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 1967, Yema patented a new watch for underwater and yachting use--the Yachtingraf. 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.
The 38mm case hits the perfect size for a vintage chrono, and the sedate black dial and bezel are spiced up by the tri-colored subdial. Ours, dating from the late 1960s, is from the second execution, and has a reliable Valjoux 7730 movement. The Yachtingraf is a handsome sports watch that manages to be fun without being too wild, and it’s the perfect do-anything watch.
Yachting watches have become very popular among collectors, which isn’t surprising given their quirkiness and sporting origins. The Yema is the perfect way to get one of these on your wrist without breaking the bank!
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