Yema Flygraf Pilot M1: What You Need to Know

Nov 24, 2021
Yema Flygraf Pilot M1: What You Need to Know

Aviator watches are known to have luxurious designs, paired with large cases and dials that are covered in various markings and indicators. These types of watches are meant to provide the best utility and ease of use to the wearer, ensuring their safe flight. This is what the Yema Flygraf Pilot M1 majestically excels in.

You might not be as familiar with Yema as a brand, because it is quite an undermarketed company. Nevertheless, Yema is an underrated watch company with a history of focusing on aviation and dive watches. In particular, the Yema Flygraf Pilot M1 is a favourite of airforce pilots due to its straightforward nature.

In this review, we will be going over the features that make the Yema Flygraf Pilot M1 such an impressive aviation watch. From the specifications down to the possible alternatives available in the market, this Yema Flygraf review will provide you with all the information you need to know before making a decision on a purchase. 

First Impressions

At first, you might mistake the Yema Flygraf  Pilot M1 as a field watch because of its minimalist dial design and its straightforward demeanour. Its simple and easy-to-read dial, paired with its quintessential build, makes this a very versatile pilot watch that could even double as a dress piece. It also uses the historical military aircraft dial design that was prominent back in the 1940s, giving it a very vintage feel.

Of course, this watch cannot quite match up to other well-known, highly functional aviation watches like the Breitling Chronomat or the IWC Pilot. The main strengths of this watch come from its compact size, user-friendly design, and straightforward timekeeping functions. It is an underrated military pilot watch that deserves to be in the spotlight. With that being said, let us go over the detailed specifications of the Yema Flygraf Pilot M1, so you can determine if this is the right watch for you.


Case, Caseback, and Crown

The Yema Flygraf Pilot M1 has a slim 39mm case made out of 316L stainless steel. This is paired with a matching polished stainless steel bezel. The Yema Flygraf also has a thickness of just 13mm, making this a very compact watch best suited for small-to-average-sized wrists. To finish off the watch’s quintessential look, Yema equips the Flygraf Pilot M1 with a comfortable black fabric strap. 

Image courtesy of Yema Official

The solid steel caseback of the Yema Flygraf Pilot M1 is also a particular standout. The centre of the caseback is delicately engraved with the elegant Yema crest, while details about the watch’s specifications can be found on the rim of the caseback. This caseback is also tightly screwed in, keeping water from seeping into the watch and damaging its inner mechanisms. With this secured caseback, the Yema Flygraf Pilot M1 can withstand water pressures of over 300 metres. 

            Image courtesy of Yema Official

As for the crown, this watch utilises a well-sized crown that is protected by two slim crown guards. The crown is embossed with the letter Y as an indicator of its brand. Much like the caseback, the crown is also tightly screwed-in to prevent any water damage. It also comes with slight teeth-like edges. These provide the wearer with a better grip so that it is easier to manoeuvre the crown when trying to wind it for power or adjust the time. 


The Yema Flygarf Pilot M1 is equipped with a matte black brushed dial, which gives it a nice rough texture in contrast with the smooth polished case. Unlike most modern aviation watches, this watch offers a more straightforward dial design, doing away with the chronographs that can be found in most aviation watches today. In addition, the dial is double-layered, so the 24-hour layout is easier to read. Plus, it makes use of a double-layered dial to separate the 12-hour markers from the 24-hour markers. 

One thing that is missing from this marvellous watch is a date aperture. Most aviation watches commonly have date displays at the 3 o’clock position. Unfortunately, the Yema Flygraf M1 does not provide this feature, with Yema choosing to keep the watch’s dial clean and focused on just timekeeping.


Image courtesy of Yema Official

Having a good watch movement is crucial too since it ensures also champions that your watch will be reliable and accurate. The Yema Flygraf Pilot M1 uses the brand’s in-house Yema 2000 calibre movement. This movement is complete with a self-winding feature and has an accuracy rate of +/- 10 seconds for optimal accuracy. Plus, it can run for over 42 hours when fully charged.


The price for the Yema Flygraf Pilot M1 is quite affordable, even for a versatile timekeeper that can be used both in the air and on the dress floor. For just $749 USD, this elegant and versatile watch can be yours to enjoy. 

Brief History

Yema was founded in the year 1948 by Henry Louis Belmont, a renowned French watchmaker. Having graduated at the top of his class at the National Watchmaking School, Belmont is known for his methodical and meticulous watch designs. He creatively chose the name “Yema” for his brand, as he wanted to create a word that would become synonymous with his expertise.

The Yema Flygraf series is part of Belmont’s attempt to create an exceptional all-rounder watch that can double as both a simple pilot’s watch and as something to wear during formal events. By combining the creativity of French watchmaking with the quality of Swiss movements, Yema stood by its passion in solidifying its “fine watchmaking” catchphrase.

5 Alternatives to the Yema Flygraf Pilot M1

1. Luminox Atacama Ref. XL.1761

The Luminox Atacama Adventurer Field Ref. XL.1761 is part of Luminox’s Atacama Field collection. This is a military field watch that comes in a 42mm 316L stainless steel case, bolstering its strength for maximum longevity in harsh environments. Like the Yema Flygraf, it has a textured black dial with a signature double-layered design and a 24-hour layout. This watch is equipped with a small square date aperture, which can be found at the typical 3 o’clock position. 

