actually regulate it when it leaves the factory so far it’s been rock solid and its Architecture is very similar to the eta.
They have even gone to the trouble of adding some decorations and some collage finishing on the base plate and bridges along with geneva’s style striping on the rotor itself. Now it’s automatic. Of course, with bi-directional winding with a ball bearing mounted rotor operating in a smooth, 28 800 vibrations, an hour 29 joules, it has kwikset with the date that is beautifully, framed at three o’clock, um, hacking and manual wind and, of course, the new Gmt function, which you can change conveniently in one hour increments, when the crown is pulled out to the second position: [, Music, ], the late 1950s and early 60s, was a very formative time for french design, fashion, cinema style and culture in the 20th century.
You only have to look at the chic fashions that were being exported to the rest of the world or the cinema of truffaut and melville. To see what i mean the superman, i really do feel encapsulates this spirit perfectly.
The case is rather reminiscent of the 1957 amiga trio, and i think i said that in my previous superman video it has very elegant curves, the bezel sits away from the case almost giving it a kind of ufo profile.
I love the fact that this section is flush with the case, but then, of course, you got the the coin edge slightly above, which makes it very effective. Ergonomically. Now the gradient dial is perhaps the first immediate thing you’ll notice.
There is a blue option, which is just gorgeous, but i have to say i think this is a little bit more compatible with different styles of attire, although the blue is mesmerizing and it goes from this kind of panzer grayish in the center to a jet black.
At the periphery, and if you look at it straight on, you notice it, but then it morphs as you move it now, as you can see, they’ve, actually gone to the bother of applying the markers framed in a kind of guilt, um style With guilt, printing and embossed branding logo, so so it’s a little bit more luxurious, and i really appreciate that, as you move it from the dark, you’ll, see it kind of glistens.
It’s a little bit more playful and i think it elevates the watch into something i dare to say a little bit. Smarter. The hands are also guilt, which i think, makes perfect sense. Now again, we have that if you look at the seconds hand, we have that shovel style seconds hand, which is an indicative design.
Trait of the superman. I love how it the red dot, complements the red of the gmt triangle. Of course, so you can’t really discuss jmts without discussing you know the the the gov father or the progenitor of all gmts there.
The rolex gmt was first introduced in 1954, and the superman here follows the same setup uh, where you have a 24-hour bezel and a fourth hand. Moving at half the speed of your main hours, therefore giving you a time in another time zone but at the same time, in a 24-hour context.
So, for me, the the red triangle, i think, is a fitting tribute and it works incredibly well with the whole vintage vibe of it. In fact, the bronze does remind me a little bit and i guess that’s, why they applied markers as well.
Does remind me of the kind of root beer vintage rolex gmts now just like before on the back, we have the heraldic themed logo of yema, indicating it is part of their heritage collection and it’s nicely engraved with a contrasting bead blasted finish And a raised high polish section, in fact, this one being a prototype is zero: zero, zero, zero, so yeah, very rare indeed – and i’m quite honored that um have given me the honor of testing this one out, and i love how flat the The bezel is and the decision to give it this sapphire insert that glows is very much a nod to the bakelite glowing bezels of the gmt, her history and you know what it’s great because it feels like a superman.
But yet it pays respects to the rolex uh without being a ripoff, and i really really appreciate that and just look at the wonderful distortions that massive crystal gives the lens effect of that domed.
Crystal, though, does absolutely accentuate all the details. It’s, not just for looks, though it actually has a magnifying effect on all the little details on the dial, so it assists its legibilities.
So it’s, not just a gorgeous. Looking thing: it’s practical as well. So let’s. Talk about the positives! Well, first of all, i think it’s, a clever adaptation of the superman. I love the rich bronze. It’s very bewitching um.
It’s, nice to see a bronze on a gmt. I haven’t actually seen that before now, it goes without saying it’s outstanding value for money. It punches way above its weight, especially in its final price range.
Now it was discounted for the kickstarter 50 off, but when it’s released generally just under 1500, very, very competitive indeed, and even gives the swiss a run for their money. That’s, because yemen have invested massively into the infrastructure and uh manufacturing capabilities to offer something like this at that price.
And now, as we’re talking value, it being limited edition, will also help to maintain and protect it. And just when you think another vintage themed watches were played out here comes this absolute bewitching creature with a refreshing new take on and let’s be honest.
The gmt has rather been imitated to death, but i don’t. I totally feel that this is very much its own thing, which i love, that it’s, got its own strong identity and, as we’re talking of identity, it’s, a brand that has a history, many um brands With even twice or three times as old can’t even compare with it, it’s also, i would say: watch enthusiasts brand, its achievements, its military past.
It’s just outstanding now. Normally, when i review a watch um, the guys with the larger wrists complain that 39 millimeters too small, and then you ‘ Ve got a 42 or 41 millimeter watch you ‘
Ve got the guys that prefer more classic sizes like this saying they’re too big. Well, this coming in two sizes, just pleases everyone – i mean the scale the fit, whichever you go to suit your style and wrist, it wears amazingly well.
