Yema has been and still is today one of the best expressions of French watchmaking. Founded in 1948, the brand has implemented a new strategy in recent years, gaining visibility thanks to its Heritage collection, re-issuing some of the most iconic models, as well as bringing back the notion of French-made, with proprietary movements. With this Frenchness in mind, Yema has already secured a partnership with the Armée de l’Air, the French Air Force, and now it unveils its second, highly natural military-infused partnership, this time with the Marine Nationale, a.k.a the French Navy – alongside Tudor, which has also announced a couple of days ago the comeback of a partnership with the Marine Nationale, the Swiss brand being one of its historical suppliers. But today, we’ll have a closer look at one of the watches resulting from this French Connection, the Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale GMT.
If Yema is mostly known for its Superman model, which has also been re-issued recently in a faithful vintage-inspired model, there’s another diver’s watch that needs to be mentioned. The Superman was the professionally-oriented tool produced by Yema, a watch launched in 1963, equipped with the patented safety bezel-lock and capable of a 300m water-resistance. In order to answer to the needs of a growing community of recreational divers, Yema launched its Navygraf watch in the early-1970s. This watch was a slightly simplified model, with a 200m water-resistance and without the bezel-lock system, but still with the brand’s distinctive design. It was mostly recognizable thanks to its “exclamation point” markers and a bakelite bezel’s insert.
To answer the needs of the Marine Nationale and to provide watches to the members of the French Navy, Yema has thus conceived 4 new models based on the Navygraf collection; a classic automatic watch, an accessible quartz model, a smaller feminine edition and, the topic of the day, this limited edition Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale GMT.
This Yema x Marine Nationale shares its case with the rest of the Navygraf collection. As such, it comes with the signature elements of the brand, a case with retro-inspired shape, thin casebands and lugs, sharp angles and overall a clear late-1960s/early-1970s vibe. Made of stainless steel, the case is entirely brushed and pleasantly executed. It feels solid and finely adjusted, but also comes with respectable specifications, such as a well-protected screw-down crown, with its signature pointy guards, a thick sapphire crystal (2.50mm), a screw-down steel back and it provides 300m or 990ft of water-resistance.
The Yema Navygraf is also a pleasant watch to wear, thanks to relatively compact proportions. Indeed, it measures 39mm in diameter for a height of 12.85mm. Furthermore, the lug-to-lug measurement remains reasonable, at 47mm. But more than the numbers, it’s the shape of the watch that is making it pleasant to wear, with a combination of a thin caseband and tapered lugs. Most of the height is absorbed by the bezel and the caseback.
As an ode to the original 1970s model, the Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale GMT is equipped with a sapphire bezel’s insert. Yet, as we’re talking about a GMT model, the latter features a 24-hour scale (fully luminous) and the bezel is bidirectional with 24 clicks. Of course, you’ll also have the option of an even more aquatic-like edition, without the GMT function and with a 60-minute unidirectional bezel. Still, this Marine Nationale GMT remains a solid option for diving.
The real deal for this Marine Nationale collection lies in the colours and specific adornments on the dial. The classic model is instantly recognizable with its black dial and bold yellow markers. To be in line with the official colours of the French Navy, the Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale all feature a blue dial and bezel (except the 34mm edition), classic white markers and hands and some discreet red and golden-coloured touches. Still, the signature “exclamation point” markers and typically 1970s painted hands are retained, yet now executed in bright white with blue-emitting Super-LumiNova. The matte blue surface of the dial provides superior contrast and the GMT function is easily picked up with this red arrow hand.
Being a traveller’s model, this limited edition Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale GMT features a date window, which won’t be found on the classic automatic version. In addition to the historic gilded “Navygraf” logo at 12 o’clock, the main specificity has to be seen at 6 o’clock, with a “Marine Nationale” logo. The anchor and logo can also be found on the crown and on the solid steel caseback.
To power this edition, Yema relies on its proprietary calibre YEMA3000, the GMT version of its 2000 calibre, which has been conceived and assembled in France, in Morteau. Destined to be an alternative to the classic ETA or Selitta movements, it makes the watch even more relevant in this path for Frenchness. This automatic engine runs at 4Hz, boasts 42 hours of power reserve and is adjusted to an accuracy of -/+10 seconds per day. It displays central hours, minutes and seconds as well as an independent 24-hour hand. It also comes with a stop-seconds mechanism.
The Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale GMT is presented on a sturdy stainless steel bracelet with the brand’s typical H-shaped links. Fully brushed, to bring a sportier look, it features a folding clasp with fine adjustments holes and a practical diving extension. The brand also includes a Marine Nationale parachute single-pass official strap, in blue with a red central line.
The watch will be available in a limited run of 1,000 pieces and can be pre-ordered as of today (6 May 2021), and priced at EUR 1,049. Note that a portion of the proceeds of the sales will be given to the Marine Nationale’s Foundation “œuvres sociales de la Marine nationale.”
3 other Marine Nationale x Yema
In addition to this limited GMT edition, Yema will also release 3 other watches. First is an automatic diver’s version with 300m water-resistance, the proprietary calibre YEMA2000, a 60-minute sapphire bezel and a no-date display. This edition won’t be limited and will be priced at EUR 790. Also, a quartz edition with mineral crystal and bezel, as well as a 200m water-resistance will be available at EUR 399. Finally, a 34mm feminine quartz model will be available, with a white mineral glass bezel, a 100m water-resistance, a Milanese bracelet, for EUR 349.
For more details and pre-orders, please visit yema.com.