French brand Yema is on a roll, knocking out new timepieces every week, it seems. The Urban Traveler, Urban Field, and Superman 500 Dato are just some of the models that were released in the last few months. Last week, Yema announced its new Sous Marine line. It’s a colorful collection of contemporary divers with a nice injection of vintage style. Overall, this new collection could be a new hit for Yema. I had a chance to go hands-on and get a feel for the new timepieces.

As some of you know, I have a great soft spot for Yema. There is something about the style of the watches that I really like. On top of that, the brand has plenty of history, resulting in great stories from the past and watches with a nice injection of retro charm inspired by the brand’s archives. My favorite Yema model is probably the epitome of that vintage style. The brand’s Superman FAF Search And Rescue Limited Edition celebrates the style of the ’70s perfectly, and it’s exactly why I love it. And with the Urban Traveller collection, the brand also successfully introduced its take on an ’80s-inspired sports watch with an integrated bracelet.

Yema Sous Marine Black

Yema Sous Marine

For the new Sous Marine line, it is slightly different. While the dial design is inspired by the style of the ’60s and ’70s, overall, the watches feel modern and offer a fresh new style in the Yema collection. The watches were co-developed with Yema ambassador and professional diver Jason Washington. Washington is considered one of the best underwater photographers today and creates brilliant underwater portraits. Yema hasn’t specified how he helped the brand, but a logical assumption is that Washington handed Yema a list of much-wanted specs and took the prototypes out in the water to test them.

Yema Sous Marine orange rubber strap

The result of the development is a line of five different dive watches in black, blue, green, orange, and yellow. It’s a nice color palette that will cater to a large audience. Before I get into the details of the different models, let’s first talk about general specs. The watches come with a 40.5mm stainless steel case that is 12.2mm thick and 46mm long. It has a 20mm lug spacing and is 300m water resistant. The round case features polished sides and angled lugs, the latter ensuring that the watch sits comfortably on your wrist.

A modern case with colorful details to spice up the look

On the right side of the case, you will find a branded screw-down crown with prominently shaped and sized crown guards. They fit the overall design well. The unidirectional bezel stands out immediately. More precisely, the 60-minute diving scale pops. As you can see, Yema chose to put a vertical pipe symbol between the two-digit numbers. It might be considered a stylish solution to the designers but could also cause some frustration as it potentially reads as 110, 210, 310, etc. While wearing these watches, this didn’t bother me, but multiple Fratello editors, myself included, questioned the design choice.

When it comes to the different dials, the versions with either a black, orange, or yellow bezel feature a black sunburst dial. The green-bezel version comes with a matte green dial, and lastly, the blue version comes with a blue sunburst dial. As you can see, they all feature large hour markers filled with lume at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock and smaller square markers also filled with lume for the other hours. The large markers are connected to an extra circle on the dial in white with Arabic numerals for the hours.

This extra element provides no added functional benefits but is there to spice the dial design up. On the periphery of each version’s dial, you will find a 60-minute track executed in white for some extra contrast. The handset is pretty straightforward in its design and execution. It is somewhat of a cross between sword and pencil hands with a brushed finish. The hour and minute hands are filled with lume, and the seconds hand features a contrasting red tip.

Yema Sous Marine blue rubber strap

Do you opt for a rubber strap or beads-of-rice bracelet?

Overall, the dial feels comfortably familiar. The readability is great, and there are plenty of elements to create a dynamic design. It’s not the most spectacular or unique design in the world. I do see a bit of Oris Aquis and Breitling Superocean in there. That’s probably why it feels so comfortable. But as it’s a dive watch, the design should have a certain functional character, which this certainly does.

Now, in terms of looks, you can opt for a rubber strap in the same color as the bezel or a beads-of-rice style bracelet. The bracelet gives the overall design quite a bit of retro flair, while the rubber straps offer a stylish, modern touch. My preference is to go for the straps. I love a good beads-of-rice style bracelet, but this Yema version leaves something to wish for.

Yema Sous Marine green bracelet

Compared to some competitors, Yema’s bracelets simply are not on par. When it comes to this bracelet, it’s decent at best when it comes to the quality and finishing. It all feels slightly rough around the edges. On top of that, The clasp feels cheap, and the flip lock can be a nail breaker. Despite being equipped with a dive extension, it feels rattly, and I feel Yema could and should do better. The bracelets of the Urban Traveler are a good indication of that.

