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YEMA is one of the historic brands of French watchmaking. The creative brand of the mythical Yachtingraf and Spationaute is back after years of distraction, with successful designs, in-house mechanisms and ambitious partnerships.
Yema: the golden age of the 50s to the 80s
Before talking about their new collectionslet’s go back for a moment to the great years of YEMA, the time when their chronographs had nothing to envy their Swiss competitors: the 30 glorious.
Yema used, from the 1950s, high quality movements like the famous movement Valjoux 72, 7733, 7734, 7736, 7750which you find in Omega watches for example, or the movement Venus 150.
In 1953, YEMA was the first French brand to offer highly water-resistant watches like the famous Yema Submarine.
In 1968, the brand founded by Henry Louis Bermont launched the MeanGraf with its famous in-house movement the HP60 and 20 ATM water resistance.
In the 1970s, Yema launched the famous watch RallyGraf who accompanied many renowned racing drivers such as Mario Andretti.
Because of its technological advance, Yema developed for the European Space Agency the famous models Astronaut (I, II and III) which equipped the European astronauts in their various missions, such as for example the Frenchman Jean-Loup Chrétien during the Aragatz mission.
Finally, we will also mention the Flygrafa watch highly appreciated by airplane pilots for its “slide rule” which makes it possible to time the different phases of a flight.
All of these vintage Yema watches are highly sought after by collectors and vintage watch enthusiasts. A beautiful second-hand Yema can be found on the market today for between 500 and 5000€ and their prices are rising year after year. If you are interested, visit our selection of the best second-hand Yema currently available here: https://www.montres-bonnes-affaires.com/montre-occasion/yema . Depending on your budget, you can change the price ranges.
The 80s/2000s: Yema’s descent into hell
As is unfortunately often the case in many companies, Yema had a hard time coping with the departure of its founder, the brilliant Henry Louis Bermont.
His son sold the company to the MATRA group in 1982. MATRA began to “optimize” Yema productions (while releasing some beautiful models like the Spationaute III). In 1995, MATRA resold the brand to the Hattori group and the Yema brand then released models that I find soulless, uninspired and with industrial movements.
2004/2020: Yema’s big comeback
In 2004, Louis Eric Beckensteiner bought the brand and founded “Yema Maison Horlogère Française 1948”. He had the intuition to reposition Yema on these refined vintage designs and reissued prestigious models such as the Flygraf or the Rallygraf in very successful versions before reselling the brand to the current owner: the French group Amber Watches located in Morteau.
First of all, Yema reworks in-house movements such as the MBP1000 and especially the brand new Yema 2000 caliber which equips the French Air Force on the brand new Yema Superman. An interesting video on this new movement was produced by Yema:
The recent YEMA watches not to be missed.
If you want to discover recent Yema, here is a small selection according to your budget. You will find many other models and variations online, but if I had to offer you three, these models give you a good idea of the brand.
<300€: The YEMA Rallygraf Brown Panda
This very elegant and inexpensive model is a nice watch to consider. This picture is the model “Brown Panda – YMHF1572-UU” which you can easily find online. It is a reissue of the legendary Rallygraf watch which accompanied many Rally pilots.
<700€: The YEMA Superman Diving
Another beautiful reinterpreted vintage design, the Yema Superman YSUPII2019-ATPS is also available on this website.
<€700: the YEMA Navigraf Heritage watch
If you are more coastal license than rally driver or diver, then look at the very pretty Yema Navygraf Legacy also available online.
You will think of Marc Pajot who won the America’s Cup with a Yema on his wrist (the very beautiful Yema Régate).
A sign that Yema is back, the brand is once again signing prestigious partnerships: with the Air Force for the new Superman, but also with the CNES: Thomas Pesquet wore a Yema Spacegraf during his famous stay on the International Space Station in 2017.
Yema has released even more recent models, such as the very beautiful Air Force Superman, but I haven’t had it in hand yet, so this will be the occasion for a future article.
In conclusion, Yema is a French brand not to be forgotten if you are looking for a quality vintage chronograph or a recent watch with a vintage design.