Yema Superman Heritage Bronze

Hands-on with Yema Superman Heritage Bronze

A limited edition with an in-house caliber MBP 1000
Tomas Rosputinsky
June 24, 2019
MIN READ
Hands-on with Yema Superman Heritage Bronze

The bronze re-edition watch that deserves a gold medal. No kidding. A classy diver with a serious refresh. If you want to argue the term iconic watch when referring to the Yema Superman Heritage Bronze, this bronze novelty definitely helps to build this status for decades to come.

A quick shot taken with an iPhone by the Mediterranean Sea

Who cares about the date?

One example for all. Usually, you see vintage inspired re-editions being ruined with an effort to fit the date window into the dial. Wouldn’t it be French elegance if they decided to do the opposite? The original reference Yema Superman 53.00.16 carried a date aperture at 3, as did the 2018 re-edition in steel, but don’t look for it in this Yema Superman Heritage Bronze. There’s no need to glance for the date when diving, right?

French Superman

I first learnt about the early Yema Superman when Mike featured it a few years ago on #TBT. I remember how amused I was when the neurons brought the message from my eyes to the brain. Le Superman would be a more appropriate term for judging the manufacturer origin. It was first introduced in 1963 and seems to feature the first locking dive bezel. With a depth rating of 300 meters even the name seems more appropriate.

Check. Done.

I mean what I wrote in the subtitle without any exaggeration as I had the opportunity to wear the watch on the wrist for a full week. The only better proof of being seriously bought into this watch is if I actually decided to buy it. But my purchase would do little to confirm the success of this watch.  The Yema Superman Heritage Bronze is a successful Kickstarter project that has thus far raised nearly 900.000 USD! One fifth of the million was pledged in just 40 minutes after the campaign launch. The goal quadrupled within the next few days. And frankly, I’m not sure you should still keep reading if you want to secure a Yema Superman. There are only about 50-60 watches in 39mm diameter available for single purchase at a special introductory price left.

Bronze is tricky to shoot

Since the campaign has already been live for a few weeks and the media has covered all the essentials, I will try to avoid all the mandatory descriptors you can find on the Kickstarter project page. First things first, the Yema Superman Heritage Bronze is much nicer in reality than it is on pictures. I know the campaign is a huge success, so excuse me for my opinion. The first picture placed on the Kickstarter page would not make me buy the watch. In reality the color tones are more desaturated and do not feel so warm and shiny, even in direct sunlight. The second reference picture is still slightly off reality but shows more of that cool elegant look exuded by the bronze and deep blue dial.

The dial makes you wish your eyes flashed UV rays all night long, just to see the Super Luminova C5 partying.

Superman experience

I will stop at the bronze for a while. The best decision designers made on the Yema Superman Heritage Bronze was not to mix the bronze bezel with any other material or color. The full bronze case, bezel, lock and crown make for a very clean aesthetic that I dare to say fits the 39 mm diameter perfectly. I was a bit disappointed that Yema opened the call for 41mm too. On the other hand, the market is tough, and the decision is understandable. After giving it some thought, I would probably do the same.

Superman Bronze bezel detailing

There are particular details that contribute to an extraordinary overall feeling. Contrary to the Oris Carl Brashear bronze bezel that combines elevated and embossed detailing, Yema decided to stay with embossed numbers and markers. Not only does it glide more safely under the bezel lock at three, but it looks better on the Yema Superman Heritage Bronze. The often-repeated slogan “Less is more” also applies to the number sizes on the bezel. They could easily be a hair or two bigger, but their modest sizing makes for a serene visual experience. However masculine a diver watch can be, I am not hesitant to say that this bezel is cute. Apropo, look at the luminous dot at 12.

Dial highlights

I don’t have to tell you more on the iconic dial style, right? It’s one that makes you wish your eyes flashed UV rays all night long, just to see the Super Luminova C5 partying on the Yema Superman Heritage Bronze. The deep blue dial will puzzle your eyes as much as your partner in the early days of a relationship. So will the red dot placed on the “shovel” second hand. I still don’t know, why the red dot is there and didn’t bother asking the Yema representatives on the backstory (the likely culprit is the historic tie up with Seiko). No need. A minute hand arrow shape might take more time to fall in love with, but the tip cut through the middle will do the job. Last two comments about the dial? Ten points for the decent logo and text sizing. And I bet that the FRANCE inscription stretching from the 29th to 31th second track will catch all of our SWISS made hearts.