In all fairness, Yema is not alone regarding debatable bracelet quality. We know more brands that are struggling to offer a great bracelet. But then again, plenty of other brands do. Without sounding like a broken record, I think bracelets are where the brand could make great steps to improve the overall quality of its watches.

Powered by the YEMA2000 caliber

Inside the case, Yema equips the new Sous Marine with its proprietary YEMA2000 movement. The time-only automatic caliber operates at 28,800vph and has a 42-hour power reserve. According to Yema’s info, the movement has a maximum deviation of ±25 seconds per day. Additionally, the movement is adjusted to ±10 seconds per day by Yema’s watchmakers before and after assembly. The movement is hidden behind the closed case back that features the Yema emblem engraved.

Wearing the new Yema Sous Marine

Once on the wrist, the new Yema Sous Marine proves to be a very comfortable watch in both its presence and size. The 12.2mm profile with its flat 2.3mm-thick sapphire crystal makes it a very easy-to-wear timepiece. The 40.5mm diameter and 46mm lug-to-lug also make it a good fit for various wrist sizes. As I already mentioned, I preferred wearing the different models on the rubber straps. The straps are nice and thick while still very flexible and comfortable. I have to give Yema credit for these great straps. If I were buying this watch, the strap would definitely be my pick. It also saves you a bit of money as the price on the rubber strap is €890 versus €990 on the stainless steel bracelet.

Yema Sous Marine orange wrist shot

After having tried the different options, the standouts for me were the orange, yellow, and green versions. The first two are simply a color preference that makes these two great summer watches. On top of that, the contrast of the bright colors with the black dial creates a nice dynamic. The green version stood out as it’s the only one with a matte dial, and that also has its charm. The blue sunburst dial will undoubtedly have its fans, but it was a bit too shiny for my taste.

Yema Sous Marine blue pocket shot

An easy-to-wear and comfortable dive watch

It was great to be able to wear the different versions for a few days. Not only did I get acquainted with the Sous Marine line overall, but it was also good to get a feel for the various color options. When it comes to the bracelet, once on the wrist, it is pretty comfortable. While the quality of the clasp and the finish and the clasp are debatable, it proves to be easy to wear, and the style matches the overall design of the case and the dial nicely.

Something rather disappointing was the operation of the crown. Unfortunately, the crown is hard to grip due to the guards, making it difficult to unscrew and pull out. The crown guards turn out to be almost the same size as the crown itself. On top of that, multiple crowns of the five watches we had simply proved difficult to turn and therefore screw back in. If you buy this watch as your daily wearer, you probably will not use the crown a lot because it’s a time-only diver. But that’s why the moments that you would want to unscrew the crown and set the time should be easy and comfortable.

Final thoughts about the Yema Sous Marine

Overall, the Sous Marine is a line that offers a fresh look in the Yema collection that will undoubtedly attract new fans. The line offers a fresh, contemporary take on a dive watch compared to the brand’s retro-inspired Superman collection. On top of that, the Sous Marine’s looks are familiar yet exciting, and the specs are on par with many modern, affordable divers. These watches do indeed offer an enjoyable look and great comfort on the wrist. Having said that, there are certainly some points where Yema could improve the Sous Marine line.

Yema Sous Marine yellow on wrist

Other Fratello writers and I have mentioned how Yema bracelets leave room for improvement. And we understand that developing a new bracelet with a new clasp is expensive, but many competitors offer great bracelets with very good clasps at this price level. A second thing that could be better is the crown operation. The crown simply has to function well, and it did not always do that. It will be interesting to see whether the new Sous Marine collection will be the next hit for Yema. Priced well under €1,000 on the FKM Viton rubber strap, I would not be surprised if it is. The design offers something equally fresh and familiar, and the overall dimensions make the new Sous Marine a joy to wear.

The pre-order for the new Yema Sous Marine is accessible now at the official Yema website. Delivery of the Sous Marine will start in late September 2023.

Watch specifications

Sous Marine
Black sunburst for the black, orange, and yellow models. Blue sunburst for the blue model, and matte green for the green model.
Case Material
Stainless steel
Case Dimensions
40.5mm (diameter) × 46mm (lug-to-lug) × 12.2mm (thickness)
Flat sapphire
Case Back
Solid stainless steel, screw-in, with embossed Yema logo
YEMA2000 — automatic winding, 28,800vph frequency, 42-hour power reserve, 31 jewels
Water Resistance
The choice of a FKM Viton rubber strap or a stainless steel beads-of-rice style bracelet (20mm width)
Time (hours, minutes, central seconds), 60-minute dive bezel
€890 (rubber strap) / €990 (steel bracelet)