Over the past few years, we’ve gotten to know Yema for its rather handsome and historically accurate Superman collection, an iconic dive watch from the 1970s. This all started with a very faithful one-to-one recreation launched in 2018 and has since been expanded into a wide range of styles, including a number of GMT models. This was joined by the Adventurer & Traveller collections in 2021, a set of vintage-inspired watches dedicated to exploration. Now, several years onwards, it is time for another historical Yema to resurface, with the launch of the new Yema Flygraf Navigator, a fully-equipped pilot’s chronograph.
Yema and the Flygraf
Yema was founded by Henry Louis Belmont in 1948 and quickly became one of the most notable French watchmaking companies through its purposefully, well-built and affordable tool watches. During the 1960s and 1970s, it was the largest exporter of watches in France. Although it was a victim of the quartz crisis at one point, the company has been back in business since 2011 and underwent a major repositioning in 2018 aimed at restoring it to full former glory.
The Yema Superman is perhaps the best-known watch by the French company and is at the core of the present-day Yema. Next to that, it produced a whole range of chronograph watches for racing (Rallygraf & Meangraf), diving (Meangraf Sous-Marine & Yachtingraf) and aviation, known as the Flygraf. The Yema Flygraf was created in 1969 and intended to be used by airmen and actually played a big role in the French aeronautics industry. It allowed pilots to make quick in-flight calculations with the double-scale bezel and inner flange. This historic watch now returns under the Navygraf Navigator name.
The new Flygraf NAvigator
The fully polished stainless steel case for the new Yema Flygraf Navigator measures a rather reasonable 40mm across. The height on the other hand is quite substantial at 13,9mm, but understandable given the choice of movement and the fact it’s topped with a bevelled and domed sapphire crystal. The bi-directional rotating bezel has a silver and blue two-tone aluminium insert with a tachymeter scale in the blue section and a secondary scale in the silver section to calculate fuel consumption, (nautical) miles to kilometres conversions and more. The pull-out crown is flanked by a pair of crown guards and simple pump-style pushers for the chronograph. A solid caseback seals the case to a water-resistant of 100 meters.
There’s certainly a lot going on underneath the domed and bevelled sapphire crystal that rests on top of the case. The matte blue dial plays host to a whole range of indications. It all starts with a central sword-shaped hour and minute hands, filled with Super-LumiNova that glows green at night. This is accompanied by a small seconds register with a recessed centre. Then we have the central chronograph seconds hand, joined by the 30-minute chronograph counter at 12 o’clock and a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock. The hands in the subdial are also finished in Super-LumiNova. Then there are the applied hour markers with a detailed minute/seconds track in white. Next, at 3 o’clock, we have the day/date display that’s combined with the brand name. And finally, the sloped flange on the outer perimeter has a white-on-blue navigational scale to match the bezel.
Underneath the solid caseback, emblazoned with the historic Yema crest, ticks the all too familiar Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph movement in its day/date configuration. This not only displays the time through central hours and minutes hands and a small seconds hand but also measures elapsed time through the central chronograph seconds hand, 30-minute counter and 12-hour counter. The final indications are the day and date in a double window at 3 o’clock. A cool little touch is the option to have the day-disc either in English or French. The movement has 25 jewels and beats at a frequency of 28,800vph. It’s driven by a heavy full-sized rotor that offers that unique Valjoux wobble when in full swing.
The Yema Flygraf Navigator comes on one of three straps/bracelets. First is a stainless steel three-link bracelet with a brushed and p9lished finish and a folding clasp. The second is a black FKM rubber strap with a folding buckle. Third and last is the one you see in the images, a perforated black leather strap with a standard pin buckle. It is available for pre-order as of now with deliveries scheduled to commence in December 2022, for a retail price of EUR 1,849 on leather, EUR 1,949 on the bracelet and EUR 1,990 on FKM Rubber.
For more information, please visit Yema.com