The only French brand in this regatta-yachttimer overview is Yema. Founded in 1948 in Besançon (Doubs) by Henry Louis Belmont, the company distinguished itself in the very beginning by creating the first automatic chronometers manufactured entirely in France. The brand became fairly popular in France in the 1960’s and 1970’s with both consumer and military sales, including the watches related to the French space missions!

On March 3, 1967  Henry L. Blum of Montres Yema S.A. filed a patent for a ‘Watch for Yachting and Underwater use’. You can download the complete Swiss patent (CH 483.047) as a PDF here, or here if you prefer English (USA 3,427,800).



 Yema patent US3,427,800 filed by H.L. Blum.


This resulted in the introduction of the Yema Yachtingraf  in 1966. All together 6 different models (7 if you count type 6 in standard or jumbo case as two) of the Yachtingraf  were sold between 1966 and 1970. Type 1 (Valjoux 92), type 2 ( Valjoux 7733 or 7734) and type 3 (Valjoux 7734 with date) have a subdial counting the seconds at 9 o’clock, and an oversized 30 minutes subdial at 3 o’clock, divided into 6 differently coloured segments representing 5 minutes each.



Yema Yachtingraf, 3 versions, 3 different calibers.


Model: Yema Yachtingraf – type 1.
  • Reference: the first model, rare, two subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock.
  • Caliber: manual wound Valjoux 92 movement.
  • Case size: Ø 38 mm
  • Year: 1966.
Model: Yema Yachtingraf – type 2.
  • Reference: two subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock.
  • Caliber: manual wound Valjoux 7733 / 7734 movement.
  • Case size:
  • Year: 1966/1967.
Model: Yema Yachtingraf – type 3.
  • Reference: two subdials, and a date window at 6 o’clock.
  • Caliber: manual wound Valjoux 7734 movement.
  • Case size:
  • Year: 1966/1967.


Type 4 and 5, the Yachtingraf Croisière models, have an extra third subdial at 6 o’clock with a 12 hour register. By means of a red cross over this subdial it counts double, up to 24 hours. Type 6 has an indicator disk underneath the dial, for an optimum countdown.



And the Yema Yachtingraf versions 4, 5 and 6.


Model: Yema Yachtingraf Croissière – type 4.
  • Reference: 92 001L. Silver subdial at 9 o’clock, third subdial at 6 o’clock,
  • Caliber: manual wound Valjoux 72 movement.
  • Case size:
  • Year: 1969.
Model: Yema Yachtingraf Croissière – type 5.
  • Reference: 9314. Black subdial at 9 o’clock, third subdial at 6 o’clock.
  • Caliber: manual wound Valjoux 7736 movement.
  • Case size: Ø 38 mm.
  • Year: 1969.
Model: Yema Yachtingraf Régate – type 6.
  • Reference: with a special indicator disk in stead of a hand.
  • Caliber: manual wound Valjoux 7733S movement.
  • Case size: either normal case Ø 39 mm or jumbo size Ø 44 mm.
  • Year: 1970.


The Yema Yachtingraf Régate was available in two different case sizes, the first one with the black logo at 6 o’clock measuring Ø 39 mm and with a tachymeter along the outer edge of the dial, and a second version with the blue logo at 6 o’clock measuring Ø 44 mm. The last one is also referred to as Régate – Jumbo.



How the countdown function works:

Definitely type 6 is the most interesting one. It has a 15 minutes register at 3 o’clock, and a smal indicator disk that rotates under a special cut-out in the dial. The indicator disk moves every 30 seconds, jumping half a minute further to the start of the race.


The Yema Yachtingraf Régate has the crown to set the time at 3 o’clock and two pushers for the countdown function. One pusher at 2 o’clock for start/stop, and one pusher at 4 o’clock for reset.


