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Over the course of the past few years, there has been an unprecedented renaissance of vintage reissues. Building upon and improving models from what many consider to be the golden age of horology has become a significant portion of the modern market. While it seems like the majority of these releases focus upon dive and sport models of the past, YEMA has recently announced the reintroduction of its dress-watch lineup, dubbed the Wristmaster. This heritage lineup exudes charm and captures an air of charisma that is often limited to watches of a bygone era. The marriage of modernity and meticulous execution makes for a compelling time-traveler from the YEMA backlog.
With origins dating back to 1948, YEMA was founded by the pioneering French watchmaker Henry Louis Belmont. Despite humble beginnings, the company went on to become quite prominent and gained notoriety through the creation of models built to handle the most rigorous of undertakings. In 1964, the Superman diver featured a lockable, rotating bezel and water resistance to a highly competitive 300m depth. As if conquering the ocean wasn’t enough, YEMA has the honor of creating the first French watch used in the vastness of space and the inhospitably frigid glaciers of Antarctica. While these accomplishments are hallmarks in the organization’s history, for every tool watch that was produced, there was equal focus on the more “everyday” models to appeal to the consumer majority. This is exactly where the Wristmaster fits in.
Expanding upon designs first introduced in the 1960s, YEMA’s Wristmaster Adventurer series consists of a duo of neo-vintage-inspired timepieces. Measuring in at a comfortably sized 37mm in diameter and accompanied by a lug-to-lug measurement of 48mm, they harken back to a time of simplicity and function-forward aesthetics. A total thickness of 12mm ensures a svelte profile that can readily slip under any cuff. With a keen eye for authenticity, the implementation of old-school crosshair dials and double-domed hesalite crystals further solidify the retro charm packed into the conservative and capable Wristmaster.
This Wristmaster iteration is available with two different dial colors: a semi-glossy dark blue or a creamy beige. The highly polished hands and raised, silver indices are accented with Super-LumiNova BGW9. This inclusion of lume, coupled with a water resistance of 100m and the fully brushed 316l Stainless Steel case adds a utilitarian aspect to the Wristmaster Adventurer. Despite being a functionally straightforward three-hander, it exudes a vibe of readiness and durability. This is a watch built to handle day-to-day tasks with ease but prepared to tackle any situation life may throw your way.
Where the Adventurer models double-down on an almost spartan simplicity and timeless design straight out of the 1960s, the new Wristmaster Traveller pulls cues from an era two decades beyond. Designed by YEMA’s Managing Director and Head of Design, Christopher Bôle, the Traveller represents an original take on a modern sports model. The smoothed-out, octagonal shape of the 316L Stainless Steel case flows smoothly into a delightfully retro-futuristic bracelet. The chosen style of the case and bracelet lines, accompanied by the decision to truly integrate the bracelet, makes the Traveller into a cohesive package exponentially cooler than any individual part.
From a head-on view, the Traveller has a handful of quirky details that add to the undeniable charm. The utilization of the scalloped bezel is a throwback to some of YEMA’s models from a decade when acid-washed jeans and arcades were a part of everyday life. The diameter of 39mm provides decent wrist presence, but the more important measurement for this model is the lug-to-lug of 43.5mm. This relatively short distance allows the bracelet to shine – and given the way it complements the overall design, this was a deliberate decision on behalf of YEMA. The glossy black dial contrasts well with the Old Radium Super-LumiNova utilized on the large dot-and-dash lume plots and bold hands. Color-matching the 3 o’clock date wheel helps it to blend seamlessly into the obsidian depth of the dial, making it functional without distracting from the overall effect. Perhaps the greatest detail of all — which is included on all three of the aforementioned models — is the decision to include the spectacularly retro “Wristmaster” text boldly scrawled across the lower portion of the dial. With a model name as bold as Wristmaster, this is the way.
Powering every Wristmaster model is the YEMA2000 in-house caliber automatic movement. This 29-jewel powerhouse is designed, developed, and produced in France. The power reserve of 42 hours ensures that your watch will continue to run even if your Wristmaster is relegated to a brief break off-wrist. To launch the nouveau Wristmaster lineup, YEMA made the decision to take advantage of the Kickstarter platform. For “early-bird” buyers, The Adventurer and Traveller models will be available for purchase on November 15th, with a price of €399 and €499, respectively. Included with each purchase is YEMA’s first book compiling the company’s vast horological history and cataloging a multitude of models. If you find yourself enraptured by the je ne sais quoi of the Wristmasters, there is no time like the present to head over to the launch page and get in line for these neo-vintage novelties.
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