Here we are into the second month of 2023, and at Gnomon, we continue to bring new timepieces and watch-related products almost every other day. However, as the pace is not slowing down soon, I would like to look back at a few models I felt worth rediscovering. Some might recognize these models have yet to take a look seriously. Therefore in this month’s lookbook, I want to touch on these excellent and not-so-old classic tool watches from Yema, Squale and Steinhart.
As such, I’d primarily chosen dive watches in different sub-genres, like some from the sixties skin-diving era and from days when brands combined a GMT function into these robust dive watches to accentuate their functionalities for the wearers. In this lookbook, all of us can be recognized that these models are not merely another dive watch from each of their manufacturers, as I would share my reasons on how I’d find each attractive. So let’s get into my five picks from the three watchmakers with different European flairs.
Squale Super-Squale Black Explorer – Bracelet – Gnomon Exclusive
Let’s start with the one I would add to my 2023 dream list, and the Super-Squale Black Explorer can be seen as the uber skin-diver that checks all the boxes for me. The Super Squale was one of the most popular Squale watches in the 60s and has just been re-introduced. Expect the best of skin dive watches with the Super Squale range. What’s more, it wears well on both female and male wrists.
It clads a retro case and bracelet (OMG, I love it thoroughly), “explorer” dial format, and comes in at 38mm with a Swiss automatic movement. What else could I ask for? Though its aesthetics shout vintage, its whole built is impeccably modern. The sharpness of the case lugs and domed sapphire crystal are testaments to that. In this new launch, they are manufactured with the same quality and precision while adding upgrades and modern touches to the range.
Yema Superman 500 GMT Pepsi 39mm
The Superman 500 GMT was, in fact, a newer release from Yema in 2022. Now, they come in with a GMT complication that couldn’t look more apt for the retro diver. It’s a brand for retro timepiece lovers. They’re not going to surprise us with a hype-watch that feels out of their heritage. Instead, they kept Superman’s form and upgraded it with several features – a fascinating tool watch, both intellectually and visually.
Optimized and enhanced components power the second generation In-House GMT Caliber YEMA3000. First, they increased the water resistance from 300m to 500m water-resistant without increasing its case thickness significantly. Coming in at 39mm wide and 11.52mm thick, it wears just as pleasing for both genders while keeping it with the usual thickness of a dive watch with half the water-resistant. What’s more, is its in-house GMT movement pack within. It’s powered by optimized components yielding slightly better performance than generic Standard Grade calibers (ETA, Sellita, Miyota), offering a daily rate of +/- 10 s/d and a 42h power reserve. For less than $ 2000 USD, this truly is a value sleeper if one pays little attention to the brand’s offering.
Steinhart Ocean One GMT Blue/Red Ceramic with Blue Dial
The GMT diver above would be a good candidate for the Pepsi treatment. I added another sibling from the German brand Steinhart, and it feels more contemporary yet as well-built as the Superman 500 GMT. We are familiar with the Ocean One series from Steinhart, so much so that sometimes we get lost within the array of dive watches. But this particular 42mm GMT stood out to me in specific ways, the main one being its electric blue dial. The glossy finish on the dial feels harmonious with its red GMT hand powered by the SW330-2 (ETA 2893 alternative) and even more so with its two-tone Pepsi ceramic bezel.
At 42mm, It wears superbly on the wrist if you are looking for a sporty-looking GMT diver with a significant wrist presence. If you pick this watch because you love a bright dial and bezel, why go all out with a sporty size at 42mm, where you can enjoy its vividness even more?
Squale Sub-39 Heritage – Gnomon Exclusive
Okay, let’s get back to an entire vintage-themed timepiece. I recently featured this Sub-3i9 Heritage in 2022 and did it again here. That’s because I couldn’t emphasize enough the “pure” form of this Sub-39 based on the first model design manufactured in the 60s. Look at those painted dial markers and sapphire bezel with the vintage colourway. These specific 60s styling cues are seen on the new modern tribute, size up from 35mm to 40.8mm (inclusive of the bezel) wide diver with sharp distinctive lugs design with 300m water-resistant. Some may feel it’s a plain Jane, but I strongly argue that this piece seeks to balance off the brand’s vibrant coloured divers that they are usually known for. Try it at our store, and you might love its charm like me.
Yema Navygraf FSM
As if Yema wasn’t already busy enough developing their Superman dive watches year after year, there’s one more element that Yema excels in its legit partnerships with military entities. And that is what I have included here today, the Navygraf FSM. With its acronym “Forces-Sous-Marines”, this re-issue of the Navygraf embodies YEMA’s prestigious heritage while offering a fresh modernistic design, upholding their unwavering innovative spirit. The Navygraf FSM has been designed in collaboration with Marine Nationale to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Strategic Oceanic Force (FOST).
The Navygraf FSM takes inspiration from the iconic Navygraf Heritage and the Navygraf II dating from the mid-1970s. It has been designed as a precise timekeeping instrument for military personnel aboard FOST’s nuclear-powered submarines. Further, it is equipped with yet another marvel from the brand, it’s In-house Caliber YEMA2000. Undoubtedly, the YEMA Navygraf FSM presents a captivating no-date dial design that will find a place in watch enthusiasts who join the “no-date” club. So why with this “pure” form? It is, in fact, at the request of Marine Nationale military staff, all inscriptions of the Navygraf FSM have been darkened to blend almost wholly with the dial, the concepts of stealth and discretion being an integral part of Marine Nationale’s Strategic Oceanic Force values.