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YEMA watch review: Marine Nationale

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For a brand synonymous with the air force in France for decades, YEMA has made the nautical transition with complete ease.

Born in 1948, YEMA has been partnered with the French Air Force since the 1970s.

This year however, the brand is simultaneously partnering up with the French Navy and in doing so for the first time, the brand is officially partnered with two arms of the French Military and is doing a good job in balancing both ends of the brand to perfection.

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Its latest release forms the start of this partnership and it has done a stellar job of providing a luxurious yet rugged nautical-focused watch with the Marine Nationale.

Three men’s watches make up the core of the collection with a further feminine design completing the offering.

The NavyGraf Marine Nationale Quartz, Marine Nationale and Marine Nationale GMT respectively grow in value from $399 to $1049, offering quality to match.

Enjoying the NavyGraf Marine Nationale on my wrist for a week, it was a pleasure to get a feel for the French watchmakers in-house YEMA2000 caliber.

With a sweeping second’s hand, the movement which has been developed, designed and assembled in France offers a real high-end experience and relationship with the watchmaking involved.

It is also clear to see that when looking at the piece on a white background, as opposed to a darker background, the blues of the dial and bezel become even more prominent.

At a price point of $790 for this model too, it was a real eye-opener for what can be done and maybe a look into the future of this brand in terms of new partnerships and an increased spectrum of offering and quality for all watch-loving needs.

Water resistant to 300m, a sign of its ruggedness, the offers a softer side too and with a crystal sapphire at 2.5mm and a sapphire unidirectional diving bezel with 0-60 graduation on a 316L stainless steel with brushed effect, the watch truly does ooze quality.

An added bonus is the Marine Nationale parachute single-pass official strap as a gift with the piece.

While the French Navy partnership is a real gong for YEMA, I encourage you not to be confused about Tudor’s recent announcement too.

Given YEMA’s long standing partnership with the French Air Force, it was a given that it would be retained as a partner.

This, alongside the French watchmaker’s heritage in years gone by means the move makes sense from a catalogue perspective too.

Looking more closely at the move, the French Air Force and Marine Nationale have released their own public label which means that moving forward any watch brand wishing to collaborate with the French military will require a license and meet specific requirements like YEMA has done so successfully here.

YEMA has been working on this project for almost two years now and ultimately, the aim for YEMA is that military personnel can and will wear the new collection.

The Marine National appointed a high-committee who imposed strict functional specifications requirements.

They actively collaborated with YEMA during the design phase as well, validating each and every stage until prototyping, and are set to release the first official GMT Marine Nationale tool watch, with the high-committee insisting on the importance of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) for their personnel.

This said, YEMA is not only mixing it in terms of partnerships with some of the big boys in international watchmaking now, it has been able to produce a truly high-quality collection at a reasonable price point while staying true to its French watchmaking heritage.

A release that could certainly spur on waves of positivity for the brand.

You can find out more HERE.

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