There is arguably no more viciously contested area of the current watch market than the $2,000 to $5,000 diver segment. Nearly every brand at play in this price range has at least some form of dive watch contender, and it’s no small challenge as a watchmaker to create something that truly stands out in the field. Thanks to its gradual move upmarket in recent years, Yema’s more premium offerings are now wading into this marketing melee, and it’s interesting to see how the proudly French marque intends to differentiate itself from this crowded new field. The new Yema Superman Skin Diver Slim CMM.20 Limited Edition sands off many of the cheerfully Gallic quirks that made the modern Superman series a cult entry-level hit, but instead delivers attractive proportions, solid build quality, and a newly focused ‘60s-vintage aesthetic that should make it a real contender in this space.

The Yema Superman Skin Diver Slim CMM.20 Limited Edition’s more refined, less idiosyncratic approach shines through most clearly in its stainless steel case. Measuring in at 39mm wide, the overall case design is pure old-school dive watch with athletic tapered lugs, a tall coin-edge dive bezel, and an oversized, unguarded screwdown crown at 3 o’clock. It’s this crown that most obviously shows the difference between this model and the base Superman – gone are the long, pointed tapering crown guards and the offbeat, distinctive crown-mounted bezel locking clip, and in their place is a simple, classically styled pillbox crown. The lugs are a similar story. Rather than the exaggeratedly long, square-tipped tapering designs of the traditional Superman, this new model offers a much more conventional style, with rounded edges, a pronounced lug downturn, and a wrist-hugging profile that makes this watch wear exceptionally well on midsize and slightly smaller wrists. In keeping with the more upscale positioning of the design, the Skin Diver Slim CMM.20 Limited Edition also adds an elegantly slim, continuous polished case side chamfer to break up the directionally brushed main case surfaces and add a visual highlight. Yema doesn’t completely abandon its unique French aesthetic sensibilities here, though. The case sides are extremely slim, taking up roughly half of the 10mm case height (12mm total when including the low domed sapphire crystal), which gives the watch a low, dressily thin feel that contrasts with its tall, chunky vertical bezel. Beyond abandoning Yema’s familiar free-turning, crown-locking bezel mechanism, this rotating dive bezel is another sizeable step in a more premium direction for the series. The 120-click unidirectional mechanism is satisfyingly heavy and precise, with zero looseness or back play, and the battleship gray 60-minute scale is topped with a sapphire ring for a glossy, old-school bakelite feel. Around back, Yema fills nearly the entire caseback with a broad sapphire display window to highlight the in-house microrotor movement. Despite the slim, balanced proportions, this is an impressively durable, capable diver case, with a factory depth rating of 300 meters.

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While many of the Superman line’s signature elements remain on the Yema Superman Skin Diver Slim CMM.20 Limited Edition’s dial, these familiar touches are heavily recontextualized. The most obvious changes here are the hour indices. Rather than the familiar printed set of dive indices, this model bucks the Superman trend and opts for a set of brilliantly polished, wedge-like trapezoidal applied indices. With angular, stylized printed numerals topping the markers at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock along with a generous fill of khaki lume, the overall effect is bright, upscale, and charmingly ‘60s-retro. The handset itself is a Superman staple, with a straight sword hours hand coupled to a broad, flamboyant arrow-tipped minutes. Dial text is small and minimal, leaving plenty of visual real estate for the matte battleship gray dial surface to show through. Between the warm-toned lume and this medium gray backdrop, the color palette here is stylishly low-contrast and feels compellingly aged without relying on heavier-handed faux-patina techniques.

Yema powers the Superman Skin Diver Slim CMM.20 Limited Edition with its in-house Caliber Manufacture Morteau 20 automatic microrotor movement. This is an impressively modern and capable movement design for an independent brand of this size, with a scant 3.7mm overall thickness. Other standout elements like the tungsten microrotor, oversized mainspring barrel, and non-magnetic escapement help to make this an excellent performer on the wrist as well, with a hefty 70 hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. In addition, stated accuracy is nearly chronometer-grade, with Yema claiming a deviation of only -3/+7 seconds per day. The Caliber Manufacture Morteau 20’s finishing, on the other hand, is modernist and surprisingly basic. Matte-blasted, black-coated three-quarter plates dominate the view from the caseback, with the only notable brightwork coming courtesy of slim polished anglage.

The stainless steel coffin-link bracelet fitted to the Yema Superman Skin Diver Slim CMM.20 Limited Edition is a genuine highlight of the overall design. Slim, dynamic, and solidly constructed, this fully brushed bracelet gives the watch a markedly different character from the standard three-link oyster design on the wrist. The locking clasp is also worth noting here, with a flip-out diver’s extension that should make use with a wetsuit far easier.

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There’s no shortage of great choices for dive watch buyers in the $2,000 to $5,000 range, and creating something to stand out in this packed segment is no small challenge for brands. However, the new Yema Superman Skin Diver Slim CMM.20 Limited Edition might well point a way forward for the French brand in this competitive space, offering excellent build quality, svelte proportions, and a classic, more mainstream-friendly look that doesn’t completely abandon the company’s offbeat charm. Only 500 examples of the Yema Superman Skin Diver Slim CMM.20 Limited Edition will be made, and the watch is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for this watch stands at $2,249 USD as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.

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