Yema Rallye 'Mario Andretti Special' Rallygraf

A French wristwatch dedicated to a Croatian-born Italian-American legend

Yema is one of those brands that usually don't really get the recognition they deserve. The company was founded in Besançon, France in 1948 and sold to Seiko group in 1988. It became French again in 2004 and they brand is making a comeback with some interesting model. This particular timepiece, a modern iteration of the iconic Rallygraf first unveiled in 1968, is dedicated to former F1 driver Mario Andretti.

Andretti, who also happens to be a big watch guy, was born in Motovun, modern day Croatia, and grew up in Italy before moving to the US of A. He is one of only two drivers to have won races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship, and NASCAR. Andretti has a huge watch collection made (almost) entirely of watches he won. Hondikee, a popular website and YouTube channel on watches, shared an interesting interview with Andretti where he explains how he got some of the watches he owns.

Yema intrroduced the first Mario Andretti Rallygraf about a year ago and now, the reissue Yema Rallye Mario Andretti comes in with a 39 mm stainless steel case and double-domed mineral crystal, a tachymeter bezel, 60-minute chronograph function and 24-hour indicator. The watch is powered by a Seiko VK64 Meca-Quartz movement. A meca-quartz, short for mechanical-quartz, is a movement that runs on batteries but beats at a higher frequency (32,768 Hz in this model) when compared to a standard quartz, which means the seconds hand sweeps smoothly across the dial instead of ticking.

Mario Andretti's signature is printed on the dial and also engraved on the case back along with Yema's coat of arms. Water resistance is 100 mt and the watch is paired with a mesh stainless steel bracelet, a perforated leather strap is also available - that's the one I'd have - and the RRP is €429 in the EU.

I still haven't had the chance to review the watch so I guess I'll be able to tell you more when that happens but for now I can say the watch is probably going to find favour with petrolheads spec-wise, it definitely has some aces up its sleeve. Having said that, I also believe that any watch costing more than €150-200 or equivalent should come with scratch resistant crystal and mineral is not ideal.

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