A few weeks ago, YEMA unveiled its partnership with the french Navy (Marine nationale), and the launch of an exclusive YEMA Navygraf line. As I was just writing the last words of the YEMA Navygraf saga, I couldn’t let pass the opportunity. I asked YEMA to lend me a watch, and I’m very grateful they accepted. I’m happy to introduce the YEMA Navygraf Marine Nationale GMT to you.
For once, I will try not to be too talkative and let the pictures do their job.
Like the current YEMA Navygraf “Heritage”, the Yema Navygraf “Marine Nationale” is a modernized interpretation of the first Navygraf design, by Jean Müller in the 70’s. You can’t miss its indexes with an exclamation mark shape, the thick, short and very contrasted hands, and, to end with, the calligraphic “Navygraf” inscription.
You haven’t read yet YEMA Navygraf | The saga that never ends? It’s not too late!
Blue, White, Red. These are the three colors of the French flag, proudly worn by the seamen of the French Navy… and by the YEMA Navygraf Navygraf GMT.
Quick overview of the YEMA Navygraf Marine Nationale GMT
The Navygraf Marine Nationale is a very readable watch, thanks to the strong contrast between the “snow white” hands and indexes and the navy blue matte dial. This latter looks almost black depending on the light.
The white lume for the hands and indexes is the Super-LumiNova® BGW9. As far as I’m concerned I find it difficult to remember the different existing qualities of lume, and I think you could be interested in few more information about this luminous pigments. Here is a chart that is quite easy to find on the web. It shows that the BGW9 is in second rank of brightness, with a white natural color.
I regret I wasn’t able to find this chart on the official website www.rctritec.com. However, a link led me to this very interesting article published on The Naked Watchmaker : Making: Swiss Super-LumiNova®. It explains the Super-Luminova® manufacturing process. Don’t miss it.
Both the flat bezel insert (without any pearl at 12 o’clock but with a luminous index) and the glass are made of saphire, ultra resistant to scratches. As far as I’m concerned, the figures ont the GMT bezel could have been a little more contrasted. However, there is no difficulty to read the second time zone.
A little scoop: my prototype is equipped with a 120 clics unidirectional bezel. YEMA’s team told me that the Navygraf Marine Nationale GMT will have a bi-directional bezel. As for myself I have never been very disturbed by unidirectional bezels on GMT watches, but, for GMT purists, I know this is a very good news!
The golden “Navygraf” mention is quite discreet. I suppose this rather dark gold color is a reference to the golden braids of the officer that don’t shine much. Depending on once tastes, once could regret it is not more contrasted with the mate blue of the dial.
At 6 O’clock is printed the traditional anchor that has been the official Navy symbol until 1990. The upper part of the anchor design, which replaces the traditional ring, is in fact a Bachi, the traditional headdress of sailors, seen from above. When printed in color, the red dot evokes the sailor’s pompom which, it seems, brings luck to those who manage to touch it. The white line symbolizes the chinstrap.
The date aperture is framed by a thin and elegant « dark golden » line.
The red GMT hand brings a welcomed touch of color and fun to the very minimalist and institutional design of the YEMA Navygraf Marine Nationale.
Case and crown
The first YEMA Navygraf designed by Jean Müller in he 70’s was 660 feet waterproof only. The Navygraf revisited is 990 feet waterproof and has a compact “without any fancy”case. I like this feeling of raw steel on the wrist. Contrary to its elder, it’s a true toolwatch, sized for the adventure on a Navy warship… as well as on the terrace of The beach café.
“The symbol of the French Navy is since the origin “a golden anchor”. It became “intertwined with a cable” or grelin in 1819 “starting from the right, leaving the yard clear, and exiting on the right leg” then from 1830 “with a simple winding in the shape of an inverted S”, and appears since 1768 and 1772 on the uniforms of the officers. …] The symbol of the French Navy was replaced in 1990 by a logo showing a white warship’s bow with two blue and red foam sprays and the inscription Marine nationale” – Source: wikipedia
This crest is proudly embossed on the crown face. I think engraving would have allowed a more accurate reproduction of the design, but the embossing technique is the way YEMA has chosen to usually stamp the Yema “Y”, and they kept it that way (I asked).
I do like the stamp pressed “Marine Nationale” symbol on the case back. Simple and elegant.
I remind you that my pictures are made with a prototype. As the YEMA Navygraf “Marine Nationale GMT” production is limited to 1000 watches, the caseback will be engraved with the number of the watch “x”/1000”.
You could think there is a manufacturing or design problem with the curve oh the “Marine nationale” words, that doesn’t follow the circle edge of the caseback. There is none. I checked. As shown on the quickly made illustration below, the Marine Nationale symbol is off-center by design.
The YEMA Navygraf Marine Nationale GMT is animated by the YEMA 3000 GMT caliber.
To know more about this movement, read YEMA 3000 GMT | An audacious challenge for the French brand
With the strap, the watch is 144gr weight. Quite heavy. This reinforces the feeling of a tool watch.
Which one will you choose?
You can buy this watches on the French navy Official store or on Yema.com. As no comparison between the different models is proposed on I hope this short summary will help you to choose.
It’s time to say goodbye. I let you dream of adventure on oceans with the Latouche-Tréville Frégate in the middle of a storm (© Marine Nationale | Jacques Perrin) and a picture gallery of the YEMA Navygraf Marine Nationale.
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Take care. Jerry
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