The Yema Superman Heritage

A Vintage French Dive Watch Is Reborn — and It Costs Less Than You Think


June 19, 2018 Watches By

As demand for vintage watches continues to grow with seemingly no end in sight, modern watchmakers are taking note, doing their damndest to offer modern recreations of some of their iconic vintage models. But while vintage reissues are nothing new, concessions usually need to be made. For one, case sizes are usually bumped up to accommodate modern movements and satisfy wearers who don’t like small case sizes. Secondly, the slightly imperfect details that were the hallmarks of manufacturing back in the 20th century are not always easily replicated with modern techniques, and when they are perfectly recreated, they often come at a lofty price.

So leave it to a forgotten watchmaker to come out of nowhere and offer a one-for-one remake of a vintage dive watch at an affordable price. Yema, once upon a time a French watchmaking powerhouse, is, unbeknownst to many, still in business and celebrating its 70th anniversary with a host of vintage reissues. The latest is a recreation of the Superman, which when it debuted in 1963 was one of the earliest divers to feature a 300-meter depth rating and a locking bezel mechanism (a bracket at 3 o’clock held in by the screw-down crown). Though it was a dive watch, the Superman was eventually issued to pilots in the French Air Force.

The modern model you see here isn’t a recreation of the original 1963 reference, but rather an iteration from 1970. Specs remain authentic to the original: the 39mm case, complete with pointed lugs, was designed using 3D modeling to imitate the original with changes made only to accommodate the modern ETA automatic movement inside. Other details, like a domed mineral glass crystal (sapphire is available at an additional cost), a five-link bracelet and a dial with printed numerals cinch the old-school look.

The best part is that this will not cost an astronomical amount of money: The new Superman Heritage will start at $1,098 (995 Eurs), while the sapphire crystal version will cost $1325 (1145 Euros). Its available for pre-order now, with product said to be shipping at the end of June. And while you have to navigate Yema’s French website to put your order in, as the English version is temporarily out of order, the brand will fortunately ship to the US, and offers a virtual assistant to answer any questions in English.

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