Probably the most famous French watchmaking brand, Yema (created in 1948) has long been known for making sports watches such as the Superman, the most emblematic model of the brand. After relaunching several of its cult timepieces, mostly powered by outsourced movements, the brand has started to bring back something truly interesting; French watchmaking. It all started with the YEMA2000 Calibre, its own, made-in-France alternative to ETA and Sellita, yet recent months have shown even greater ambitions. Following a micro-rotor manufacture movement and a proprietary tourbillon (yes…), Yema becomes even more serious and now unveils a new Superman Bronze with its brand-new and audacious calibre CMM.10, a 3-hand automatic movement designed and developed internally with modern, optimized architecture.
Following the process used for its micro-rotor movement, Yema has decided to launch this new movement and the watch that goes together with it via a Kickstarter campaign. Once again, this is a way to both pre-finance the construction of the watches and offer this unprecedented calibre at a fair price (to say the least). So let’s talk about mechanics, shall we?
Yema, a brand based in Morteau, France, is no stranger to creating proprietary movements. Thanks to its proximity to Switzerland (about 15km from Le Locle and 20km from La Chaux-de-Fonds) it always had the ability to source parts or entire movements. In recent years, moving away from Sellita-sourced engines, Yema developed the calibre YEMA2000, a traditional time-and-date movement meant to replace ETA ébauches and their clones. Already a significant step on the road to independence and a sign of the return of French watchmaking, something Yema truly emphasizes.
Yet, with the introduction of the new CMM.10 (Calibre Manufacture Morteau 10), the French watchmaker is pushing things much further. This three-hand movement isn’t meant to be yet another clone or alternative to ETA and Sellita. It’s there to be a modern, powerful movement, which has been designed and developed by Yema (with the help of watchmakers such as Olivier Mory), using self-made parts (bridges and main-plate), or parts sourced from well-known Swiss and French suppliers (all within a 70km range), and then assembled, regulated and tested in Yema’s workshops in Morteau. It’s a modern movement, with a focus on reliability and stability, including a transversal balance bridge, and a design that combines the barrel bridge, centre wheel bridge and winding stem cock into a large single bridge, for better strength, durability and shock resistance. The Glucydur, non-magnetic balance wheel is paired with a Nivarox hairspring and an Incabloc system. It also features an optimised escapement geometry to reduce friction.
The result is a three-hand movement with several interesting features and upgrades compared to a classic ETA clone. The winding is done by a large bidirectional rotor on ball bearings, which winds a large barrel for a comfortable weekend-proof 70h power reserve. The 4Hz frequency is classic but the movement is regulated to a rather satisfying precision of -3/+5 seconds per day (within chronometric range) and features a stop-seconds mechanism. Finally, this movement, if industrially finished, is a good-looking one with its micro-blasted, galvanic-treated black plates and an openworked gunmetal rotor with straight brushed finishing. All in all, this movement will surely be a great upgrade compared to the usual outsourced ébauches… And yet it’ll be available at a very decent price.
Let’s talk about the first watch to receive the new calibre CMM.10, and it’s a new, slightly updated version of the Yema Superman Bronze. No major surprises here, as we find again the classic design of what’s probably the most emblematic French watch. The modern Superman is a cool, retro-styled watch with a typical skin-diver feel, not too instrumental, still relatively slender and meant to be worn underwater and on land. As often with Yema, this new edition of the Superman Bronze will be available in two sizes; 39mm with a 48mm L2L, and 41mm with a 49.5mm L2L, both having a height, excluding the crystal, of less than 11mm.
The case is presented entirely in bronze, including the bezel. It retains classic design elements of the model, with the pointy, elongated lugs, the cult (yet slightly controversial) bezel-lock device and thin guards framing a screw-down crown. The bezel is here matching the case, with a cool sunray-brushed surface and an engraved 60-minute scale – a luminous pearl marks the zero. The case is almost entirely matte finished, save for some nice polished bevels on the sides. It features a double-domed sapphire crystal on top and a see-through screwed back, allowing for a good view of the movement and still retaining a comfortable 300m water-resistance.
The Superman Bronze CMM.10 isn’t only offered in two sizes, but also in two colours. You’ll have the choice between a glossy lacquered black dial or a gradient dark blue dial. Both are no-date with painted markers and Superman hands (even though the shovel seconds hand has been replaced by a lollipop one), all filled with vintage-toned Super-Luminova. This clean dial proudly expresses the origin of the watch, with the “MANUFACTURE FRANÇAISE” signature at 6 o’clock.
Both are worn on a newly designed Tropic-like FKM rubber strap, with a curved/integrated shape next to the case. It’s available in blue or black to match the dial and is closed by a bronze pin buckle.
Availability & Price
The Yema Superman Bronze CMM.10 will be a limited edition of 1,948 pieces in total, with all versions (39mm/41mm, black or blue) offered at the same price. On that topic, as said above, Yema has decided to launch this new model and its CMM.10 calibre through a Kickstarter campaign, which will start on Friday 10 November 2023. And the price during the campaign is rather surprising since each version will be available for EUR 999 (excl. taxes) or EUR 1,199 (incl. EU taxes), while the retail price should have been EUR 1,790. Deliveries are expected in April-May 2024.