The Most Underrated Historic Dive Watch: Yema Superman 39mm

For those of you new to the channel watch box are the world’s, leading most trusted and respected dealers in pre-owned, luxury watches onwards and upwards. Ok, hi guys and welcome to the show today notice what check necessary, because I am actually wearing the watch in question.

It’s. The very fittingly named Superman from Yemma. As you guys know, every month I try and cover a brand or a model of watch. I haven’t previously discussed or reviewed, and this time it is this absolute historic legend.

Now, if you’d, like to see more watches in this kind of price range or other brands that are underrated, to be honest, this is highly underrated. In particular, please do like this video, so you’re, probably wondering what has Victor Hugo and the French Air Force got to do with dive watches right.

So let’s, start off with the history and then take a look at the watch. Its so Yama have quite simply an extraordinary history founded in 1948 by Henry Louis Belmont in business, on which happens to be the birthplace of Victor Hugo.

Mr. Belmont was a pioneer French watchmaker who had graduated from the watchmaking school in the city of the brand’s founding located in eastern France. This is close to the Jura mountains and the border with Switzerland.

What makes this brand so special is the massive accomplishments it has achieved in a relatively short amount of time, as well as becoming france’s, premier watchmaker in the 1960s. The Superman collection of watches is aptly named as it is the watch that made the brand what it is today and its success helped to propel Emma into making several more iconic watches first released in 1963.

It was initially developed for diving professionals, but soon expanded into many versions and eventually being supplied to pilots of the French Air Force. This 300 metre diver was highly respected for its robust and unique locking mechanism incorporated into the screw-down crown to securely lock the dive time.

Bezel, this combination of durability, function and being French made, of course ensured. It was a natural choice for the French military when they wanted to supply their top pilots with a watch following the success of the Superman.

Yema then introduced the yachting Graf in 1966 and then the rally Graf in 1968, both of these were chronographs. The yatin Graf was an automatic, had an impressive 200 meters water resistance and was designed for sailing enthusiasts, while the rainy Graf was equipped with a tachometer and was intended for racing car drivers.

The watch makers struck gold again when the rally graph was worn by Mario Andretti, one of the world’s. Most successful and legendary drivers in the history of motor racing. This Italian born American is one of only two drivers to have won races in Formula One IndyCar, the World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR.

During the late 1960s and early 70s, Yemma became the leading exporter of French watches, with more than 500,000 watches sold every year across 50 countries, but not content with the conquest of the racetrack skies and the oceans Yemma embarked on its most remarkable adventure.

Yet, by being the first French watch in space with the spacial chronograph originally released in 1982, it accompanied first-time French past Renault jean-luc Caliente for a ten-day trip into space that same year and then again in 1988.

On a mission to the MIR space station yema survived the courts crisis of the 1970s, but in an interesting twist of fate it was the Seiko corporation of japan that bought the company in 1988. It was then sold into french hands again in 2004 and after four years of research and development, yema designed a new proprietary watch movement all of their own.

The MPB 1000 was finally finished and introduced in 2011 as the first and completely in-house automatic caliber from the brand. There are several stories and theories on how Yemma got its name. However, if you look at the etymology of the word, its origins can be traced from Spanish, meaning the gold yoke or the bud in the egg, which in turn originated from the Latin Gemma, with a G meaning the core gem or jewel.

So here we are in 2020, with a modern incarnation: a 300 meter water resistance, Superman heritage automatic. This collection has now expanded to include GMT, escorts, maxi, dial and even bronze versions.

So without further ado, let’s, get in to the dimensions. First of all, the diameter is just below 39 millimeters. We have a height of 13 millimeters, then a lag to learn. What is that 48 millimeters and in the lug width of 19 millimeters? It’s, important to note that there are two sizes.

So if this is too small and you have the larger wrist there’s – a 41 millimeter diameter version – and I believe it goes for the same price. The weight is around about 156 grams and it does wear a little larger because of the quite long lugs here, even on my six and a quarter inch wrist.

So let’s talk a little bit about this bezel. Well, firstly, it’s, an aluminium insert. It sits slightly above the main case with a high polish coin, edge protruding ever so slightly with a satin brushed section below it, making it very ergonomic and easy to grip.

It’s, 120 click and you need directional. It does feel extremely solid with very little play. In fact, I’ll demonstrate it in just a moment. The bezel plate is something you might have actually conquered as it features the first and only nifty little locking system incorporated into the crown.

In fact, since 1963, all EMS Superman dive watches, with the exception of a few of the modern GM tees feature. This clever little locking mechanism. Now it’s relatively simply just unscrew the crown and then, of course you can turn it.

