Update February 2020: Yema Superman Mysterious Blue is sold out and discountinued from production.
You missed this opportunity, don't miss the next one: Yema Superman GMT
Vintage looking dive watches are gaining more and more traction these days. And we understand that - there is a certain emotional value of buying and wearing a vintage looking piece on your wrist.
Yema Superman Mysterious Blue certainly plays on the emotional card. Combinining vintage watch design with inhouse produced movement and history of being France's largest watchmaker gives strong reasons to consider buying this watch. For the rational ones - starting price is set below $700 and it is available through Yema's webshop.
But, not everything is perfect! Bracelet could be hard to exchange (difficult to put off / put on), lume is not on the level of Seiko and case glass is sapphire glass.
In our opinion, positive sides overcome the negative ones, especially considering the price range (below $700).
Yema watches tend to hold the price on the secondary market, so there should be a buyer waiting if you change your mind after the purchase
History of Yema starts after World War II, in 1948. Then 36 year old watchmaker, Henry Belmont (changed his last name from Blum), founded the company in Besançon, France.
Big breakthrough (but not the first) in company's history comes in 1963 with the introduction of Superman line. Specialized watch for divers was able to handle depths up to 300m. Another important detail is bezel stop that will become a trademark of Yema Superman watches since then.
Quality of the production was confirmed by getting a contract with French Air Force for equipping the pilots. 1960s' was marked by Yema in French watchmaking production as they became #1 manufacturer in the country.
With Henry Belmont stepping out of the business in 1982, the company sailed into a period of changing ownership (longest being Seiko, from 1988 to 2004).
in 2009, under the current owner (Montres Ambre), Yema produced their first inhouse movement mechanism. And recently they started with collaboration platform called Yema CoLabs which enables fans to directly influence the development of a watch.
Most important part of this Yema watch is that it is built around inhouse developed movement, Ambre MBP1000. Frequency is 28.800 A/h, and it incorporates 31 rubies and allows power reserve of 40h. As said, it is inhouse developed mechanism in Yema's workshops in Morteau, France.
Bezel is another element that makes this watch stand out. Bezel lock mechanism is Yema's signature concept in Superman line dive watches. It is placed on 3 o'clock mark, and enables securing against accidental movement of unidirectional bezel. Bezel movement is divided into 60 steps.
Case is made out of stainless steel, 40mm in diamater (48mm lug to lug) and 12.85 thick. Lugs are drilled and 20mm wide.
Dial is sunscreen blue, giving different reflection depending on the light environment. Date is placed at 3am position and the dial is covered with mineral crystal glass.
Seconds' hand is very prominent, with shovel like head (tribute to 1970s model). As expected in all dive watches, minute hand is very visible.
Water resistant: 30 BAR / 300m
Lume: Super-Luminova C3
As mentioned, trend with vintage looking dive watches is gaining pace, and Yema Superman Mysterious Blue rides the nostalgia wave. It is directly referencing old 1964 Yema Superman model (24.11.17) as the baseline of the design.
Tradition serves Yema Superman models well, as they were part of the standard equipment of France's Air Force pilots and since 1960s accepted in divers' circles.
Watch making mastery comes in the shape of inhouse built movement (MBP1000) and the way how the case was built with an attention to details that matter for divers. Frequency is standard, 28.800 A/h but the number of jewels is higher than in most models - 31.
All that enables that correction of the watch is reasonable, 1-2 seconds per day. Caliber MBP1000 has been reviewed and approved by CETEHOR (link in French), the French Watch Technical Laboratory.
Major selling point of the watch is visual experience that the changing color of the dial brings. Brushed blue dial can have black, metallic blue or navy blue reflection (so, now we know where the "Mysterious Blue" name came from) depending on the intensity and type of the light.
Combination of stainless steel case and brushed blue dial enable you to wear this watch as part of a very formal outfit. Actually, if you are looking for a watch that stands out in all occasions and invites comments from the people around you - then Yema Superman Mysterious Blue is definitely your choice.
Overall, dial was not made overcomplicated with details and is easily read in all situations. Remark goes to the part that is important for divers - deep water situations. Lume is not on the level of Citizen and Seiko dive watches, but it will be good enough for most night situations above surface.
Dials are chromed and very eye-catching. Minute hand is large with an arrow shape, and seconds hand uses iconic design of previous Yema models with specially designed head and red dot in it. Together with the case, dials provide a feeling of premium quality worn on the wrist.
Dimensions of Yema Superman (diameter 40mm, thickness 12.85mm) are within average for a dive watch. In case you have a smaller wrist, have in mind that lugs are bit longer than expected and the watch could feel loose, despite the reported dimensions.
Non-core elements are, unfortunately, not on the level with the main parts. Bracelet gives the feeling of an amateurish production. Bracelet tself (watch comes with a NATO strap, and 2 variants are available - black or khaki) is good quality, but the design of the clasp can give headache when managing it
To play in the premium category you have to make sure that all elements are well aligned and fit perfectly. Somehow, we got the feeling that this was not the case with the clasp design. It is not a complete showstopper, but it lowers the experience of owning it and you will have some second thoughts about buying this watch.
All well made details, mechanism, case and dials would justify the price of the watch itself - listed price is $690. The price is well below of some models from well known brands and it doesn't come second when we compare the feeling it gives.
Watch is available for purchase directly from the manufacturer. Yema is praised for their customer service and they are very active in bigger watch specialized forums. Any questions that you have, you can send directly to them.
As a standard option, they offer 2 year warranty with any purcashed watch from Yema. Not that it doesn't include the crystal, the bracelet and its buckle, the case and bezel surface treatment.
Link to Yema webshop: https://en.yema.com/products/
If you are looking for a vintage dive watch that stands out, has a great story behind and it is not massively commercialized - this watch, Yema Superman Mysterious Blue, is then a fantastic choice for you.
In the category of best dive watches under $700 - it would be in top 5 options that you should consider.
Author, contributor and marketer with interest in various topics. My first big interest are watches, especially vintage looking dive watches. Second pet project of mine is career consultancy for introverts (check it out at: costanza-rules.com). Reach out on Twitter or Facebook, let's have a chat!