The French brand Yema continues to revive popular vintage models from the 1960s and 1970s with its latest watch, the handsome and relatively affordable Speedgraf. Featuring a new version of Seiko’s still uncommon automatic chronograph movement, this is a modern reinterpretation of a watch known as the Yema Daytona from around the mid ’60s. The brand seems to, once again, have done it right.
We are on record at Gear Patrol as enthusiastic about Yema’s past vintage reissues, like the Superman dive watch, and there’s no reason not to expect this one to be executed with a similar level of charm. With a “reverse panda dial” (white subdials on black main dial), a generally sporty, vintage aesthetic, and wearable dimensions of 39mm wide, what’s not to like? It’s stainless steel case is water-resistant to 100m with a screw-down crown and solid case back.
One of the most interesting elements of the new Speedgraf is its movement, the NE86. It’s a new version of the NE88 automatic chronograph movement (introduced in 2014) that has some features enthusiasts tend to appreciate like a column wheel and vertical clutch. The main difference from the NE88 is that the newer NE86 omits the chronograph’s hour counter for a cleaner, distinctly retro, look with just two subdials. The movement offers a date, but Yema has opted to leave it out for the Speedgraf — another choice enthusiasts tend to champion.
The NE86 doesn’t seem to have resulted in a slimmer case or other notable benefits, however, as its measurements are unchanged from the NE88. Chronographs, especially automatic ones, tend to be on the thick side, and the Speedgraf measures 15.5mm thick — though that includes the domed and raised sapphire crystal that’s shaped to reference the acrylic ones of vintage watches. The Yema Speedgraf’s movement offers running seconds at 9 o’clock, chronograph minutes at 3 o’clock, and a minimum 45-hour power reserve.
The Speedgraf dial further features a tachymeter scale and a telemeter scale for the chronograph — neither of which you will likely use, but which also don’t get in the way and look kind of cool. The bezel’s aluminum insert features a 60-minute scale and rotates in both directions. It comes on a “rally-style” leather strap to emphasize its motorsport-related purpose.
Preorders start on September 20th, 2019, with the first orders shipping in mid-December, and the Yema Speedgraf will be available for a price of $1,499.
Gear Patrol also recommends:
Baltic Bicompax 001 Automatic Chronograph (~$611)
Maen Skymaster Swiss Automatic Chronograph (~$883)
Farer Segrave Automatic Chronograph ($1,950)