Off the Cuff: YEMA Superman Worldtime

The YEMA Superman Worldtime builds on the reputation of its “indestructible” Superman Heritage dive watch (a near perfect reproduction of the 1963 icon), and more recently on the ETA-powered Superman Heritage GMT (2019). The main difference here–other than colourways–is the introduction of the YEMA 3000, an all-new in-house GMT movement from the brand.

The vintage stylings, coupled with bold new horological daring, might make the Worldtime one of the most attractive, affordable GMTs on the market.

YEMA Superman Worldtime GMT Steel Microbrand Watch Review
YEMA Superman Worldtime GMT Steel @calibre321

The model shown here comes in a svelte 38mm package, but is also available in a 41mm version. The case is primarily brushed 316L stainless steel with a circularly brushed steel bezel. In combination with the GMT movement, the etched, uni-directional 24-hour bezel allows for the tracking of up to three time zones. It is 48mm lug-to-lug and 13.7mm thick, including its double-domed sapphire crystal. Like the original Superman, the Worldtime offers 300 meters water resistance. The signed crown is screwed down and coupled with YEMA’s trademark bezel-locking mechanism. The caseback is attractively embossed with the brand’s ornate heraldic emblem.

The dial is matte black with oversized white markers–what they call their “Maxi dial.” Its iconic shovel hands, and all indices, are treated with BGW9 Swiss Super-LumiNova–as is the pip located inside the triangle marker at zero hour on the bezel. These characteristics make the Worldtime highly legible both day and night.

YEMA Superman Worldtime GMT Steel Microbrand Watch Review
Maxi Dial @calibre321

The highlight of this piece, however, is the aforementioned in-house movement–the YEMA 3000. Along with the YEMA 2000 (a three-hand movement), the YEMA 3000 marks the second generation of the company’s in-house calibres. The MBP 1000–launched a decade earlier–was the first. This new GMT movement was designed, developed, and assembled in France. It is adjusted to four positions and offers hours, minutes, sweeping seconds, and a 2nd time zone. It also has a quick set date. Self-reported improvements to the first generation of movement include the hairspring regulator, reversing wheels, and the finishing of the calibre’s rotor. The YEMA 3000 first appeared in the Kickstarter-funded limited edition Superman GMT Bronze, but the Worldtime is the first catalogue watch to be fitted with it.

YEMA Superman Worldtime GMT Steel Microbrand Watch Review
Powered by the In House YEMA3000 @calibre321

Clock Me Tender has an excellent and thorough review of the movement itself, for those who are interested.

Finally, the Worldtime comes standard on a stainless steel bracelet. The clasp is signed with the brand’s logo and has a practical diver’s extension. The finish, like that of the case, is brushed and has a refined, ‘toolish’ appearance. It tapers quickly from 23mm at the lugs to 16mm at the clasp.

YEMA Superman Worldtime GMT Steel Microbrand Watch Review
Tapering Stainless Steel Bracelet @calibre321

SPECS

Case 316L Stainless Steel
39mm Diameter
48mm Lug to Lug
13.7mm Thick
19mm Lug Width
300m Water Resistance
Signed, Screwed-Down Crown
Uni-directional Brushed Steel Bezel, 24-Hour
w/ Locking Mechanism
Embossed Caseback
Crystal & DialDouble-domed Sapphire
Matte Black Dial
Over-sized Markers
BGW9 Super-LumiNova
MovementYEMA 3000 In-House Calibre
Automatic GMT
29 Jewels
28 800bph
Date at 3 o’clock
42-Hour Power Reserve
Strap316L Brushed Stainless Steel Bracelet
Signed Clasp w/ Diver’s Extension
YEMA Superman Worldtime (also available in 41mm)
YEMA Superman Worldtime GMT Steel Microbrand Watch Review
Superman Case with Bezel Lock @calibre321

Of Interest

The first YEMA Superman was released in 1963. Originally, it was produced for diving professionals. However, the company went on to create numerous iterations of the timepiece. For three consecutive years in the 1960s, YEMA was the largest exporter of French watches. In the 1970s, they became the official timepiece of the French Air Force’s Helicopter Rescue Divers. YEMA watches have been worn in space, at the North Pole, and by Formula 1 driver Mario Andretti. By 1982, when the brand was sold, it was producing more the 2 million watches a year. YEMA has switched ownership on several occasions since then–having been acquired by Seiko for a time (known also as their Hattori Period)–but now resides in independent French hands, again. And since 2020, YEMA has once more begun to supply the French Air Force.

YEMA Superman Worldtime GMT Steel Microbrand Watch Review
Source: by Henry Louis Belmont – Montres Ambre S.A. (France) owner of YEMA watch brand, CC BY-SA 4.0

Quibbles

The 38mm version of the Worldtime, is for me, the perfect watch size. However, while its tapered lugs are ideally proportioned–aesthetically speaking–the 19mm lug width is an awkward size for bracelets and straps. This will somewhat limit after-market choices.

I also think buyers should be conscious of the male end links which, while offering visual continuity between the case and bracelet, also artificially extend the lug to lug measurement. And for this price bracket, I think a push button release on the clasp would have been a thoughtful inclusion.

Final Thoughts

The development of in-house movements carries a price tag. It has been reported that YEMA invested €3 million in R&D for the first generation MBP1000. They enlisted crowdfunding for the most recent iterations. But this marks a bold move for the brand and an effort to secure pricing and availability into the future. This is a company whose vision is far from myopic. They aren’t just looking at the next watch, but at the next generation of watches to come.

YEMA, unlike most independent watchmakers, has a vast catalogue upon which to draw and to build and they have made advantageous use of it. The Worldtime pulls from their rich diving heritage. The faithfully recreated Superman case exudes a toolish elegance that is at once practical and stylish in its stark sobriety. This is highlighted by its almost entirely brushed surfaces. The double-domed box crystal elicits just the right amount of playful distortion and the triptych use of red (on the GMT hand, in the pip of the shovel seconds, and in the ‘Worldtime” script) is staid class.

At $1190USD, the Worldtime is an affordable and sophisticated choice among caller GMTs. For more information, visit the brand website.

YEMA Superman Worldtime GMT Steel Microbrand Watch Review
YEMA Superman Worldtime GMT Steel @calibre321

Off The Cuff articles are full-length, hands-on reviews of the watch (or strap…) in question and represent the opinion of the author only. All photos are original, unless specified otherwise. If you would like to have your watch reviewed on this site, contact us here.

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