As the official partner of the French Air Force and the French Navy, it comes as no surprise that fan-favorite French watch brand YEMA continues to draw inspiration from the military to create new watches. Take, for example, the recently announced YEMA Urban Field watch collection, which offers two case sizes, three bands, and five dial colors to ensure a suitable flavor for just about anyone who appreciates a well-designed field watch. However, these field watches aren’t limited to the super casual look that’s customary for the genre — they also clean up nicely with a quick bracelet switch and are ready to be paired with more formal outfits.
The new YEMA Urban Field watches feature polished 316L stainless steel cases, available in 37.5mm (45mm lug-to-lug) and 40mm (48 mm lug-to-lug) sizes. The case profile is slim at just 7.80mm-thick and topped with a 1.80mm-thick double-domed sapphire crystal, which provides a neo-vintage look while also benefitting from the material’s resistance to scratching. The casebacks of the watches are also furnished with sapphire crystals for a view of the movement inside and the watches are water-resistant to 100 meters.
YEMA opted for the Swiss Caliber Sellita SW210-1b manual winding movement to power the new three-hander Urban Field watches. The movements are Elaboré versions, complete with Geneva stripes decoration on the bridges, blued screws, and a daily rate of +/- 7 seconds per day. Caliber Sellita SW210-1b beats at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour, supplies a power reserve of about 42 hours, and has a hacking seconds hand.
The movement may be Swiss, but YEMA does its best to remind onlookers that this is a French watch, as illustrated by the “FRANCE” inscription on the bottom of the dial under 6 o’clock. There are also all the French words peppered throughout the watch from “MÉCANIQUE” on the dial to “VERRE SAPHIR” (sapphire crystal) and “TOUT ACIER” (all steel) on the caseback. YEMA’s workshops are located in Morteau in the eastern part of France (a few miles from La-Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland) where French watchmakers design and assemble the watches.
Returning to the front of the Urban Field watches, YEMA offers five dial colors: silvery white, gray, blue, green, and warm beige. These field-style dials include Arabic numerals for the odd hours and shapes for the even ones — an inverted triangle at 12, a horizontal bar at 6, and circles for the rest. The printed hour markers, which puff up above the dial, sit on a sandblasted background with a subtle cross-hair at the center. The polished Dauphine-style hands are coated with Super-LumiNova BGW9 Grade A. Interestingly, some versions have the hour markers lumed while others have the minute tracks that encircle the dials glow in the dark. The resulting effect of all these thoughtful components is a dial that’s as legible as you’d expect from a field watch, but stylish, too.
Speaking of style, the Urban Field watches take on a whole new look depending on the bracelet they’re paired with. First, there’s the old-school military-style Bonklip bracelet (once favored by the British Army) that’s furnished with an original system that includes an L-shaped buckle hook that inserts into the link spaces to allow for size adjustments. Two Bonklip bracelet lengths are available: 20cm to fit wrists between 15 and 20cm and 23cm to accommodate wrists between 19 and 24cm.
For something dressier, there’s the mid-century style beads-of-rice bracelet where each 316L stainless steel link is machine-milled and hand polished to achieve the same finish as the case. The bracelet wraps securely around the wrist via a double-push folding clasp. In addition to one of the aforementioned bracelets, each Urban Field watch also comes with a color-coordinated leather strap crafted in the Franche-Comté region of France. The straps feature a textured embossed pattern and topstitching.
When the ultimate goal of field watches is legibility, these utilitarian timepieces can sometimes be a little bland in the style department. YEMA, however, has ensured that the new Urban Field watches are anything but boring while also making sure readability is a priority. The YEMA Urban Field watches are priced at $1,099 USD with Bonklip bracelets and $1,249 USD with beads-of-rice bracelets. This introductory offer includes a leather strap, as well as, a spring bar tool. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.