It’s, a simple bracket there that you see that allows the bezel to rotate when the crown is screwed out slightly, but then locks against the bezel edge when the crown is fully screwed in glycine have something similar with their equally iconic Airmen.

But yema did away with half ting to have or depend upon a a second crown to do so now. The result is an extremely secure bezel that won’t budge when bumped and therefore it will not mock up any timing that you may be doing.

The threading of the screw down crown is a little extra than normal and justifiably so is signed with that charming. Why curvaceous engraved logo there, the size and feel of the crown I have to say, is just perfect easy to manipulate, not too overpowering in scale.

The crown guards so do not interfere with the the action of the crown, but at the same time, do protect it, and I love how it follows. The gentle sloping lines of this case elegantly. The way the flat bezel section sits on the case is rather UFO shaped and makes me think of the 1957 Omega Seamaster.

Even the speed master a little bit to this early 1960s vintage vibe is then continued with the witching very tall, but lovably domed sapphire glass. You see there that has a light, magnifying lens effect for better dial readability, as you can see, most of the case is in a high polish.

The transitions shapes edges are all flawless and in hand feels like something costing a lot more. I was immediately impressed that the finishing at the time when I first opened it’s rather snazzy little leather zipped case that ships with the watch.

I love it when brands actually provide a reusable case, not just some massive heavy box that you know takes up space, [, Music ]. The dial is very submariner esque with a triangle at the 12 rectangles at the six and nine and then circular markers in between they have a subtle, greenish, lemon, yellow and generously applied to that really evokes the kind of puffy look of old vintage tritium dials.

There’s a date at the three o’clock and crisply contrasting white printing. It’s, more classic, looking than the numerals of the 1960s original and reminiscent of an early one, six, eight zero Submariner to be honest, but then it is complemented by a very functional handset, more in keeping with the 1st 1963 generation of this watch.

We have a broad, segmented arrow for the minutes, always the most important handful a dive watch. Of course it reaches to the edge of the dial nicely. Then we have a simple baton style for the hours, then a very cool kind of stoplight shovel tip for the seconds.

The red dot is the only dash of color in this particular version, very subtle in a mostly monochromatic or monochrome. I guess you could say: watch the hands effectively distinguish themselves from one another and also give a pleasing sense of character like it’s, mid-century ancestors, functionally speaking.

Of course, they are very efficient, even if the dial is actually kind of small. In comparison to other watches in similar case sizes, the high polish in a chapter ring that frames, the matte black of the dial works nicely with the glass and very much accentuates the lowering distortions.

As you can see, when I move it around almost giving a magnificent water-like effect, the hands are also loomed nicely with super-luminova, as is the matching dial markers and bezel, loom. Pip orientation and low-light legibility is outstanding.

It’s, refreshing to see a vintage inspired diver that is not overdone and ruined by that foul patina, which seems to be very common these days, the screw in case back, we have a little look, is quite simple: we just see the heraldic style Coat-Of-Arms Yemma logo to further underline this being part of the Heritage Collection, the bead blasted areas really making it stand out.

The steel bracelet is one of several. The watch is available with and is attached with solid end links to a rather slender pointed drilled lugs. With this predominantly understated color scheme, it’s, obviously going to be undoubtedly a strap monster.

So I’m very happy to see these feature on the lugs. The elegant tapering bracelet itself is a bit like a kind of flattened Jubilee with high polished Center links, flanked by brushed links surrounding them.

The individual links of a more like rounded and rectangular, in shape, rather than the semi circular links of the Jubilee it does wear in a very similar fashion. I’m sure many will scoff at the slightly jingling jangling nature of it, but as a big Jubilee fan, I absolutely adored.

This gave it a little bit of extra vintage charm so to speak. The clasp is your standard affair, with a safety fold-over, and several micro adjustments and included is a hidden divers extension which, I have to say, is probably the most solid feeling part of the clasp powering this reborn.

Legend of the deep is the no thrills but down to business Selita SW 200 1, understandable at this price range, but for a superior in house caliber. You can pay a little more, but you know we have to bear in mind that this is still at the 1,000 to 2,000 price range and even beyond that bracket.

We see many companies using this particular movement. It’s. The go-to choice for most of the watch industry, as expected, I’ve, never had any problems with this highly robust movement and I don’t. Imagine many will it is affordable to maintain, includes hacking, quick search on your wines.

It’s, 26 jewels 28,800 vibrations an hour, so it very much is the no-brainer now, while the 38 hour parents of is nothing amazing. They actually have regulated this out of the factory with minimum accuracy of plus or minus 12 seconds per day before it actually goes to the customer.

