This weekend (June 10 and 11), the entire motorworld will be focusing on the town of Le Mans, France, for the 2023 edition of its famous 24-hour race, held annually. This year is special because of the centennial celebrations of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Therefore, YEMA has partnered with the Alpine Endurance Team, a name to reckon with in French auto racing, to create a collection for the centennial year of the Le Mans race. Three of the models in the collection are meca-quartz timepieces while two are fully mechanical.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world's oldest active endurance racing event that tests drivers’ mind and determination. Unlike F1 races, where the winner is determined by the minimum time taken and who crossed the chequered flag first, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is won by the car that covers the greatest distance in 24 hours. One of the noticeable rules for all participating teams is that they must rotate three drivers for each car during the race, with no one driver behind the wheel for more than a total of 14 hours. Drivers can be swapped during pit stops for fuel and fresh tyres. All YEMA x Alpine Endurance Team models will be worn by drivers, mechanics and other team members during the Le Mans race.
GMT India looks at the timepieces on offer.
YEMA Rallygraf A470 Limited Edition
Inspired by the ALPINE A470 race car and limited to only 470 pieces, this chronograph is meant for collectors. The 39 mm stainless steel watch features two-step lugs and a fixed brushed steel tachymeter bezel. The watch also gets a stainless steel crown at 3 o’clock and two pushers to start and restart the function at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock.
The gradient blue dial has a vintage Bicompax layout with baton hour markers and sword-shaped hour and minute hands, accompanied by a central second hand. There are a seconds subdial at 9 o’clock and a 30-minute subdial at 3 o’clock. YEMA has used the Valjoux 7753 automatic chronograph to power the Rallyrgaf A470, delivering 48 hours of power reserve. The watch comes on a black leather rally strap with a steel pin buckle.
YEMA Rallygraf ALPINE Endurance Team Automatic
Next in the line-up is the Rallygraf Alpine Endurance Team Automatic. It will be unveiled on June 10. The watch comes in a vertical brushed stainless steel case with a polished bevel.
There is a bidirectional rotating bezel that can be used to calculate speed, in combination with the inner ‘Temps Ecoule’ chapter ring in white and blue. On the black dial, there are bar-shaped hour markers, baton hour, minute hands, and a blue second hand. There is a date window at 3 o’clock as well. Powering the watch is the second-generation in-house Caliber YEMA2000 with a power reserve of 42 hours. The watch is finished on a stainless steel bracelet or a black leather strap.
YEMA Rallygraf Meca-Quartz ALPINE Endurance Team
The final collection has three references with a meca-quartz movement. Each of these watches comes in a stainless steel case. You can spot a matte aluminium tachymeter bezel, allowing the wearer to calculate the average speed over a given distance.
The design of the hour and minute sub-registers is inspired by vintage race car dashboards; these are baton-shaped. There are three dial options — a panda dial, a reverse panda dial and a white dial with blue counters. Each model comes with a 24-hour counter at 3 o’clock, a 60-minute counter at 9 o’clock, and a date window at 6 o’clock. There are two chronograph pushers at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock to start and restart the function.
Powering the collection is Seiko’s VK64 hybrid movement with a quartz calibre while the chronograph function is controlled by a mechanical module that results in a smooth sweeping second-hand movement. Each watch is finished on a black leather strap, with the option of a blue strap for the white dial variant.