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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 till today and lingered very well especially within the dive-watch community, a name that is 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 era. Some of them do ring a bell for vintage watch collectors, for an 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 FAF Search and Rescue - Ltd Ed 1000pcs
In the early 1970s, the French Air Force called on YEMA to equip Aviation Rescue Swimmers who were part of Search And Rescue (SAR) crews. This was the very first collaboration between the French Air Force and YEMA and the starting point of a close relationship with the French armed forces. The model chosen was the mythical Superman reference 24.11.17, renowned for its robustness and its 990 feet / 300 meters water resistance, all technical characteristics perfectly meeting the strict military specifications.
Since this first collaboration and almost 50 years later, many other Superman models were used by the French Air Force, making of the YEMA Superman a unique and versatile French military tool watch over the years. Today, we like to introduced you Yema’s tribute to the Superman diver made for the French Air Force. The brand reintroduced the Superman collection and what we have right here is the true vintage-inspired model; the Yema Superman FAF Search And Rescue Ref. YAA22-39-GMS.
Before we get started, we like to point out that Yema truly focus on the brand’s iconic diver to craft a faithful homage.They in fact use 3D-modeling on an actual vintage Superman diver from that era during the inception period of the design process.
|Yema's signature locking device for the bezel|
Faithful to its predecessor, the 300m water resistance Yema Superman Heritage Blue is a direct reissue of their famous diver Ref. 24.11.7 that features the unique matte blue dial, with a unisex-size 39mm steel case, featuring straight pointy lugs but still keeping the original lug to lug distance of 48mm, and 13mm thick.
Just like the 1960s 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.
How it works? Basically it was a piece of engineering where once the time is set and bezel rotated to the position one favours, 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.
|Domed Sapphire crystal radiates the vintage charm of 70s divers|
The matte blue dial and unique handset is ode to their past with the same quirky three dimensional applied metal-blocks, logo and down to the “traffic-light” style second hand. Speaking of the hour markers, the original 1970s Superman reference 24.11.17 iconic blue dial came in fact came with two distinct applied hour markers: Rectangular-style baton indexes and "U-shaped" hour markers. This last singular hour markers shape makes this Superman dial definitively unique. It offers more perspective, slightly increased dial depth and when looked at sideways on an angle, thanks to the crystal's double dome curvature, gives the appearance that the hour markers are beautifully sloping downwards inside the watch case. All of which are applied with luminous that glows well in low-light situations. All can be seen through a high-domed sapphire crystal that gives the retro charm while with durability at forefront.
The Yema Superman FAF is powered by the Swiss Sellita SW200-1, boasting 38 hours power reserve that beats at 28,800bph, letting one to enjoy the smooth sweeping seconds. All these are protected thoroughly under a solid screwed-in caseback. The 316L stainless steel case-back proudly displays France's Air & Space Force logo. Each timepiece is engraved with a unique number from 0001 to 1000 for this Limited Edition.
|Exact re-issue hour lame plots and handset|
Yema did not stop at the case design, they intentionally recreated the original sports steel bracelet with alternating brushed and polished middle surfaces.. This accompaniment completes the whole package and its downright perfect.
In all, the Superman FAF is a true modern re-issue that is nearly identical to the vintage model, with few major upgrades like the improvements of the case finishing and movement. This collector’s edition limited to 1,000 timepieces are available to both the military and the general public, a reissue of the first Superman model which equipped the French Air Force Aviation Rescue Swimmers in the early 1970s. What’s more intriguing is the significant parallel between this reissue and the vintage model is the price. Like the vintage model, both are legit tool watch that offered a good value for those willing to venture outside the usual suspects in the market.