Probably the best-known watch ever produced on French soil, the Yema Superman has been recently resurrected by the brand. Relaunched in 2018 with a faithful re-edition, Yema is now on a mission to upgrade its cult watch without altering what makes it so appealing: its emblematic design. First seen with the Superman 500, this evolution added modern specifications to the cool vintage design and corrected some of the old watch’s flaws. Then, the brand revealed the Superman 500 GMT, which added a practical traveller’s complication to its dive watch capacities. And it’s now back in three new colours.
When first presented, the Yema Superman 500 GMT was regarded as the fusion of two watches: the dive-only Superman 500 (used for all the upgrades it made to the original concept) and the previous Superman Heritage GMT (used for its complication and colour schemes). All in all, not a groundbreakingly new watch, but a very important model for the collection. What was the whole “500” concept about? In short, correcting flaws and making the watch more reliable, more wearable. Presented last year, the Superman 500 kept the original spirit of the Superman alive while introducing significant improvements.
As such, what we loved about the classic Superman – its design, quirky bezel lock, the elongated, thin lugs and the skin-diver look – is intact. The specifications, the diving capacities and the overall quality have, however, been improved. First, the iconic bezel-lock device, which ensures that once the crown is screwed, the bezel stays firmly in place, has been redesigned to stay put. The bezel has also been slightly redesigned, and new gaskets have been conceived for the crown. It is now possible to adjust the bezel under shallow water, as the watch is water-resistant to 30m with the crown unscrewed. The Yema Superman 500 gets its name from the upgraded water-resistance of 500m thanks to work on the crown, but also on the caseback (thicker) and the 2.6mm crystal, which is now inserted more deeply into the watch to minimise the effect on the overall height. Finally, the movement is the French-made calibre by Yema.
The Yema Superman 500 GMT was released soon after the classic Superman 500, using all the upgrades and adding a practical traveller’s complication. All the specifications are identical, including the high water-resistance. What changes is the bezel with a 24-hour scale, the additional 24h hand on the dial and a date window – a necessity on a GMT watch. There were three models at first; two of these Superman 500 GMT were equipped with an aluminium insert – in grey/blue or red/blue – and one featured a sapphire insert in black and white, with the white area and the numerals coated in Super-LumiNova.
For 2023, Yema keeps these three initial models in the collection but adds three other editions with rather unexpected green, red or brown tones. Still available either in 39mm or 41mm, the case retains the same 13.92mm profile, which is visually thinner thanks to a slim caseband and a well-hidden thickness courtesy of the domed sapphire and caseback. Lug-to-lug is measured at 48mm or 49.5mm, and the watch is still 500m water-resistant. The bezel rotates bi-directionally, with 24 clicks, and is still secured by the emblematic locking device.
All three new models in the Superman 500 GMT collection have the same dial – glossy black with painted markers and red accents on the depth rating and the GMT hand. Everything is generously coated in white SLN. What changes are the bezel inserts; two are made of sapphire crystal, with the lower part (representing the day) in white and the upper part (representing the night) available in red or green. As before, all the white areas of the bezel (incl. the numerals and markers) are luminous. The third version is slightly more classic, using an aluminium insert with a two-tone black and brown colour scheme.
Inside the case is the calibre YEMA3000, the brand’s own alternative to ETA or Sellita movements. Running at 4Hz and storing up to 42 hours of power reserve, it features a stop-seconds mechanism and is adjusted to +/- 10 sec/day. As with most entry-level traveller’s movements, the GMT function is a so-called “desk GMT” where the one-hour increment adjustment is made on the 24-hour hand, not the local time hand.
Finally, Yema offers its new Superman 500 GMT on a wide selection of straps and bracelets. You can choose a vintage-ish leather strap, a modern FKM rubber strap or, as we recommend, the classic multi-link steel bracelet – which adds to this collection’s appeal – with diving extension and folding clasp. Now available from the brand’s website, the new Superman 500 GMT models retail for USD or EUR 1,399 on a steel bracelet, USD or EUR 1,259 on a leather strap and USD or EUR 1,429 on an FKM rubber strap.
For more details and orders, please visit yema.com.