Yema is a French watchmaking company based in Besançon, France. Founded in 1948 in Besançon (Doubs) by Henry Louis Belmont.
The evolution of the brand is punctuated by:
- The anti-shock watch in the 1950s;
- The Yema Superman waterproof to 300 meters in 1963; for diving professionals
- The Yema Rallygraf equipped with a tachometer for car enthusiasts in 1968;
- The Yema Meangraf: in the 70s, they put out another racing inspired watch called the Meangraf;
- The Yema Spationaute first French watch to fly in space with Jean-Loup Chretien in 1982;
- The Yema North Pole which accompanied Nicolas Hulot and Hubert de Chevigny in the exploit of the North Pole in 1987.
In 1966-68 Yema becomes the leading exporter of French watches across 50 countries.
In 1982 Henry Louis Belmont's son sells the brand to Matra (Groupe Lagardère) which in partnership with Thomson takes control of Yema. At that time the brand produced 2 million watches per year.
Having been owned by Seiko Watch Corporation of Japan since 1988, Yema returns to French hands in 2004 through a buyout by Louis Eric Beckensteiner.
Many variations were then produced by Yema for this model of French manufacture in order to reach a wider audience
In 1966, the first Yema Yachtingraf is launched, a watch especially designed for sailors.
Start of 1970 Yema became official supplier of the French Sailing Federation (Fédération Française de Yachting à Voile) and equipped the French National team who participated to 1972 Olympic Games.
The first Yema Rallygraf model was also born in 1966, a watch appreciated by car racing amateurs. One of these chronographs was worn by Formula One Champion Mario Andretti.
On June 24, 1982, for the first time a French astronaut, Jean-Loup Chrétien, flew from the Baikonour base for a 10-day trip into space. On his wrist he wears the very first French watch to leave for the space: the Yema Spationaute I.
On June 17, 1985, the Discovery shuttle took off with Patrick Baudry and his Yema Spationaute II on mission STS-51G (First Franco-American Orbital Flight).
On November 26, 1988, Jean Loup Chrétien goes on a mission to MIR Space Station wearing a Yema Spationaute III.
In May 1986, Yema joined forces with French physician and explorator Jean-Louis Etienne to cross the North Pole. The Yema North Pole watch, created especially for the occasion, accompanied the adventurer during his 800 km solo trip to the North Pole. Very resistant to cold thanks to its titanium case, this model also had a system avoiding the magnetic north. The four cardinal points were determined according to the position of the sun, with the local sun's time as a reference point.
2017 - Proxima Mission: The mission on which the 10th French astronaut went into the space was called Proxima, in tribute to the nearest star of our sun, which perpetuates the French tradition of baptising the missions of astronauts by the name of a star or a constellation. In 2017, Yema and CNES (the French Space Agency) worked once again together to create a brand new model in honour of this new space mission, the Yema Spacegraf.