Regatta-style chronograph watches often stand out from the pack due to their colorful subdials — and you don't have to race sailboats to appreciate this quirky but purposeful look that fascinates vintage watch collectors. Timepieces made specifically for timing regattas began proliferating in the 1950s, and Yema's examples from the 1960s have long stood out.
Now, Yema has resurrected a 1966 model for 2021. Unlike those older models, though, the latest watches pack some modern twists — not least of which is a bronze case and 300m of water resistance.
Why the distinctive looks? Yacht races begin with a five-minute dash toward the starting line that has to be carefully timed; if you jump the gun and your vessel crosses the line early, you're penalized. That's why the Yachtingraf's subdial is clearly broken into five-minute segments, resulting in an asymmetric look and a pop of color on the dial. (The watch's running seconds subdial at 3 o'clock is much smaller than the yachting subdial.)
Yema captures the vintage regatta chronograph vibe well, but the watch likely won't be mistaken for an actual vintage piece. Why? For starters, its 40mm brushed case is made of bronze, a material which simply wasn't "a thing" in watchmaking back then. There's also the fact that the chronograph subdial in question is at 9 o'clock rather than 3 o'clock as on vintage Yema Yachtingrafs.
Then, there are updates that are expected of reissues, such as sapphire crystal and a modern movement. Here, said movement is the same Seiko NE86 automatic chronograph caliber — automatic chronographs weren't a thing yet in 1966, either — that powers the brand's recent reissue of its motorsport chronograph, the Speedgraf. (It's an interesting but still uncommon movement, even within Seiko's own product lines.) Finally, water resistance of 300m essentially makes this a diver's chronograph — although its bezel seems more geared toward general travel with its 12-hour markings.
When Yema reissued the Yachtingraf previously, it had an ETA 7750 movement, a steel case and a significantly higher price. When compared to the Speedgraf, the Yachtingraf's premium features (case material, water resistance, etc.) make its mere $200 price difference seem very reasonable. You can pre-order one of the 200 limited-edition examples directly from Yema now for $1,699.