Hands-on: Yema Yachtingraf Bronze Limited edition

“Even though the watch has some flaws, Yema did a great job. The bronze cases from Yema are always a winner, but especially if you combine it with a beautiful black dial and a cool black bezel. And the splash of color that is provided by the regatta sub-dial, makes the whole package even better. Additionally, the Yachtingraf gives me a unique feeling of summer and the sea, which especially nowadays is worth a lot.”

Quick take

This hands-on review is based on my previous article about the Yema Yachtingraf Bronze Limited edition. If you didn’t check that out yet, I would highly recommend it to get some better understanding. You can check it out here.

Before we get to my actual experience handling the watch in real life, I will just give you some facts and figures about the watch, so that you can enjoy the article with the necessary background information.

Quick take – facts and figures

I was excited when I first saw that Yema presented a successor to their iconic «Yachtingraf» model at the unveiling of the new spring collection. Yema is quite a hidden gem in the watch world. This watch brand has been around since 1948 and has consistently produced reliable and high-quality watches ever since. Recently they have even designed their own movements, unfortunately the new Yachtingraf does not come with an in-house movement, which is completely okay for a watch with this range of complications and for a price of $1,699.

The new Yema Yachtingraf Bronze comes in a bronze case, which has a diameter of 40mm. The height of 16.15mm is quite noticeable. But part of the height is taken up by the domed sapphire crystal. The watch is powered by a Seiko NE86 movement, which is a solid choice, but nothing that is too exciting. The watch also has a 12h GMT bezel, which brings in a GMT function without the need for an GMT Movement. And of course, the iconic Regatta Countdown register is placed quite prominently (makes sense, since it is after all a Yachtingraf…). The Yema Yachtingraf is only produced in a limited edition of just 200 pieces and is now up for grabs.

First hands on impression

Let’s get started with the hands-on review, shall we? Approximately 3 weeks after preordering the Yachtingraf directly from Yema, I’ve got a message on my phone, saying DHL just delivered my package to my home address. Since I was in the office that day (the first time since like 5 months), I couldn’t wait to get home and see the watch in real life. The feeling of ripping of the package and opening the watch box for the first time, must be one of the most satisfying feelings there is out there.

Speaking of the packaging, Yema delivered the watch as promised in a pretty leather case, that also serves as a travel case for your dearest. I like the subtle but high-quality packaging, that Yema delivers their watches in. Also, the compact size of the box is something I appreciate since the watch boxes begin to pile up in my apartment.

But as appealing as the packaging is, it wasn’t long before I opened that up as well and got a first glance at my new Yachtingraf. And I was not disappointed. The bronze case looks stunning and a lot more subtle than a solid yellow gold watch, which is something that I really like. And now you may ask, how does the vivid tri-color yachting sub-dial look in combination with the bronze case, the black dial, and the black bezel? Absolutely Spectacular. The sub-dial has a very nice contrast to the black dial which by itself would look good but if you then add in the rich and warm color of the bronze case, you have got yourself an absolute stunner.

Wearability

The Yema Yachtingraf Bronze has been on my wrist for a few days now and I have to say it feels good on my wrist. The bronze case looks stunning, especially in sun light. When I first saw the specs of the watch, I was a little bit concerned about the size of the watch.

On paper the 16.15mm case height was a little bit frightening, since I usually enjoy watches with a slimmer profile. And you will most definitely notice the height and mass of the watch. If you are looking for a slim and dressy chronograph, this watch will not be for you. But for my personal preference, the height of the case was for me not really a big issue.

Maybe it’s because the pushers and the crown, which are very inconspicuous due to their size and the way they are integrated in the bronze case. The pushers are being slightly recessed into the case. If you press them, almost half of the pusher sinks in. Also, a part of the bronze crown is also carved into the case. This is quite a nice detail that I didn’t see on a lot of watches with a chronograph complication. But overall, I have to say, that I would have preferred it, if Yema made the pushers slightly bigger and so that they stand out a little bit more. I think the big case make the already small pushers even smaller and makes them look like they were made for another type of watch.

The design of the Yema Yachtingraf Bronze

If you did read until this point, you will have noticed that I really enjoy the overall design of the watch. But I want to go into details in this section.

Since I already talked about the case, I will keep it short. The bronze case looks stunning. But this is not everything, since the case is entirely made from bronze (except a small 316L Stainless steel plate on the back, because of allergens), the look of the case varies from hour to hour when the light starts to change. Especially if you are outside and the sun is out, the watch shines in all its glory. It really brings out the beauty of the bronze case.

Also as mentioned before, the Yema Yachtingraf measures 16.15mm in height which may be too much for some people. But if you are planning to use this watch primarily as more of a casual attire watch, which will get a lot of wrist-time with your simple summer outfits, this watch will make you happy.

The matte black dial is complimented by shiny golden hour markers, which makes the dial quite interesting to look at. Besides the hour markers, the frame for the date windows is also made from gold. Speaking of the date window, this is where I think Yema could have done better. The rectangular date window is quite small and barely manages to fit the date numbers in it. Also, I don’t see the need for the golden rectangular that surrounds the date window. I will even go a step further and say that for me personally, I would not miss the date functionality if they didn’t include at all.

But as nice as the hour markers compliment the matte black color, the true star of the dial is the cult regatta countdown that is placed in a sub-dial on the 9’o clock position. The tri-colored regatta countdown sub-dial is stunning and complements the black dial and bezel perfectly. And let’s be honest here, I will probably never use the regatta complication in real life. But I love the feeling of having it on my wrist, it gives me a feeling of summer at the seaside, and it reminds me of the holidays I’ve spent with my family in Italy and France.

The dial is surrounded by a black aluminum bezel insert, which has white 12-hour markers imprinted on it. The 12-hour bezel gives the Yachtingraf a GMT functionality without the need for a GMT movement. And this is quite a cool feature from Yema. And there is not much else to say about the bezel, just like the black dial, the bezel also complements the bronze case perfectly. Black and Bronze just is a combination that is made for success.

But there are not only positive things about the design of the watch. The seconds thing besides the size of the pushers and the crown, would be without any doubt the overly slim hands. And it’s not only me that noticed that, but the most controversial thing about the watch are the hands. And considering the watch packs a height of 16.15mm, this is quite an achievement. The hands just seem off. They are very slim and just don’t fit the overall design of the watch, especially if we consider the big case size. Also, the gold coating makes them even thinner if the light reflects on them.

Final thoughts

Even though the watch has some flaws, Yema did a great job. The bronze cases from Yema are always a winner, but especially if you combine it with a beautiful black dial and a cool black bezel. And the splash of color that is provided by the regatta sub-dial, makes the whole package even better. Additionally, the Yachtingraf gives me a unique feeling of summer and the sea, which especially nowadays is worth a lot.

Overall, for a price of $1,699 this watch packs a lot of punch and therefore I can not recommend it enough. But you must be quick. As mentioned above, the Yema Yachtingraf Bronze is a limited edition, and they will only produce 200 pieces of it. And if we look at some of the vintage Yachtingrafs that are on the second hand market right now, they are very popular at the moment. So go and grab yourself a piece of summer and some Mediterranean feelings!

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