Exclusive Hands-On With New Yema Watch Superman 63
When you say Superman, most of the population see handsome Clark Kent dashing to the bathroom to don his cape. When I hear it, I see a vintage divers‘ watch by French brand Yema. Today, Yema hits us with a re-edition of the 1963 OG with the shiny bakelite-like bezel. Enjoy it with us in an exclusive hands-on review.
Months ago, I heard from the Yema communications team that a vintage-inspired skin diver was in the works. I instantly thought about early Yema Superman watches with framed lumed indexes big enough to drown in. If you don’t remember them well enough, you can read Mike’s piece about the LeJour-branded Yema Superman 87062 for the US market. His piece is quite unique as it came with an original leaflet, which provides the perfect background story for today’s news.
Unboxing Yema Superman 63
I hadn’t seen a single picture of a prototype until this watch landed on my doorstep. You can only imagine my pleasure when this new skin diver popped from the box. It made a strong first impression. It is clearly vintage-inspired, but very modern at the same time. Despite the fact you can’t unsee bits of legendary Seiko 62MAS and playful Oris Sixty-Five references, this watch has its own identity. You can attribute that to the unprecedented bezel lock system shared by all the Superman watches.
It’s hard to get to one and only definition of what the skin diver watch is. The term itself suggests it’s not designed to break a free-diving record on your wrist. However, it is perfectly suitable for light diving while looking more than comfortable in a cocktail bar. Skin diver watches tend to be smaller, more lightweight, and with a lower profile. Flat angular lugs that are proportionally longer than normal are also a common feature.
I have to say I am quite picky when it comes to divers‘ watches. But here Yema hit perfect sizing and proportions, paired with long, thin, and typically flat-shaped lugs. I dare say legs. When it comes to this watch, there is no unnecessary over styling. Simplicity works here. Sleek lug-lines spread along to sides and the case seems optically very thin. Crown guards that look like tiny lugs embrace a big Yema-signed crown typical for Superman models. A quite massive crown contrasts with thin case lines, but it enhances rather than distorts the visual poetry.
Fat-slim Yema boy
However slim the new Superman 63 looks and feels, it’s not that subtle at the end. Especially if you look at it in profile. The bezel seems almost as thick as the case. Technically speaking, the watch is quite tall. But when you put Superman on your wrist, you don’t see all the height. And wearing comfort is just about perfect. With majestic indexes, the new Superman 63 is quite the visual statement, but it’s not too overdone.
My favorite detail
A liquid-like bezel is attention-grabber and you have to see it in person. “It‘s a sapphire bezel, the triangle, and the numbers are covered with SuperLuminova. Yema has chosen this bezel to reproduce the shiny effect that the bakelite of that time used to offer,“ explains Vanessa Ke, Yema Press and Public Relations Manager.
A slightly curved top surface of the scratch-resistant sapphire glass creates some interesting reflections and I took some time to capture it in the pictures. This relatively simple bezel gives the effect of a shallow aquarium, with the indexes lying at the bottom. It reminds me of the most charming bakelite bezels you see in some finest vintage divers’ watches. Interesting is that the bezel on Superman 63 is not particularly wide. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s pretty narrow, with quite small numbers 15, 30, and 45 written in it. When the bezel is secured at the default position, number 15 peeks out precisely without being cut-off or hidden by the lock.
Not too much vintage
I am glad designers didn’t rely on the past too much and took some freedom with this reinterpretation. Yema has stuck with the signature “shovel“ second hand first introduced in the 1970s. The original shorter and broader minute hand you can see on clippings from old ads and catalogs has been dropped in favor of a long-arrow hand divided in the middle. If we count bezel design that mirrors modern production, Superman 63 doesn’t pretend to be an exact vintage re-edition.
Smaller diameter creates more space for flat, long, and pleasantly awkward lugs to shine.
The Superman 63 comes in a limited edition of 1,000 pieces in both sizes. If you don’t understand or feel puzzled, it’s not unusual that Yema offers a watch either in 39mm or 41mm. My choice is clear and I don’t even need to try the other one. The smaller diameter fits the design better and creates more space for flat, long, and pleasantly awkward lugs to shine.
Kudos for bringing a self-winding Sellita SW200-1 mechanical movement to the party. With slightly above €1,000 price tag, I think it presents good value for money. The small date window is not disturbing as it almost looks like one of the indexes. I know people that hate holes in lugs, but that’s not true in my case. I never understood the opinion on how the hole ruins the visuals. Besides, it’s super practical for changing straps. Speaking of them, you can grab Superman 63 also on a bracelet. But if you flip through pictures in the gallery you probably pick up on the fact that black Tropic is my top choice.
I recently questioned the continued wisdom of watch manufacturers relying on re-editions to build a current catalog. This is how you do it effectively, my opinion. Yema quite regularly enriches the heritage portfolio with new pieces, but always finds a way to give it a modern touch. Big framed indexes with very carefully toned lume are a huge and daring refreshment after many lume plots dials. For me, the Superman 63 is one of the hottest choices in the current Yema offering.
More information about the watch you can find here.