The sports watch. It’s a smart, stylish jack of all trades that offers high legibility and excellent bang for the buck. It’s also back in fashion, thanks to a renaissance in traditional Ivy League blazers and tennis skirts fashion that eschews the dressed-down hoodies and tennis shoes look that dominated the 2010s. While any number of quartz sports watches on the market will satisfy most shoppers, those seeking seeking an automatic sports watch that doesn’t break the bank have limited options, many of which use similar off-the-shelf movements. Thankfully, esteemed French watchmaker Yema has cooked up a pair of them with the distinctiveness of an in-house movement, all for less than you may expect.

Let’s start with the Wristmaster Adventurer. Available with either a beige face or a blue one, it features a nicely-machined 37mm 316L stainless steel case with confident, chunky lugs. Standard equipment is a fine leather band in a rich pecan brown with coarse-stitch binding that should prove as durable as it is beautiful. Low-light readability comes via Super-LumiNova dots on the face and similarly-treated hands. It’s a soft blue lume that compliments the matte blue face quite nicely.

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Speaking of the face, it’s quite large in proportion to the case and features a white crosshair pattern and tasteful yet bold baguette-shaped batons. There’s no bezel on hand here, an interesting old-school design choice that emphasizes simple elegance.

Are there any concessions to cost? Yes. The double dome crystal is made of Hesalite rather than sapphire, so expect to polish it periodically with a dedicated plastic polish in order to buff out the light scratches that acquire through everyday use. Also, while some level of water resistance is built-in, this isn’t a dive watch. Yema only rates it as water-resistant to 100 meters. Still, these minor concessions don’t hamper enjoyment and the Wristmaster Adventurer proves to be a light, comfortable and beautiful timepiece that eschews ostentatious bling for a healthy dose of 1960s polo and Le Mans cool.

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Step up to the Wristmaster Traveller and things get more visually polarizing, in a good way. Featuring a bold 39mm octagonal 316L stainless steel case paired with a fully-stainless bracelet with butterfly clasp, it draws inspiration from a later era than the Wristmaster Adventurer. The Wristmaster Traveller’s face features a glossy black finish, tan batons with Super-LumiNova coating and tastefully restrained white printed markers. Accenting the face are tan and polished stainless steel hands inspired by Yema’s Superman timepieces and a chunky stainless steel bezel with six machined pockets. Of particular interest are the polished beveled edges on the case and bezel that accent the overall brushed finish while exaggerating a sense of dimensions.

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While the Wristmaster Traveller is the pricier watch of the two, it largely makes up for it through design and through the use of a sapphire crystal rated 9 on the Mohs scale that likely won’t suffer the scratching issues of the Wristmaster Adventurer’s Hesalite crystal. Overall, it’s certainly not a look for everyone, but fans of Bertone-bodied supercars and cassette futurism will likely find themselves attracted to the Wristmaster Traveller’s 1970s chic.

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What both Wristmaster models share is a bespoke in-house automatic caliber, a bit of a rarity in this price bracket. Dubbed YEMA2000, it’s an evolution of the MBP1000 architecture first launched in 2011. Packing 29 jewels, this three-hander movement with date complication operates at 4 Hz and is tuned to be accurate within +/- 10 seconds per day. Its 42-hour power reserve matches that of the Miyota 9015 and bests ETA’s automatic for the people, the 2824-2. I found the YEMA2000 movement to display beautiful fluidity in practice and display mere seconds of time advance over a week of use. The quick-set date function requires a touch of finesse but is fairly easy to use. While it is a bit of a shame that you can’t see the movement, the die-forged signature case backs on both models are a wonderful consolation prize with elegant detailing on the Yema crest along with etched details of the movement and capabilities.

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Yema introduced the Wristmaster sports watches with a successful Kickstarter campaign. All three Yema Wristmaster models are now available for pre-order at Both the beige and blue Wristmaser Adventurer retail for $590 USD, while the Wristmaster Traveller will set you back $790 USD. Shipping for all models is scheduled to begin in April.

Lean more about the Yema Wristmaster family here.

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