The Return of a Classic—Introducing the Yema Superman Héritage

Yema may not be a household name, but it does have a cult following in vintage collector circles. The brand was started in 1948 by French watchmaker Louis Belmont, and in the time since Yema has existed in one form or another, even being owned by Seiko for 20 or so years. Today, Yema is back under French ownership, and to celebrate the firm’s 70th anniversary this year, Yema has released a heritage edition of their most well-known model, the Superman dive watch.

The Superman debuted back in the ’60s. While not groundbreaking in its design, it is undoubtedly a great looking diver with a bit of distinctive flair. With that said, the Superman does have one element that is unique—the bezel lock system. This system consists of a small, L-shaped metal clamp that slides over the crown tube and sits atop the bezel pressing against it. When the crown is screwed down, it locks the clamp onto the bezel and keeps the bezel from being inadvertently turned.

The unidirectional bezel with bezel lock, which is housed between large, pointed crown guards and an unsigned, oversized crown.

The Superman Héritage is a faithful reproduction of the vintage model—bezel lock and all. The stainless steel case comes in at 39 millimeters wide and 14 millimeters thick, a great size for the small-wrist faction. This is another case (no pun intended) where thankfully the size was not scaled up to unwieldy proportions.

The black dial features a classic Submariner layout, with Super-LumiNova dots, bars, and triangle at 12, and there’s a date window at three. The lume-filled handset is pure retro throwback, with a skinny, arrow-tipped minutes hand and a stoplight-tipped seconds hand.

The Superman is rated to a depth of 990 feet.

The crystal is domed mineral glass, with an option for domed sapphire crystal at additional cost. The watch comes fitted to a steel bracelet with a deployant clasp and diving extension. It’s powered by the ubiquitous, Swiss-made ETA 2824-2 caliber.

As we’ve noted before on Worn & Wound, the heritage fad is showing no signs of slowing down with all kinds of brands cashing in on their back catalogs. I, for one, have no complaints. Not only does it make vintage style available with modern robustness, but it gives lesser known brands like Yema the vehicle to bring their brand back into the limelight. The Superman Héritage is sure to do just that for Yema. It’s a fun little watch that stays true to its history and is sure to appeal to casual enthusiasts and Yema die-hards alike. 

The Superman Héritage is priced at about $1,100 (as of this writing), and the optional sapphire crystal will add about $175 on top of that. Yema

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Christoph (Instagram’s @vintagediver) is a long time collector and lover of all things vintage, starting with comic books when he was a kid (he still collects them). His passion for watches began in 1997 when he was gifted a family heirloom vintage Omega Genève by his step-father. That started him on the watch collecting path—buying and selling vintage watches of all sorts, with a special appreciation for vintage dive watches and Seiko.