After a reset the countdown subdial shows 1-2-3-4-5 and red in the 6th small window. When the chronograph is activated at the first gunshot the countdown starts and the big white sweep hand is set in motion clockwise. After 30 seconds the indicator disk moves half a minute, and so it does again after 60 seconds, now showing 0-1-2-3-4. A slide bar shows the first minute in blue. After the first 5 minutes of the countdown, when the second gunshot is fired, the 6th window in the dial takes over the countdown: 5 more minutes to go.


Again one minute later, with another 4 more minutes to go, the first window is showing red. Three minutes later, only 1 more minute to go, and 4 windows showing red. Then, as the final gunshot sounds, all 5 windows are red and the 6th window shows 0. Off you go!



Yema advertisement with the Yachtingraf-Croisière.



The Yema Yachtingraf’s are unmistakable recognizable by their big colorful minutes countdown subdial, which is also well described in the patent listed above. And although they are not related to Yema in any way, several smaller watch brands have used the same subdial for a Yachting version of their watch. Probably with a license by Yema for the dial layout. The only exeption is the brand Le Jour, which was actually the North American rebranded distributer for Yema in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Here are some examples:

Branded Alsta Le Jour Yachtingraf , Le Jour Yachtingraf  (US version) and Thermidor De Luxe Yachtingraf :



Branded Puerto Azul (without it’s bezel), Technos Sportsgraph  (with a Landeron 248 movement) and Relide Spacemaster :

Puerto_AzulTechnos SportsgraphRelide_Spacemaster


Branded Yachting Chronograph  (Valjoux 7733), Jaques-Droz and Gallet :



Branded Datzward Seamagnum (Valjoux 7730), Lider Yachtingraf  (Valjoux 7733) and La Martine  (Valjoux 7733):



Branded Lunich Watch (Valjoux 7733), Dichi Watch (Valjoux 7730) and Wingo:

Lunich_WatchDichi WatchWingo


x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x


In the mid 1970’s the first quartz movements were introduced, and also Yema decided to invest heavily in the research en development of new models with a quartz movement. This resulted among others in the second (quartz) generation of the Yema Yachtingraf  in 1977.

In 1982 John Henry Belmont Jr. takes over as CEO of Yema from his father. But he has other plans with the company, and decided to sell Yema in 1988 to the Japanese Seiko Watch Corporation. In 1995 Yema became a subsidiary to the Hattori-Seiko group under the name Yema S.A. It’s obvious that many of the Seiko movements are used in a Yema watch during that period.

In 1992 Yema is sponsoring the French team with skipper and helmsman Marc Pajot as competitor fort her America’s Cup (with yacht Ville de Paris).  For that occasion Yema launches the America’s Cup France, with a Seiko 8M35 quartz regatta movement.



Yema Yachtingraf Quartz and Yema America’s Cup France.



The Yema Yachtingraf  Quartz, with an ESA Y2 900 231 movement, pushers at 4 and 8 o’clock:


Different movement with three pushers, at 2, 4 and 8 o’clock:


And a third movement with two pushers at 8 and 10 o’clock:


From a more recent date are the Yema Yachting  models with an ISA 8270 movement, also quartz:



x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x


In 2004 the Yema brand is purchased by its CEO Louis Eric Beckensteiner, with financial help of the French Montres Ambre, a watchmaking and jewelry company. That makes Yema a 100% French watch brand again, with the name being changed into ‘Yema Horlogère Maison Francaise 1948’.

For their 70th anniversary Yema announces in 2018 the Heritage collection, to pay tribute to the brand’s most iconic timepieces: a Superman, a Rallygraf, a Yachtingraf and a Flygraf. The Yema Yachtingraf Heritage is an almost identical copy of the Yachtingraf Crossière (type 5) from 1969. The first 1948 watches will be numbered.



The Yema Heritage collection, with re-editions of the Superman, the Rallygraf, the Yachtingraf and the Flygraf.


Model: Yema Yachtingraf Heritage.
  • Reference: Stainless steel case with a camel vegetable leather punched strap.
  • Caliber: automatic ETA Valjoux 7753 chronograph movement.
  • Case size: Ø 39 mm / H 15,4 mm.
  • Year: 2018.


In 2020 Yema