The Yema Yachtingraf
A Bold, Sea-Worthy Chronograph From the 1960s Returns
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French watchmaker Yema is not well-known outside of enthusiasts circles, where their vintage pieces are considered both iconic and great value for money, but the brand is still manufacturing timepieces today. In fact, it’s Yema’s 70th anniversary, and the company celebrating with a series of super-accurate reissues of some of its most iconic vintage models. We’ve already seen this with the brand’s Superman Heritage, but now Yema is reviving the Yachtingraf, an old-school regatta chronograph with a hell of a lot of charm.
Yema introduced the Yachtingraf in the late ’60s, and it was notable for its bold minutes register. The colorful scale within actually has a particular purpose: in a regatta, a five-minute countdown is required before the race, and the scale makes it easy to read off minutes on the chronograph function in five-minute intervals. I don’t doubt that very few people reading this would actually use the regatta counter for its intended purpose (though if you do, kudos to you and your sweet yacht), but the red-white-and-blue register undoubtedly looks cool as hell.
Like the Superman Heritage, this new reissue remains fairly faithful to the original. The colorful registers remain intact, as does the rotating bezel. Even the case is just 39mm wide, only a smidge bigger than the 38mm original, and it’s still water-resistant to 100 meters. There is one major departure, though: an automatic Valjoux 7750 replaces the original watch’s manual-winding Valjoux caliber. Given that the 7750 is well-known for its chunky proportions, the resulting watch is a bit over 15mm thick.
Still, this is an excellent execution of a classic design, and the best part is that it’s relatively reasonably priced: you can pick it up for just $3,274, though Yema will only produce 1,948 examples.