Other Watchy Bits: Pierre Hedan, the Polheim Expedition, and the YEMA Superman 500 GMT

Twenty-five-year-old French explorer, Pierre Hedan, joins the likes of legendary race car driver Mario Andretti and world-renowned marine conservation activist, Hughues Vitry, as the latest ambassador of YEMA Watches.

The young sportsman and entrepreneur, who has already summitted the highest peaks in Africa (Kilimanjaro) and Europe (Mont Blanc), will pilot the Polheim Expedition to Antarctica this November. And on his wrist will be the YEMA Superman 500 GMT.

Pierre Hedan, The Polheim Expedition, and the YEMA Superman 500 GMT
Pierre Hedon in Lapland (Source)

Originally trained as an engineer, Hedan has always had a taste for adventure. At the age of only 17, he walked 80 kilometers from his home in Rennes to visit the port city of St. Malo in the northwest of France. But his taste for mountain adventure began much earlier from days spent at his grandparents’ home, hiking in the rugged Savoie region.

Pierre Hedan, The Polheim Expedition, and the YEMA Superman 500 GMT
Ascending Mont Blanc (Source)

His dreams of Antarctica surfaced in 2020, while training with polar guides in the Lapland area of Scandinavia. It was there he was bitten by the polar bug.

Hedan’s plan is to retrace the steps of famed Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who became the first man to reach the South Pole on December 14, 1911—five weeks ahead of British explorer Robert Falcon Scott. Amundsen and his team erected a tent while there and dubbed it “Polhiem”—which means “pole house” in the adventurer’s native tongue.

Amundsen and his team at Polheim (Source)

Hedan’s journey to Antarctica will take him more than 15 000km from his home in France to the coast of the polar continent. From there, he will trek 650 kilometers further, over forty days until he attains the pole. However, unlike Amundsen—who travelled with four others—Hedan will make the journey alone and without the aid of any motorized vehicles or sled dogs.


Supported from afar by a team of more than a dozen men and women, including engineers, dieticians, and medical professionals, Hedan will pull upwards of 120 kilograms of gear and supplies. He will ski an average of 12 hours a day and consume roughly 6000 calories to keep up his energy. Hedan will also need a minimum of six litres of water to stay hydrated daily, requiring him to melt over 125 liters of snow throughout the journey. During his stay, average temperatures in Antarctica will hover around -47◦ Celsius.

Pierre Hedan, The Polheim Expedition, and the YEMA Superman 500 GMT
The snows of Kilimanjaro (Source)

He, and his team, are hoping to perform medical research, study the optimization of resources and energies, and drive technical innovation. Afterward, they intend to hold workshops, seminars, and conferences at schools and businesses to raise awareness around energy conservation and climate action.


To train for the expedition, Hedan is spending 25 days trekking the Kungsleden—or “King’s Way”—in northern Sweden’s Lapland region. He will set out from Abisko with the goal of reaching Kvikkjokk in two weeks. He will then return to Abisko by the same route. During the northern adventure, he will test equipment and communication methods, as well as his personal fitness for the challenge ahead.

Pierre Hedan, The Polheim Expedition, and the YEMA Superman 500 GMT
The YEMA Superman 500 GMT @calibre321

Alongside numerous other enterprises, YEMA will be supporting Hedan, in part, with one of its latest creations—the Superman 500 GMT. The watch, which becomes available to the public tomorrow in three new colourways, is a beefed up version of the brand’s iconic Superman case. The 2.6mm crystal has been flattened to increase its strength, and the case back thickness has been increased from 1.5mm to 2.2mm—all in order to provide 500m of water resistance.

Pierre Hedan, The Polheim Expedition, and the YEMA Superman 500 GMT
Two-tone, 24-hour bezel @calibre321

A redesign of the bezel-lock system has also taken place in order to achieve better stability in the crown tube and add a 3BAR seal. Micro drilling under the bezel also allows for a more accurate alignment and smoother operation. Like the previous three iterations of the watch, the bezel uses a two-tone, 24-hour gradation, which will allow Hedan to distinguish day from night—as the sun will not set during his trek.

Pierre Hedan, The Polheim Expedition, and the YEMA Superman 500 GMT
500m water resistance @calibre321

Interestingly, while the robust diving GMT is primarily an instrument for tracking multiple time zones, it can also be used as a rudimentary, fail-safe navigational instrument. To distinguish the cardinal points while in the southern hemisphere, you can simply point the 12 o’clock position on the dial in the direction of the sun. The north-south axis will then fall halfway between the 12 o’clock marker and the hour hand.

Pierre Hedan, The Polheim Expedition, and the YEMA Superman 500 GMT
Powered by the YEMA3000 @calibre321

The Antarctic conditions will certainly be a test in extremes for YEMA’s new in-house movement, the YEMA3000, which promises accuracy to within +10/-10 seconds/day and a 42-hour power reserve.

Pierre Hedan, The Polheim Expedition, and the YEMA Superman 500 GMT
A French watch for a French explorer @calibre321

Watch sponsorship of such endeavours is nothing new. Rolex began distributing its watches to Everest expeditions as early as 1933. And whether you fall into camp Smiths, or camp Rolex, both watches made it to the summit of that mountain in 1953, thanks to Tenzig Norgay and Sir Edmond Hillary.

It seems only fitting that a French explorer would have a French watch at his wrist during such a polar adventure. If you wish to support Hedan, or follow his exploits, visit the Polheim Expedition website. If you wish to own a piece of this historic journey, visit YEMA watches on Monday morning.

Pierre Hedan, The Polheim Expedition, and the YEMA Superman 500 GMT
YEMA Superman 500 GMT @calibre321

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.

Other Watchy Bits include op-ed pieces and articles of general interest. We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section below.

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