But I can happily report that this one is even better than that and behaving as if it’s. A chronometer, so let’s, talk positives and negatives. Well, firstly, it is impeccably made and in terms of price, the quality stands up to anything made just over the border in Switzerland for the same amount, and for even more for that matter, it’s.

A significant step up from anything most micro brands offer at this range the biggest advantage here, is, of course, the illustrious history being made in France. It was supplied to the French Air Force and having a totally and unique feature all of its own, the highly practical locking bezel.

It is also very comfortable. I found myself proud to wear it. It gives that vintage feel without any of the worries of a delicate watch from decades ago. It also has that difficult to pull off balance of elegance and function.

It can work with almost any attire and practically any strap, no matter if it’s. Rubber nylon, leather or you’re wearing a tracksuit, or you’re in business, smart attire. It will the bee sneeze it’s, a strong classic design that is iconic in its own right.

It manages to hold its head up high with pride in a genre of watches that has been flooded with so many derivative designs in terms of negatives. Well, nobody likes a 19 millimeter lug with why companies still insist on making these odd sizes completely baffles me.

You either have to have an unsightly gap or try and squeeze in a 20 millimeter strap into it. It’s also always tricky to find straps that you actually like or are in supply in these strange sizes. While we are discussing the bracelet, I am NOT a fan of the clasp, I feel it does feel a little bit dated and also the pin connected links.

I would have loved to see a double push-button deployment on this. I think that’s, the only major downfall here, even with my hands, normally without gloves it’s, difficult to actually flip this open, sometimes another little detail which I would have changed is the end link here.

He’s as you see brushed, and then the top of the lugs are polished. I don’t think that kind of blends in as nicely I would have liked to see either the case brushed at the top of this section. High polished, I don’t know.

Probably the case would have been better a bit like a you know: noise. The case are of a Rolex just so it blends in a little bit more neatly again. This is a very, very minor gripe. This certainly has not stopped me from enjoying the watch, but lastly, you know I know I’m gonna get the inevitable comments about the movement.

It always happens at this price range people. Simply don’t understand the costs involved in making your own in-house caliber. Although Yemma and you only have to pay, I think about 400 bucks to get the in-house caliber, which you got ta admit it’s, an admirable feat.

On the other hand, if a repair or service is needed, I would actually probably feel better with the Selita the ever reliable ETA clone. It’s, just easier to fix and has better component compatibility.

So in conclusion, this watch is the kippah snickers. It’s, certainly not perfect. Let’s. Just put it that way, but then again you can ‘ T really expect perfection for just over a thousand. I think it’s 1100 or thereabouts.

Now what I love? The most about this particular watch is just when I thought I could not be impressed by another vintage style. Diver here comes along this hot little French number that has very much melted, my heart and reignited.

So many passions, it’s, gorgeous it’s, absolutely gorgeous it’s, affordable it’s, something you would only see on the the wrists of a true watch enthusiast. So in conclusion. Well, ultimately, vive la France and vivre the pure class, so final thoughts too little addendums to the review.

Firstly, I’d love to see in no date version in the collection. I think it would have been a really worthy addition to the heritage line and, secondly, I think France, at the six o’clock, could have been printed a little bit larger.

It’s, something to be proud of. So why not announce it a tad bit more, but that’s about it. Special thank you to Vanessa at Yemma for so kindly lending this in and making this review possible. I wish more brands would work with social media youtubers.

You know all that good stuff speaks volumes about yema. It really does then racing YouTube anyway, guys I’m gonna leave it there. Please don’t forget to add your thoughts. Kruse comments, opinions all the rest of it down below.

Thank you so much for watching. Please, don’t forget to hit that like button. It really does help and I will catch you in the next one. Okay, thank you Joe. We all work hard for our money, so when it comes time to spend it on a luxury watch, the best way to take your money furthest is to buy pre armed with some dealers.

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Today’s review is something incredibly cool indeed! A 1960s French made military legend is reborn for the 21st century. But this is no ordinary diver. It boasts several features that make it unlike any other on the market today.

Join me as I trace the history of France’s premier watchmaker and take an in-depth look at a classy dive watch that made Yema the success they are today. This is a story you won’t want to miss, as it connects the French Air Force, innovative watchmaking, Victor Hugo, and Seiko, all rolled into the creation of an utterly compelling dive watch that dare I say it, rivals the early legendary Rolex Submariners. Could Yema’s Superman be the new best diver around $1000? Let’s find out!



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