Even i would say, cuff friendly it’s, not that thick considering it’s. 300 meters, water resistant. I wish more vintage style divers had this kind of dimensions with so many watches being so derivative in their design, it being its own thing, while still being classically elegant, i think, is a huge, huge plus now using the mechanism to lock in a second time zone.
I think actually makes much more sense, perhaps even more sense than the dive time bezel. I i really like the way they’ve utilized it here, which brings me on to my next point. The new bronze makes it very, very compelling it’s, a mix of both to watch and something handsome enough to wear more formally.
Yes, okay, it’s, not a dress watch, but i would love to wear this with more dapper attire. It will definitely be easy to dress up and down now. Bronze also has the added benefit of matching yellow gold jewelry.
So for me, with my signet ring, or whatever it’s, a big big plus, so let’s. Talk about the negatives well uh, the biggest contention uh with a watch like this is the patina. It will inevitably gain also a lot faster than any particular other style of watch.
I’ve, never actually owned. A bronze watch so um i’m kind of a little bit trepidatious about it, but, however, i do like the idea of it. Not everyone will perfectly understandable, but the process is reversible check out this post by the english watch make opinion watches.
So it’s quite easy to reverse, and you can easily do it at home. Now. The trade-off of having the prestige of an in-house movement is, of course, you’re, going to have to rely on yemma for servicing and replacing any components that the movement requires over time, which is something i do like, and i’ve Talked about this with my tudor that i’m wearing and also my the yema, you know, etas are so affordable and i’ve.
I’ve serviced, so many of them it’s, just so easy um going the independent route. However, the achilles heel in in the 39 millimeter – and this does not apply to the 41 millimeter version of this or the regular superman – is the 19 millimeter lug width.
I don’t understand, i mean look. I understand it from a design perspective to keep the proportions. However, for us, the consumer is just not practical and finding 90 millimeter straps is just really really annoying.
It should have been 18. I really think you know looking at the proportions. I think it should have been 18 millimeter, but anyway now the bezel, although it does perform pretty well, i don’t understand why it’s uh unidirectional, it should have been bi-directional like it is on my gmt over there.
I think uh yeah well, it makes sense for a dive time, bezel, shifting back and forth time zones you, instead of going all the way around there’s, no need also for it to be 120 click. It is a little bit lazy there, but not the end of the world.
So in conclusion, who knew that bronze would be so stylish and so charming it’s definitely made me question my own superman here and in fact i’m seriously, considering selling this and getting not the bronze gmt, but the bronze version Of just your standard superman, diver, aside from the more aged look, the bronze gives and the eventual oxidation it has a rather beguiling metallic smell and something i’ve never encountered before on a watch, but i have to confess i kind of like it.
It adds a certain charm also for travelers and pilots um. Adding patina makes a nice memento of that particular trip, an aspect i think that adds to the sense of adventure. This watch has made my superman feel, dare i say, a little bit boring and almost a little bit too safe and i don’t have a bronze watch in the collection um, so that’s.
Well, that’s. What it’s made me think about, so i’m, probably going to get the bronze version of this. They do have a stunning red kind of burgundy. Bezel reminds me a little bit of the tudor black bay with the the red uh bezel and it’s.
Funny because the last bronze watch i reviewed was the carl brazier, the rs65 limited edition, but it didn’t have that french pizzazz um that uh little extra, je ne sais quoi um to, to quote to say a cliche that the superman has.
I just love the idea of it aging, along with you and becoming completely distinctive and, unlike any other watch. So what can i say i mean? How do you say, pure class in french do do do share that in the comments um it’s.
Another home run from yemen anyway, i’ve, really enjoyed my time with this uh. This is going back to the factory, so a massive thank you to to yemma for lending it in um. I’m gonna leave it. There do add your thoughts, queries comments, opinions all the rest of it down below.
Please don’t forget to like this video. If you enjoyed it, found it useful, it really does help the channel. I don’t ask for patreon or any of that uh. Just a quick like and share your thoughts down below anyway guys i’m gonna leave it there.
Thank you very much for watching and i’ll catch. You in the next one, okay, ciao
Today we return to one of the hottest trends of the last few years—bronze diving watches—and finally, one that has captured my heart. But this is no ordinary dive watch! This is the legendary Superman by France’s premier watchmaker Yema.
This military-issued automatic dive watch has been reborn as a GMT to take on new adventures. While previously reviewed bronze divers didn’t entice me enough to pull the trigger, this bronze Superman has changed my mind and has subsequently landed on my wish list. Join me for an in-depth review, including why this is one of the most compelling new releases of 2020, how it compares to my Rolex GMT Master II “Pepsi” and everything you need to know about bronze watches.
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