The Atacama Adventurer Field Ref. XL.1761 also features a unique small seconds sub-dial located at the 6 o’clock marker. The grey-black cloth strap greatly adds comfortable style to this watch, making it perfect for both indoor and outdoor activities. In addition, this watch is fitted with the Ronda 6004.D quartz movement, rendering it quite precise.

The price for this watch starts at $675 USD. If you are looking for an affordable, straight-to-the-point outdoor military watch, the Luminox Atacama Adventurer Field Ref. XL.1761 might be the one for you. 

2. IWC Pilot Watch Mark XVIII Ref. IW327009

If you are looking for another pseudo-aviation watch, the IWC Pilot Watch Mark XVIII Ref. IW327009 will surely satisfy your needs. Like the Yema Flygraf, this IWC Pilot watch does away with the chronograph features, relying instead on its exceptional use of high-quality materials and top-notch durability. Like the Flygraf, it also boasts a quintessential watch design. 

The IWC Pilot Watch Mark XVIII Ref. IW327009 has a 40mm round stainless steel case that is paired with a classic black leather strap. The dial also comes in matching black and features luminescent hour markers for improved readability in the dark. You can find a date aperture at the standard 3 o’clock position, albeit in a smaller size than most other watches. In addition, this watch has a 200m water resistance capacity to ensure survivability underwater. 

The IWC Pilot Watch Mark XVIII Ref. IW327009 is equipped with the brand’s in-house automatic IWC Calibre 35111. It has a substantial power reserve of 42 hours, so you can easily leave this watch on standby over the weekends. This IWC piece retails at around $4,000 USD.

3. Fossil Townsman Chronograph Ref. FS5396

If you are in the market for a fashionable and functional pilot watch, have a look at the Fossil Townsman Chronograph Ref. FS5396. Fossil is known to manufacture budget-friendly yet elegant watches, making it the go-to brand if you are looking for affordable alternatives. This watch is not quite as sturdy as the aforementioned options, but it makes up for it with its fashionable design and handy functions.

The Fossil Townsman Chronograph Ref. FS5396 uses a 44mm stainless steel case with a polished bezel. This is paired with a sleek black calfskin leather strap to highlight the watch’s sleek design. The black dial and silver hour indices also blend perfectly with the polished exterior of the watch. On top of that, this is the first alternative that offers a chronograph feature, making it more of a modern pilot watch. One downside, however, is that it lacks the 24-hour layout you can find in the Yema Flygraf. 

The price for the Fossil Townsman Chronograph Ref. FS5396 starts at $150 USD. 

4. Victorinox Maverick Ref. 241708

Of course, there are also some choices for the ladies when it comes to aviation watches that hold the same elegance and utility as the Yema Flygraf Pilot M1. The Victorinox Maverick Ref. 241708 is a ladies pilot watch that provides style, functionality, and versatility. Although it is meant to cater to women with its slender 34mm case size, this robust watch would also look great on men with smaller wrists. 

The Victorinox Maverick Ref. 241708 has a 34mm stainless steel case, paired with a unidirectional bezel that is marked with a handy tachymeter scale. It features a grey double-layered dial, with a 24-hour layout in a mixture of numeric and geometric markers. A date aperture can be found at the 6 o’clock position. To ensure its durability underwater, this watch has a water resistance capacity of 100m, which is more than enough to protect it from some splashes or rain. 

This Victorinox Maverick watch is powered by the ETA Calibre 2824-2, which is a well-known movement used by popular watch brands. This is an automatic movement with over 38 hours of power reserve. You can purchase this high-utility Victorinox piece for just $800 USD.

5. Hamilton Khaki Aviation Ref. H76455133

If the aforementioned watches do not interest you, the Hamilton Khaki Aviation Ref. H76455133 stands out by providing a more sophisticated set of features needed for an aviation watch. This is a true modern pilot’s watch, packed full of features that pilots might need. With its durable build, this is a watch that leans more towards functionality than style. 

The Hamilton Khaki Aviation Ref. H76455133 comes in a 41mm stainless steel case and bracelet, making it quite a durable watch. The black is filled with contrasting white indicators, including a tachymetric scale on the rim of the dial, and a chapter ring with markers from the 13th to 24th hours. The date aperture can also be found at the standard 3 o’clock position. This dial can be a little overwhelming at first, but it is relatively easy to get used to as you wear it. 

This Hamilton watch is powered by the brand’s outstanding H-10 calibre movement, which provides a whopping 80-hour power reserve. For a budget-friendly price of just $600 USD, you can get this highly-functional watch and all its tactical features.

Final Thoughts

Although the Yema Flygraf Pilot M1 is marketed as a military aviation watch, it does not come with all the bells and whistles that modern pilot watches tend to come with. Instead, it focuses on a simple design, straightforward timekeeping, and a compact and comfortable design. As such, it should be noted that if you are interested in a pilot watch that is packed with features, then the Yema Flygraf is not for you.

Other than that, the Yema Flygraf Pilot M1 is a pilot watch that stays true to its roots and capitalises on its rich historical background. That is why it is the perfect watch to get for those who are looking for a versatile pseudo-aviation piece that can double as a fashionable dress watch. With its combination of solid French and Swiss watchmaking, this is a watch that you should not underestimate. 


All images are courtesy of The Watch Company unless stated otherwise. Featured image courtesy of Yema Official

Aviation watches are truly magnificent, so be sure to check our review on the Breitling Avenger Blackbird for a more detailed look at a historical pilot’s watch.

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