Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Superman! (or some something like that, the Superman quote that is)
Is it a diver? Is it an aviator?
No, it’s both – the countdown to Yema’s new Superman Armée de l'Air AKA French Air Force collection has begun!
Inspired by the OG Superman Heritage diver, the Armée de l'Air models have been redesigned in cooperation with said French Air Force.
This means that the watches fully meet the stringent requirements of the French Airforce’s diver rescuers and fighter pilots; hence their dual personalities.
Back in the 1970's, the first Yema watch made for the French Air Force was designed to equip their Diver Rescuers team but was also used by fighter pilots.
Formed in 1909 as the Service Aéronautique, the French Air Force and their personnel required a watch with -
“SEA-AIR” features making them unique among military tool watches at least outside of Breitling’s aeronautic collection that is and perhaps B&R plus one or two others.
Available with either a black PVD coated or Stainless case, the Superman French Air Force is equipped with YEMA's in-house caliber MBP1000.
The automatic mechanical movement has been entirely designed, developed and assembled at their Morteau workshops in France.
It has a beat rate of 28,800vph and a power-reserve of 45 hours.
At its price-point I would imagine that the MBP1000 is based on something – just not sure what that is – answers on a postcard?
All watches in the collection have the same matte black dials printed with the "French Air Force" logo in red and the colored national insignia at 6 o'clock.
There are 4 models in total: 2x quartz (not shown here, sorry) and 2x autos – the auto models are proposed as Collector's Editions which are limited to 1,948 pieces of each.
They are delivered in a French Air Force branded leather travel case along with an official pilot’s canvas strap in addition to their original steel bracelets.
The Superman French Air Force Limited Edition’s dials are with black PVD coated hands and date wheels echoing France's Air Force dark camouflage pattern.
This includes; the hour and minute hands as well as the iconic 70s shovel-shaped seconds hand.
The hands and markers are naturally treated with Swiss SuperLumiNova so as to offer excellent readability in low light conditions.
The blue-white-red French national insignia used on military aircraft since WWI replaces the 6 o'clock hour-marker and is also stamped on the crown under a crystal, while the French Air Force logo is once again found on the case-back.
Key design features of the collection include: a domed Sapphire crystal, a high-contrast dial, military camouflage hands, French Air Force crown and of course Yema’s iconic bezel-lock mechanism.
Beneath the domed Sapphire crystal, the dial with its metal accents, embossed white markers has been designed for maximum contrast.
You can also find the 990ft (300m) depth-rating there.
On the reverse of the watch, a 316L Stainless steel case-back (that would usually display the brand’s historic crest embossed with a hydraulic press) now has the Armée de l'Air logo.
Each watch is also engraved with a unique number from 0001 to 1948 regardless of the chosen diameter (39 or 41mm).
The 316L Stainless steel bracelet that the watches come on is with a secure-lock plus a diver’s extension so that it can be quickly and easily adjusted over a diver’s wetsuit.
The unique canvas strap, primarily chosen for its rigidity has a leather underside and is also decorated with France's Air Force logo.
To thank and honor all those who served honorably in the French Air Force, Yema have expressed their appreciation by donating up to 12.5% of sales to the official French Veterans Foundation (FOSA).
The collaboration between France's Air Force and Yema began in the early 70s with the design of one of the first Superman models made to equip an elite special ops’ diver rescue team.
The most recent collab’ was in 2017 when another Superman model was made exclusively available to French Air Force’s fighter pilots and personnel.
The Limited Edition models will be made available in priority to France's Air Force personnel but also to the general public.
All watches are available for pre-order as of Monday April 20th. Follow the link embedded, below for a full list of specifications and pricing.
Thoughts? This adds a cool new dimension to what was already a pretty nice retro-diver.
I guess if you’re a French national these will speak to you more but there is still plenty of appeal for the rest of us.
The watches are big on details without being overly themed. I especially like the crowns – nice pop of color and protected under a crystal, too!