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Today, Yachtingrafs are imminently desirable, whether branded by Yema or its U.S.-based distributor, LeJour. A combination of features, ranging from their colorful dials, 39mm steel cases, rotating outer bezels, high quality Valjoux movements, and obscure nautical functionality, clearly add to their appeal. With dimensions and design similar to some of the 60s Chronograph "Greats" (such as the first execution Heuer Autavia and Ed White Speedmaster), it's easy to see why.
Yema is a relatively young brand, founded in France in 1948, but they quickly became 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 39mm steel case rated to 10ATM, the Yachtingraf occupied a unique place in the market, and quickly caught on with European sailing enthusiasts.
This particular model, the Yachtingraf, dates to approximately 1966 and is powered by the robust Valjoux 7733 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. 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.
With near-perfect case proportions and a rugged appearance, this is a killer yachting timer from a great (however unsung) brand that's the perfect option for the collector who wants a chronograph that's different from the norm.
Stainless steel case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown and pushers). Valjoux Caliber 7733 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa late 1960s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition, with sharp bevels on the lugs and no signs of over-polishing. Case does have signs of use and wear in keeping with its age, including some scratches and tool marks on the sides of the case and on the lugs. Dial is in very good condition overall but does show signs of age, including overall patina, particularly in the regatta timer at 3 o'clock, and in the luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands. Yema signed crown; Yema case back has some deep tool marks but is in otherwise good condition.
Includes one 19mm tan Analog/Shift strap and two 19mm straps from Crown & Buckle