Diving in to the value proposition of the new Yema Superman 500

Zach Blass

Often when I dig into the requests folder of my DMs, various people shoot me a message asking what would be a good entry-level watch they could wear daily. Entry level, within the realm of luxury watches, is considered to be right at the $3,000 mark. This, however, for most is not entry – many of the people messaging me are working with a budget closer to $1,000. This is why I was so glad to have the new Yema Superman 500 come across my desk, as the more I dug into the specs, the more I realised I had a new top nomination to answer these messages with.

The case

Whether or not size matters is a long-raging debate, but — at least within the realm of watches — I can conclusively say it does. It does not matter how nice a watch is if it is not wearable for you, and with the Yema Superman 500 the French manufacture has ensured everyone will be satisfied with two stainless steel configurations. Both watches carry a thickness of 13.4mm, a bit of that more than manageable height due to its double domed sapphire crystal, but there are 39mm and 41mm options to explore. The 39mm will speak to vintage tastes and smaller wrists, while 41mm will speak to those accustomed to a larger and more modern presence on the wrist.

While the dive watch is an all too familiar format, Yema has injected a less common feature into their Superman 500. If you look at the crown, framing it you will find a bezel-lock system that ensures your timing scale does not budge while the crown is screwed down. This is a system Yema designed in 1963, and has been featured on their Superman divers ever since. It’s not so much that most of you will find yourself in a life-or-death situation were it to move, but it does reveal their attention to detail and the knowledge they have accrued in the tool watch space since their inception in 1948 – building this patented system to differentiate their divers.

Now you might be wondering if the bezel scale can be set in the water before your dive. The stainless steel case has an ample depth rating of 500m, but to ensure you can also manipulate the bezel at the surface of the water, the case is water-resistant to 30m while the crown is unscrewed. To reiterate, this means you can now adjust the scale just above or below the surface of the water – a new/modern refinement for this historic French diver.

The dial

Like its sizing, the Superman 500 is presented in two different colourways. The first, the Superman 500, utilises a matte black dial and aluminium bezel. The second, the Superman 500 Mysterious Blue, utilises a matte blue dial and bezel. The black leans more into vintage aesthetics, with creamy coloured lume for the hands and indices, while the blue variant keeps the lume a crisp white. Speaking of lume, the bezels also each feature Grade A Super-LumiNova coatings on their graduations. The indices shapes are evocative of what you would find on other divers like the Submariner, but the Superman 500 utilises a distinct hand set – most notably their shovel-headed running seconds hand. Last but not least, dial purists will rejoice at the fact there is no date complication to break up the dial – yet another vintage nod that creates a cleaner aesthetic.

The straps

In each of its sizes and colours, the Superman 500 is offered on three different styles of straps. The first is a jubilee-like stainless steel bracelet, primarily brushed to provide contrast against the primarily polished case. The bracelet offers four points of micro-adjustment in its clamshell folding clasp, as well as a diver’s extension to quickly fit it over a dive suit. The second is a brown leather strap with a stainless steel pin/buckle.

You’ve heard me say it before: I do not find this to be the most suitable or practical option, considering leather is not aquatic. But if you like to dress up your diver, it is there as an option.

The last, and potentially most enticing option, is a black FKM rubber Viton® strap with a folding clasp. FKM rubber is both strong and supple, and offers a top-notch rubber experience that watch enthusiasts particularly enjoy.

You would not expect this, but of the three, the rubber configuration is the most expensive – followed by the bracelet and leather configurations. But considering the jump from leather to steel bracelet is only $141 USD, and from steel bracelet to FKM rubber only $29 USD, you are really free to pick which one you love the most with less fiscal consideration. I’d advise going for the bracelet or rubber configurations as you can always purchase a Yema or aftermarket leather strap, if you so desire, down the line. And for those strap-monsters wondering, the 39mm size has a lug width of 19mm, and the 41mm size a lug width of 20mm.

Beneath a solid engraved caseback with a frosted central medallion, you have Yema’s in-house calibre Yema 2000. The automatic movement offers a power reserve of 42 hours and a regulation of plus or minus 10 seconds per day. The calibre neither sets records in power reserve or accuracy, but each is more than adequate – especially considering the price point and the fact it is an in-house design.

The verdict

Regardless of size or colour, the Superman 500 costs $1,049 USD on the leather strap, $1,190 USD on the bracelet, and $1,219 USD on the FKM Rubber Viton® strap. So, circling back to all those who have asked me about a quality daily watch close to $1,000 USD, I would say it’s hard to beat the 500m depth rating, usage of an in-house calibre design, and level of true heritage at this price point. For a burgeoning watch collector to be able to tick all these boxes, at this level of pricing, is incredibly enticing.

Yema Superman 500 pricing and availability:

Orders for the new Yema Superman 500 open on June 29, and can be placed here. Price: $1,049 USD (leather), $1,190 USD (bracelet), $1,219 USD (rubber) for both the 39mm and 41mm sizes

Made in partnership with Yema. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.

Zach Blass

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