Yema, known outside France as LeJour, was common in the 1960's through the early 1980's and specialized, in part, in the manufacture of mid-level dive watches - such as this surprisingly large for the era example here. Starting as a large manufacture of pocket watches in the 1960s, Yema/LeJour was founded in 1965 and operated through the early 1980's.
With the patina’d lume on this diver, a white date wheel at 3:00 and a slender yet poignant yellow central seconds hand, there’s more than enough visual contrast going on here to make the watch visually engaging. Couple this with a well-designed black bezel, and you have an excellent vintage dive watch, sans the high price point witnessed in similar watches of the era.
As noted recently by Australian watch periodical Time + Tide, “If you didn’t spend much time diving in the Azure Seas in coastal France in the late ’60s, chances are you may not be entirely familiar with the French brand Yema. With its most popular models having a subdued appearance, and not featuring ‘Swiss Made’ plastered all over the dial, it can be easy for the eye to wander past their offerings and settle on something with a much older name. Those who love to feel their heart lurch when seeing the price tag of a flashy piece won’t find that same pleasure with the competitive costs on display here, either.”
On Yema – and fast forward to the 1970’s, a time of legit crisis for the Swiss watchmaking industry that witnessed their attempt – largely in vain – to survive the quartz onslaught (Seiko being, ironically, the culprit). The Swiss attempted in part to counter the quartz crisis by contracting with other brands to do whatever it took – even if it meant putting their names on watches that weren’t, well, obviously Swiss.
One of these was LeJour/Yema; regardless, it didn’t stray far from the normal tried and true chronograph formula the brand was known for. Per renowned Heuer website, OnTheDash, Heuer manufactured LeJour chronographs under a private-label arrangement in the 1960’s through early 1980’s - akin to Heuer's Pasadena PVD chronograph offering.
This Yema comes with a leather strap, nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1960’s Yema Mechanical Dive Watch
DIAL: Brilliant and detailed original silver/white Yema-signed dial. Original hour, minute, and seconds hands.
CASE: Original 39mm (41.5 w/crown) x 46mm stainless-steel case, with protruding crown guards making the watch appear larger than it actually is.
CRYSTAL: Dome acrylic crystal, no scratches or blemishes.
BAND: This Yema comes with a 20mm brown leather strap, with white accent stitching – a great compliment to the whitish dial – and stainless-steel hardware. This Yema also comes with a premium black nylon “seatbelt” NATO.
MOVEMENT: Original Yema manual-wind mechanical movement.