The Yema Superman in bronze is much nicer in reality than it is on pictures.

My OCD problems

Two issues are biting at my OCD mind with the Yema Superman Heritage Bronze. The first is the slight discoloration between the luminous indexes and hands. It is not a major issue, but the dial dot coloration is richer and fits the bronze case better. I don’t want to say that the hand lume is bad, it just looks a bit pale. It’s a bit like my face when I wake up with a cold. The second issue is that the bezel lock does not sit perfectly in the middle. At first, I thought that I did not lock it correctly, but I could not center it properly any way I tried. Maybe it’s a prototype issue (confirmed by Yema). By the way, regarding the bezel teeth – I like their crown-like-sharpness. It’s very comfortable to rotate and you can file your nails on it if you so desire.

Full paragraph on the strap?!

Yeah, I would not expect that either. The vintage leather strap is thinner and darker on the edges, thicker and brighter in the middle. When I touched the strap for the first time, I was pleased by how soft it is. The wearing experience is very similar to dress watches; an unaccountably comfortable feeling was also delivered thanks to the bronze buckle. It’s very simple with quite a wide front, but very elegant when put on the wrist. Notice also how precisely the prong sits on it. Honestly, I haven’t looked at a strap with such a good feeling and that’s even with the two modern Omegas in my collection. Don’t forget, if you buy the Yema Superman Heritage Bronze via the Kickstarter campaign, you get a Nato and Tropic strap as a bonus.

Case-back story

Reading the case-back reveals the mysterious line “Mission Maubydick”. This special edition of the bronze Superman limited to 1948 pieces (reflecting the Yema founding year) was designed in an active collaboration with Hugues Vitry, a worldwide recognized professional diver & marine conservation activist. Hugues has been a big fan of Yema since a young age and his first diving watch was a Yema Navygraf that he still owns. Yema supports his scientific marine expedition called ‘Maubydick’ that researches the sperm whale population in the Indian Ocean. Yema has committed to donate 3% of the value of each watch sold to the project: a nice gesture.

Shotgun notes

The lug holes for easier changing of the strap underline the watch’s vintage charm. The dial printing quality is stunning on the Yema Superman Heritage Bronze and the same applies for the overall manufacturing quality: it makes for a more than satisfactory reward when you take into account the fact that this is a 700-euro watch. A bargain.

See you in a year

Besides the aforementioned duo of Omega Speedmaster limited editions, this Yema Superman Heritage Bronze is the only other modern watch I have bought in the last 2 years. To highlight the irrationality and unpredictability of my decision, I could not imagine buying a new watch without a date. To finish off this completely unexpected purchase, I do not practice swimming or diving. I do not even practice vacations very much. But the next time I go to the sea (which will be next year at the earliest) I want to go into the water with the Superman Heritage Bronze on my wrist. I’m curious to form my own opinion in the polarizing debate arguing whether bronze is an appropriate material for a diver watch from a long term perspective.

 

Watch specifications

Brand
Model
Superman Heritage Bronze, Limited Edition 1/1948
Dial
Blue dial, cream-colored index, bronze hands with Super-LumiNova finish
Case Material
Bronze case, bezel and crown
Case Dimensions
39mm & 41mm
Crystal
Domed sapphire with Anti-Reflection treatment
Movement
YEMA's in-house Caliber MBP 1000
Water Resistance
990 feet / 300m
Strap
Brown vintage leather, black rubber Tropic and navy blue nylon NATO
Price
US$ 1,399 (Kickstarter Price: US$ 699)
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Tomas Rosputinsky
About the author

Tomas Rosputinsky

During the day time, Tomas is an entrepreneur in the advertising, automotive and IT software industries. At night he turns into a watch enthusiast searching for quirky movements or vintage pieces with strong stories behind. Tomas was born and bred... read more

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