Hello everyone, and welcome to another of my reviews. In this article, I’ll be reviewing the new Wristmasters from French watch brand Yema.
After releasing a slew of dive watches, the Wristmaster represented something different from Yema. The two iterations – the vintage-inspired Adventurer, and the Traveller with an integrated bracelet – were first introduced on Kickstarter, where it raised a staggering €832,399 from 1,733 backers. With such proof of demand, the Wristmasters are now available on Yema’s webstore, albeit at slighter higher prices. Let’s see if it’s worth it.
Yema Wristmaster – Video Review
For those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of the watches, do check out my Youtube review of the Yema Wristmasters below:
Yema Wristmaster – Build Quality
It’s worth noting that both watches have slightly different specifications.
Meant to evoke watches of the 60s, it’s perhaps not surprising that Yema chose to use a double-domed plexi crystal on the Wristmaster Adventurer. The advantage of this is that the watch looks period-correct, though the downside is the lack of scratch resistance. That being said, any scratches should be easily polishable.
Meant to be the contemporary counterpart to the Adventurer, the Wristmaster Traveller sports a raised sapphire crystal instead. This means that the Traveller is more durable than the Adventurer, especially against nicks and scratches on the watch face. However, both watches share the same 100m water-resistance rating.
Another similarity is the YEMA2000 calibre beating within. The YEMA2000 calibre is Yema’s second-generation of movements, an improvement over the cal. MBP1000 found in previous Yema watches such as the Superman Bronze. It has 29 jewels, a 42-hour power reserve, beats at 4 Hz, hacks, and is regulated to within 10 seconds per day. Yema states that the movement is designed, developed and assembled in France, which makes it one of the few bona fide French movements in the market today.
The Wristmaster Adventurer comes on a simple calfskin leather strap that features side-stitching for an added vintage touch. The leather is of fairly good quality, and wears comfortably on the wrist. There’s also a brushed matte buckle that’s signed with the Yema logo.
In contrast, the Wristmaster Traveller features an integrated bracelet, and I have to say that it’s one of the best integrated bracelets that I’ve come across at this price point. Each link feels incredibly solid, is finished nicely, and most importantly wears brilliantly on the wrist. The links feature polished chamfered edges too, giving the bracelet a dose of sophistication. I own a Tissot PRX, and in my opinion, the Traveller’s bracelet is even better than its Swiss counterpart.
There’s BGW9 Superluminova on both watches, though the lume is noticeably stronger on the Traveller as compared to the Adventurer. If lume is an important factor for you, you’ll definitely be better off with the Traveller.
Overall, both the Wristmaster boasts good specifications for their prices. However, the Traveller has better specifications, and is more rugged and durable – though that is arguably the intention given that it’s meant to be the contemporary counterpart to the neo-vintage Adventurer.
Yema Wristmaster – Design
Given the vastly different designs of both watches, let’s look at them separately.
The Wristmaster Adventurer comes with either a beige or a blue (pictured above) dial. The Adventurer is full of vintage vibes, from the elongated brushed steel case to the raised hesalite crystal. It also features a crosshair dial, an aesthetic that rose to popularity in the 1960s, making an appearance on watches like the old Omega Constellation.
The dial also features raised applied indices that evoke a distinct 60s/70s vibe, while the baton hands give the watch the necessary sense of conservatism. The Wristmaster logo is inscribed in a “smiley” form at 6 o’clock, which offsets the Yema logo at 12.
While brushed on the front, the sides of the case are mirror polished. The finishing is simple, but period appropriate. The crown is simply polished too, and signed with the Yema logo.
However, unlike most vintage watches the Wristmaster Adventurer doesn’t feel too small on the wrist. With a 37mm case diameter and a lug-to-lug length of 48mm, the Adventurer has relatively modern dimensions, though still on the smaller end of the spectrum. With its 12mm thickness, the Adventurer will also slide under most shirt cuffs.
Although the Wristmaster Traveller is billed as the Adventurer’s more modern counterpart, the dial is still decidedly retro, as evidenced by the prominent use of faux patina markers and hands – an aesthetic choice that will definitely be controversial. If the goal was to make a contemporary sports watch, I would have preferred Yema to use regular white indices and hands here, which would result in a sleek monochromatic contrast against the matte black dial. That being said, I do like the neo-vintage feel of the dial, which brings to mind the watches of the 1960s/70s where integrated sports watches first rose to the fore. And while it has an octagonal bezel, it doesn’t feel like a homage to the iconic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak at all, largely due to the smart absence of screws on the bezel.
As compared to the Adventurer, the Traveller features more sophisticated finishing on display, with brushed surfaces juxtaposed against mirror-polished chamfered edges. I particularly like the angular, faceted case, which results in the Traveller being a striking tour de force on the wrist. The crown of the Traveller is brushed, and signed with the Yema logo.
Both watches share largely similar casebacks, with feature a motif of the Yema logo. However, the execution on the Traveller is noticeably more detailed, with caseback on the Adventurer being simpler, in keeping with the spirit of the 1960s.
The Traveller has a slightly larger case size of 39mm, but a shorter lug-to-lug of 43.5mm due to its integrated nature. The end result is a watch that wears smaller than its dimensions would suggest – I personally found it to wear similarly to the modern 36mm Rolex Explorer I that was introduced earlier this year. In other words, it feels retro yet contemporary at the same time.
Shootout: Yema Wristmaster Traveller vs Tissot PRX Powermatic 80
If you’re looking for a fairly affordable retro-styled sports watch with an integrated bracelet, then the best alternative would be the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80.
In terms of specifications, the PRX Powermatic 80 has a slight edge. Both watches use sapphire crystals and Swiss Superluminova, but the PRX Powermatic 80, as its name suggests, features the Powermatic 80 movement that has a Nivachron balance spring for increased shock resistance and a whopping 80 hours of power reserve. While the YEMA2000 calibre in the Wristmaster Traveller is nothing to scoff at, the Powermatic 80 is simply a better-specced movement.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the fight is much closer. The PRX Powermatic 80 features a tapisserie dial that (especially in blue guise) is eminently striking under the sun. However, it also runs the risk of being labelled as a mere homage to the Royal Oak. In contrast, the design of the Wristmaster Traveller can be said to be more original, though the use of faux patina may be a tad too much for some. That being said, I’ll say this – the bracelet of the Wristmaster Traveller is even better and more comfortable than the one on the Tissot, which was already pretty good to begin with.
Given that the Yema Wristmaster Traveller costs slightly more than the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80, which watch is better will be a highly personal decision. For me, the Wristmaster Traveller represents a good alternative option to the mainstream, one that offers a retro feel on the wrist in a very solid package. However, if having an esteemed brand name and better bang-for-buck is more important for you, then the PRX Powermatic 80 may be the better choice.
Conclusion – so the Yema Wristmaster “shiok” or not?
Overall, both the Yema Wristmasters are great neo-vintage timepieces. The Adventurer successfully evokes the dress watches of the 1960s (think Omega Geneve, Seamaster, etc) while the Traveller rides upon the current integrated sports watch trend but with a dose of vintage goodness. Currently priced at 590€ and 790€ respectively, the Adventurer and the Traveller may not be the bargains that they were during their Kickstarter launch, but they still represent fair value for money for watch enthusiasts who want something different that harken back to a bygone era. Between the two, my pick would go towards the Traveller – that integrated bracelet is simply divine.
Those interested in pre-ordering the Wristmaster Traveller can do so here, while the Wristmaster Adventurer (blue) can be pre-ordered here, with deliveries slated for April 2022.
For Yema’s full range of watches, visit the webstore here.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah so Shiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
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P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.