The YEMA Navygraf FSM Bronze celebrates 50 years since the founding of France’s Force océanique stratégique (FOST), which began with the construction of the 1972 Redoutable class submarine. Originally released exclusively to crew members as a Special Edition of only 50 pieces, the FSM is now open to the public for pre-order.
The 38.5mm brushed bronze case (also available in stainless steel) is tidily sized—in almost vintage dimensions—to fit the majority of wrists. At only 46mm lug to lug, with a slight downward swoop of the case, it manages to hug the wrist, despite its tall, double-domed sapphire crystal, which increases the 11.3mm case thickness to 14.1mm. Effort has also been made to colour-match the bronze tone of the case to the dial indices and the line of “Navygraf” text beneath company name. Brand literature claims that the black dial is also reflective of the hue used on the hull of FOST’s nuclear submarines. While I have never seen a French submarine in person, certainly the black used on the dial is deep enough to get lost in.
In the few short weeks that I have had to peruse the prototype, the bronze has already begun to develop a unique patina—moving from an almost gold tone to a coppery brown sheen. Interestingly, bronze is also a material used in several mechanical components aboard submarines, including the flush blocks which control the vehicle’s ability to resurface, the fast flush control, and certain sections of the torpedo tubes.
Next to the straightforward finishing of YEMA’s Superman cases, the bronze used in the construction of the Navygraf FSM is a mix of vertical brushing on the majority of the case, circular brushing on the bezel, and a finely polished bevel along the lugs. The 6.5mm crown is nicely machined to match the coin edge of the 120-click bezel. The cap is embossed with FOST’s anchor logo and cozily ensconced between a pair of slender crown guards. The bezel is divided into 60-minute graduations, indicated on the fives, with a luminescent pearl marker at the 12 position.
The watch, inspired by a 1970s Navygraf reference, has a very vintage feel about it, particularly with the curved “smiley” line of text above the 6 o’clock position. I particularly like the fine red pip at the end of the seconds hand, which interrupts the otherwise two-tone agenda. Aside from being functional for a dive watch, it engenders a touch of sophistication. And, well, what can be said about a YEMA dome that has not already been lauded here and elsewhere?
With its stainless steel screw-down caseback (also embossed with the FOST’s logo), its screw-down crown, and its 3mm thick sapphire dome, the Navygraf FSM promises 300m of water resistance.
Behind that dark dial and glorious dome, you will find the in-house YEMA2000 calibre, vibrating away at 28 8000bph and a daily rate of +/-10 seconds/day. The YEMA2000 also provides 42 hours of power reserve. The version employed here is also a “no-date,” eschewing the need for a ghost date on the crown.
The hands and dial markers—along with aforementioned bezel pip–are treated with C1 Swiss Super-LumiNova.
The Navygraf FSM comes with a choice of strap which includes the 1960s Tropic-style featured here. It has been designed specifically for YEMA from Thermoplastic Polyurethane. The rubber-like material is comfortable on wrist and relatively flexible. It comes with matching bronze hardware.
If Tropics aren’t your thing, you can choose the French Marine Nationale, fashioned from elastic webbing.
46mm Lug to Lug
11.3mm Thick (14.1mm /w dome)
19mm Lug Width
Screwed Caseback & Screw-down Crown
120-lick Uni-directional Bezel
300m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Double-Domed Sapphire Crystal|
42-Hour Power Reserve
|Strap||Marine Nationale Parachute Strap |
YEMA Tropic strap /w Bronze Hardware
YEMA Navygraf FSM Bronze
The French Strategic Oceanic Force (FOST) was founded on March 1st, 1972 and today is an important naval component of the Marine Nationale’s Submarine Forces. More than 4,000 sailors, military personnel, and civilians work together to operate the nation’s four ballistic missile nuclear submarines (SNLE) and six nuclear attack submarines (SNA), alongside numerous support units. The mission of the FSM sailors is one of deterrence. Each nuclear sub leaves its home port discreetly and must remain undetected for the duration of its voyage, while also remaining vigilant and ready—at a moment’s notice—to launch a nuclear strike.
The prototype demonstrates an uneven application of lume betwixt the watch hands and its indices. The markers—and the bezel pip—glow much more brightly. Difficult to say whether this will transfer into the finished product. The lug width is also 19mm, which will limit strap choices to some degree.
While the YEMA Navygraf FSM is a purpose-built military timepiece, it has a complexity in its case finishing that is a cut above the average toolwatch. There is a uniformity about its design, as well—and not just in its usage of colour. The pencil-style hands work very well with the exclamation point markers. The vintage “Navygraf” script is a perfect choice for the retro styling, and the curved “Forces Sous-Marines” is a definite nod to its 70s heritage. While I am sure that you could make an interesting two-tone piece with the addition of any 19mm YEMA bracelet, I really like that this watch is sold with on a strap. It reinforces its role as an instrument. The custom Thermoplastic Polyurethane feels like a well-built band, but I suspect it would look just as good on the Marine Nationale which, from a historical perspective, is an excellent choice. It was, after all, French sailors in the 70s who fashioned the earliest single pass straps from parachute material. I am also glad to see that YEMA continue to show faith in the second generation of their in-house calibre, the YEMA2000, after opting for Sellita movements in several releases earlier this year. Overall, the Navygraf FSM Bronze is an excellent addition to their Navygraf line.
The FSM Bronze retails from $1190USD. For more information, please visit the brand website.
About the author
Brent Robillard is a writer, educator, craftsman, and watch enthusiast. He is the author of four novels. You can follow him on Instagram.
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7 thoughts on “Off the Cuff: YEMA Navygraf FSM Bronze”
This is a brilliant article.
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well written, pleasant to read. Thanks! It would be nice to have a follow-up/ comparison with the final product 🙂
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Great write-up on what is an incredible bronze watch from Yema.
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This one was joy to wear
Love the curved style of presentation on the “Forces Sous-Marines” and all other ones Yema does that in such as the Wristmaster. Adds a lot of design charm!
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I agree. Love the placement