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Here’s one of the coolest watches that you’ve probably never seen. Yema may not be very well known today, but the once successful French company produced one of the coolest yacht timers to come out of the 1960s.
Yema is a relatively young brand, founded in France in 1948, but they quickly because extremely popular in their home country and are credited with creating the first automatic chronometers entirely manufactured in France. In 1966, Yema patented a new watch for underwater and yachting use- the Yachtingraf. With a with a 38mm steel case rated to 10ATM, the Yachtingraf occupied a unique place in the market, and quickly caught on with European sailing enthusiasts.
The red, white and blue sub-dial is a classic timer feature, with each segment marking a 5-minute period in the lead up to a regatta. In the 15 minutes leading up to a race, the boat skippers must gather behind the starting line at the first signal, vying with each other for the best position. The color-coding makes the chronograph easy for the skippers to read, letting them know how long until they can cross the start line, thus allowing them to plan the best course and eek out every bit of advantage.
Yema actually produced six different models of the Yachtingraf from 1966 to 1970, all of which were driven by the venerable Valjoux. This particular model is the Yachtingraf Croisière hailing from 1969 and is powered by the robust Valjoux 7736 manually-winding movement. The particular draw of these models was the inclusion of a 12-hour counter at 6:00 with a unique 'cross'-style sub-dial that increases the computing power to 24 hours - an excellent (and rare!) addition to a yachtingraf.
As far as we are concerned, a 38mm case is the perfect size for a vintage chrono, and the sedate black dial and bezel are the perfect canvas for the colorful sub-dials.
Yachting watches have become very popular among collectors, which isn’t surprising given their distinct looks and sporting origin. With killer looks and a thoroughbred movement, this one is a no brainer...
For a full breakdown of the Yema line, click on over to Heuerchrono, HERE.
Stainless Steel case is approximately 38mm (excluding crown). Manually-winding Valjoux 7736 chronograph movement. c. 1969.
Overall Condition: The watch is in excellent condition over all with no marks of note to the steel case. Lugs are thick and sharp, showing absolutely no signs of over-polishing. The original matte black dial is in good condition, showing some light signs of retouching near the 'Y' in Yema and the 'o' in Croisière. Colors on count-down and hour registers are bright and printing is crisp. Luminous material in the original hands show some light greenish patina typical with these models. Small paint chip visible on the hub of the sweep seconds hand. Black minutes bezel is in excellent condition. Pushers operate crisply and chronograph functions without flaw. Unsigned crown. Screw-down case back.
Includes one 19mm black Tropic-style strap and two 19mm nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.