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"Here’s one of the coolest watches that you’ve probably never seen."
At least, that's how we started the description for the LAST one of these we offered up for sale, which was just over a year ago. My, how times have changed!
Today, Yachtingrafs are hot to trot, whether branded by Yema or Lejour. A combination of features, ranging from their colorful dials, 38mm steel cases sans crown guards, 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), its easy to see why -- when discovered by the masses -- they simply blew up in value!
This particular model is the Yachtingraf Croisière dates to approximately 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 - an excellent (and rare!) addition to a Yachtingraf.
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 produced six different models of the Yachtingraf from 1966 to 1970, all of which can be read about it more detail over on Heuerchrono, HERE.
Stainless Steel case is approximately 38mm (excluding crown). Manually-winding Valjoux 7736 chronograph movement. Circa 1969.
Overall Condition: The case is in excellent condition over all with no noteworthy blemishes. 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. Rotating bezel is in excellent condition. Original case back and unsigned crown.
Includes one 19mm beige suede strap and two 19mm nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.