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Yema is a name that was born in 1948, created by Henry Louis Belmont, who was a graduate from the National Watchmaking School of Besancon in 1931. The name stayed until today and lingered very well, especially within the dive-watch community, synonymous with fine French horology.
Mr. Belmont created Yema, who specialized in the manufacturing well-built watches at an honest price (Gnomon's philosophy), which led the brand to take off during the 1960s. Some of them do ring a bell for vintage watch collectors, for instant, the 1960s Flygraf pilot chronograph (air), Rallygraf racing chronograph (land), and Yachtingraf regatta chronograph (sea). Further, let's not forget the one and only diver collection that stamps this French maestro into the watchmaking legacy- the legendary Superman diver.
|Yema Superman French Air Force Steel 39mm - Ltd Ed 1948pcs
Today, we like to introduce you to the latter that Yema had brought back from their archive, with specific French military origins in particular. Re-introducing the Superman collection that harkens back to the 1970s, where they supplied to Air Force pilots and Dive Rescuers, and what we have right here is yet another brand vintage-inspired model that links both sea and air altogether - the Yema Superman French Air Force 39mm Steel Limited Edition.
Before we get started, we like to point out that Yema truly focuses on its iconic diver to craft a faithful homage. They utilized 3D-modeling on an actual vintage Superman diver from that era during the design process's inception period.
This particular L.E is based on the 1977's Ref. 53.00.16. Essentially, a 300m water resistance diver, and the French Air Force edition is considered a direct re-issue of the famous diver Superman. Its true-to-size with a 39mm steel case that features straight pointy lugs for a better tool-watch appeal, while measures only with a lug to a lug distance of 48mm and 13mm thick. As a hybrid diver, the Superman French Air Force gets a full-satin case with 60-minute steel bezel markings that draw attention to military specifications. This aviation-diver pays tribute to the historic Superman traits with original aviation features.
|The French Air Force national insignia stamped on the crown|
Like the 60s and 70s model, the most iconic design feature of the Superman that sets it different from others is the locking device for the bezel, located at 3 o'clock, in-between the bezel and the crown.
As a piece of engineering, once the time set and the bezel rotated to the position one favors, the crown then locks the bezel with the locking device by having the crown screw back in. Simple yet effective to prevent any unnecessary movement on the bezel. And then there is the French Air Force national insignia that’s stamped on the crown under a crystal coating - a subtle nod to the camaraderie between the two entities.
The dial and handset is an ode to the past, even the exact same logo and the "shovel traffic-light" style secondhand. Notably, the handset is done in black PVD for a “ghost” look, where Yema coins them the military camouflage hands. This set of hands is set within a matte black dial that withheld Superman's gilt-hour markers in both round and block shapes. This aesthetic is the traits of the Maison’s 70s divers. All of which have been applied with SuperLuminova that glows well in low-light situations. All can be seen through a high-domed sapphire crystal that gives the retro charm while durability is at the forefront. With the effort to enhance the military theme, Yema has used a black date disk to display the date at 3 o ‘clock, while keeping a sleek look.
|Domed Sapphire crystal radiates the vintage charm of 70s divers|
Far simple and more staunch to the military theme, the white markers, logo, and texts contrast neatly with the printed dark red French Air Force logo. And incising the “dartboard” pattern national insignia at 6 o'clock that mirrors the crown one, have created a striking contrast against the matt black dial. On the reverse side of the watch, the 316L steel case back proudly displays the French Air Force crest beautifully embossed with a hydraulic press. Each piece is engraved with a unique number from 0001 to 1948, marking it as a collector’s version.
Yema did not stop at the case design; they intentionally recreated a 19mm anti-corrosion 316L stainless steel bracelet with satin-brushed finishing. The sports bracelet has a signed clasp with a divers extension to allow quick adjustment over a diving suit. This accompaniment completes the whole package, and it's downright perfect.
|Exact re-issue hour lame plots and handset|
Be surprised at the exquisite in-house movement, the MBP1000, which powers the Superman French Air Force. This French automatic calibre is built with 31 rubies, operates at 28 800 BPH (3 Hertz), and has a power reserve of approximately 45 hours. Entirely designed, developed, and assembled at Yema’s Morteau workshops in France, this self-winding movement is a novelty for the humble French watchmaker and dramatically elevates this timepiece's value.
Limited to 1948 pieces, the Superman French Air Force is a faithful modern re-issue that is a sort of hybrid watch that bridges both the aviation and nautical genres. Nearly identical to the famous dive watch from the French brand, this special edition imbued many elements that exude military spirit, accentuating the watch to be a highly legible and durable one, carrying a particular set of vintage-inspired cues from its past that lends it a modern classic.