INTRODUCING: The new Yema Superman Bronze collection debuts two new in-house calibers, with fresh dials in a strong combination of steel and bronzeThor Svaboe
The Yema Superman is a strong vintage diver, with two selling points that should be a wake-up call for other brands, starting with an obvious and rather rhetorical question: When you go out to buy a pair of jeans with your slimmer and shorter mate (speaking for myself here), do you buy the exact same size? If the answer happens to be no, then look at the Superman range from Yema, specifically the all-new Yema Superman Bronze collection.
Yema is a small, proudly French brand with a strong following, yet they have understood the basics … we have different wrists. Really? When my mate Bob can wear a 45mm chunky long-lugged tool watch with ease, on me it looks like a bear balancing on a twig. Yema knows this and, lo and behold, gives you a choice of 39 or 41mm in the Superman range. Pure genius. Add a French manufactured in-house movement by Yema and, voilà, two top points scored even before looking at the new versions, launched in a limited edition this week to celebrate the 1948 foundation of the company. Yema is launching four references with their new 2000 and 3000 caliber on Kickstarter this week in the Yema Superman Bronze collection, offering a choice of vintage-perfect dial colours and a tough, yet svelte, case in steel and bronze.
The Yema Superman Steel Bronze
The first version is the tough vintage tool diver, the Steel Bronze 3-hander instantly recognised as a Superman but with a golden twist. The tough brushed steel case has the pure skin diver look of a very slim case topped by a solid looking bezel, completely changing the Superman vibe by being in solid bronze. There’s a tough and rustic vibe at play, creating an association to the dangerous profession of helmeted deep divers of the early part of last century.
What sets a Superman apart is their large bezel lock, here, along with the large crown, cast in the golden glow of bronze, becoming part of your personality as it develops patina over time. The case side has Yema’s classic organic sweep of line as it turns sharply into pointy crown guards for that lovely chunk of a crown.
Yema has picked a duo of spot-on dial colours, with a dark grey, and that deep forest green, which is the couleur du jour. No fauxtina here, but fresh white Super-LumiNova on a classic skin diver dial. A time check in the murky depths of the ocean is made easy with the obligatory triangle at 12, circular lume plots for hours, and rectangles at 6 and 9.
A welcome match for the bronze dial comes in sharp golden sword and arrow diver hands, and a very welcome pop of colour in their classic shovel-end seconds hand, a nod to the 1963 original. Don’t be fooled by a pretty face and gilt hands though, the tool watch street cred is unassailable with a tough 2.6mm box-style sapphire, and a 300m depth rating, in this 13mm thick case.
The Yema Superman GMT Bronze
The second version of the refreshed range, is the Yema Superman GMT Bronze, of the same case dimensions as the Steel Bronze, and the same customer-friendly 39 or 41mm cases. But, here is the sell-in: the GMT Bronze includes small yet razor-sharp details that put this several steps up from the competition, in a full brushed bronze case. This has a proper tool vibe, sans unnecessary bevels and frills, and will start you on a patina journey, from matt brownish-grey accents appearing, through to a greenish tint should you venture into salt water, all the while infusing it with your own history and adventures. The dial on the GMT is a fresh gradient grey or blue, with killer details. If you manage to secure this on the Kickstarter campaign, it is easily the best gilt dial for less than $1500AUD anywhere … it is that good. The indices are the same as on the Steel Bronze in shape, but with gilt surrounds, applied rather than printed, and filled with Super-LumiNova.
The handset is the same golden perfect trio, but the date window has also got a gilt frame, with the text seeming thicker in texture, while the outer minute track against the rehaut is also gilt. And to finally be able to use the French term pièce de résistance on a French watch, the black GMT hand with a bright red lumed arrow tip. Yes, this is a proper GMT. The 3000 caliber is Yema’s new in-house caliber based on the 2000, with an accompanying black sapphire 24-hour bezel insert, rotating to allow for three time zones. This has got silver print, and works as a perfect counterpoint to the warmth of the bronze, still with the same bezel lock – not so necessary here, but we love it anyway, a staple on all Superman watches since the 1963 original. These limited editions all come in a leather travel case along with both hand-stitched leather and tropic straps. It’s excellent value.
Both 2000 and 3000 calibers are automatic, with a reliable +/- 10secs a day and a 42-hour power reserve, and is an evolution of Yema’s established MBP1000 movements. The GMT version is, at this launch price, on the verge of being the best-value vintage GMT today, and solidifies this position when you include the in-house movement. How Yema manages to launch these — which, with the 39mm/41mm choice, is eight new references for the price — constitutes absolute value, and with a focus on detail, purpose and proportion we seldom see. The future is coming, but it is still vintage.
Yema Superman Bronze collection price and availability:
The Yema Superman Steel Bronze is available for €454, and the Yema Superman GMT Bronze is available for €624. For more details, visit their Kickstarter page right here.