Yema was founded in 1948 by Henry Louis Belmont after he came top of his class at the National Watchmaking School of Besancon in 1931. The legend goes that the name Yema was created by a teenager's imagination who entered a competition run by Henry. 1963 saw the introduction of the Yema Superman, essentially made for dive professionals. It had a 300-meter water resistance. Its bezel lock system made it unique and was soon adopted by the French Air force for its pilots. In the 1960s, Yema became the leading watch exporter in France, selling more than 500,000 watches a year in over 50 countries. In 1982 Yema went to space with Yema Spationaute 1.
The Sous-Marine is French for Submarine. Many brands used Sous-Marine on their dials during the 1960s and 70s, like Huf Prestige, Kelbert, Bernwatch, Magador, and Edma Super. They may not be as recognised as the Super Compressors from Longines, O&W, Universal Geneve, and Bulova, but they are well built and deserve some attention. They also experimented with some exciting dial configurations.
Our 1970s YEMA Sous-Marine "Tomahawk" has a 40.5mm stainless steel round case, flowing lines end with stubby lugs. A lug to lug length of 47mm and a thickness of 14.5mm gives the watch an impressive wrist presence. On the right side, pump pushers and a signed crown. The stainless steel friction fit bezel has an attractive Bakelite 60-minute insert with lume at 12, an excellent addition that makes it stand out from the crowd. A domed crystal sits above a brown fume dial that transforms from dark to light as you rotate your wrist. An outer Tachymetre scale is finely printed. Applied double baton block indexes with lume down the center marking the hours. At 3 o’clock, a 30-minute register stretched to fit inside the “Tomahawk” shape, and at 9 o’clock, a 60-second register. The distinctive shape of the registers is a stand-out feature. Broad baton hands have lume tips complemented by an arrow point chronograph hand. At 6 o’clock, a framed date window. Text is simply printed at 12 “YEMA” at 6 “SOUS-MARINE”. On the reverse, a screw-down case back with the reference number engraved in the center. Inside a Manually Wound Valjoux 7734, 17 jewels, 18,000 beats per hour. A true workhorse of a chronograph produced in Switzerland until 1974. The top pusher activates Start/Stop, and the bottom pusher Resets. The watch comes fitted on a 20mm leather racing strap.
Points of Mention
This watch is sold as "Watch Only" and therefore comes with no original YEMA box or paperwork. The watch comes paired on a well-suited rally leather strap. The watch is from Circa. 1970s and is sold in worn, vintage condition, wear is visible but overall the watch is in fantastic condition for the age. The watch comes with our 12-Months Non-Waterproof Warranty.