Monochrome Watches
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The New Yema Superman 500 GMT Collection

A traveller's edition of the recently updated French dive watch.

| By Brice Goulard | 4 min read |
Yema Superman 500 GMT collection

Far from being just another dive watch, the Yema Superman is, without a doubt, the most emblematic watch of the brand and, by extension, probably the most famous watch ever to be made in France. Since its re-launch a few years ago, in a faithful and vintage-oriented way, the Superman has been released in multiple editions, including a practical mix of diving and travelling capacities. Yet, Yema isn’t only looking at the past and has recently brought a serious technical update to its emblematic dive watch, with the Superman 500. And now, as an evolution of the collection, there’s a traveller’s model too, with the new Yema Superman 500 GMT Collection.

Yema Superman 500 GMT collection

Based in the town of Morteau, in the French Jura and near the Swiss border, Yema is an important name in the French watchmaking history. The brand has long focused its production on sports watches for divers, members of the French army, pilots or racing drivers… and even made it to space. Part of this professionally-oriented collection, the Superman is the brand’s most iconic watch, and Yema has faithfully revived it in recent years. Launched in 1963, the Superman immediately found success, being a watch with almost professional specifications but dedicated to a wider audience of aficionados and recreational divers.

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Yema Superman 500 GMT collection

In past years, we’ve seen multiple re-editions of classic designs of the past, such as the almost 1-to-1 Superman Heritage or the more original Skin Diver Limited Edition. Yet, a couple of months ago, and without altering the original design much, Yema has decided to update (on the technical side) its star collection, with the Superman 500. Stronger, more practical and powered by a French movement, it retains the appreciated look and added some even better diving specifications, without increasing the price much.

The same recipe is now applied to the traveller’s edition of the Superman. As such, everything we explained when going hands-on with the new Superman 500 is applicable in this GMT context. The original design is almost intact, and only the technical side has been upgraded. As such, the lovely skin-diver feel is well present in this new Yema Superman 500 GMT, with its thin casebands, its sharp elongated lugs and domed elements on the front and caseback, absorbing most of the height. The all-important crown and locking device, the thin bezel and the raised crystal are again right in place.

Yema Superman 500 GMT collection

Compared to the previous editions of the Superman, in GMT shape or not, this new edition adds a lot in terms of diving credentials. Available in 39mm or 41mm, the Superman 500 GMT comes with an updated water-resistance of 500 metres, thanks to a newly-designed crown, a stronger screwed back of 2.2mm and a bulbous domed sapphire crystal of 2.6mm. Still, it is now deeper inserted into the watch to minimize the effect on the overall height, and its diameter has been increased by 0.6mm for improved legibility. Both diameters are just below 14mm in height (not thin, but acceptable for a GMT diver with such depth rating), and L2L is 48mm on the 39mm model and 49.5mm on the 41mm edition.

Yema Superman 500 GMT collection
The black-and-white model features a sapphire crystal bezel’s insert, while the two other rely on a classic aluminium insert

Some more work has been done on the crown and the emblematic bezel-lock device. Just like the classic Superman 500, it has been redesigned for more stability with the crown tube (thus more reliability and resistance). The locking device is now more firmly in place and more precisely adjusted. Being a GMT watch, this new version has a bi-directional bezel with 24 clicks and a two-tone insert with a 24-hour scale. The latter is available in three different colour combinations; black-and-white with a sapphire crystal insert, blue-and-red Pepsi in aluminium and blue-and-grey Batman in aluminium. The bezel is the only difference between the 3 editions, the rest being fully identical.

The dial of this Yema Superman 500 GMT is classic, with its glossy black surface and its printed hour markers. All are coated with white SLN, and so are the signature hands – arrow minutes, shovel-like seconds. The additional GMT hand has a red, luminous arrow tip on all models, completing the red-coloured depth rating. Being a traveller’s watch, this version is equipped with a date function, which is nicely integrated with a black disc.

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 +/- 10sec/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 done on the 24-hour hand, not on the local time hand.

The Yema Superman 500 GMT is worn on a multi-link, thin stainless steel bracelet with a folding clasp and a diver’s extension. FKM rubber and leather straps are also offered as options. The watch is now available for pre-order and is priced at EUR 1,399 or USD 1,399. For the launch, each model is a numbered edition xxx/200, but the watch will later be available from the permanent collection.

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5 responses

  1. Cool watch, terrible movement. I own the Yema2000 and it’s been nothing but issues. A quick google search reveals that it’s a common thing with these yema movements. It’s a shame.

  2. Does that little gimmick at 3 on the bezel break easily ? Looks like I would mess that up with just putting my hand in my pocket ? Maybe it’s bullet proof but it looks fragile .

  3. @Ray: no risk of breaking that device, it is a very sturdy piece of metal, however while it looks charming it is a royal pain to use when adjusting the bezel so I removed mine.

  4. Yema, as an in house calibre, should have made this a jumping hour traveler GMT. Mido has one for less than the 500.

  5. Nice looking watches, but more trouble than they are worth. Look elsewhere .

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