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Review: YEMA Rallye Andretti Limited Edition

Racing Hearts
by Robin Lim on April 2, 2020
Reviews
Overview
Brand

Yema

Complication / Type of Watch

Chronograph

Recommended Retail Price

US$2,699

YEMA Rallye Andretti Limited Edition

When it comes to motorsports, there are certainly many legends who have done well at individual competitions. But what about someone who has competed in various competitions – from Formula 1, Indy 500, Le Mans, and IROC – and won almost everything? Meet Mario Andretti.

With a racing career that spans more than three decades and hundreds of wins, Mario Andretti is certainly one of the most decorated racer that the sports had ever seen.

One of his most famous victories in his career is his 1969 Indy 500 win. What is particularly interesting was that during the race (and the build-up to it), Andretti was wearing a Wesley chronograph – which incidentally is a rebadged Yema, produced by the latter. According to Andretti, this watch is “sentimental”, and it is not difficult to see why.

Recently, Yema released a reissue of the same watch that Andretti wore during the race. Is the new reissue a fitting tribute to the original timepiece that was worn by Mario Andretti?

The Case, Hands, and Dial

The watch, understandably, remains faithful to the original as far as possible.

The main highlight of the 39mm timepiece perhaps lies in its dial. There are quite a number of things going on, starting with a pair of red racing stripes that adds some racing pedigree to the watch. Another interesting point to note would be the trapezium-shaped sub-dials, in which the peripheral has a white backdrop that provides contrast for the twin sub-dials. This makes the sub-dials stand out, amidst a slightly busy dial. It is also perhaps done in mind with the original intent of allowing the user – possibly a racing car driver – to focus on telling the elapsed time intuitively.

There are other vintage elements to the watch too. The use of a domed sapphire crystal, as well as the faux patina on the applied luminescence on both the hands and indices of the watch, are nice touches that gives the watch an aged appearance.

Perhaps, the only thing that sets it apart from the original would be the date window at the 6 o’clock position. In our opinion, it is a good feature – and kudos to Yema for the placement as it allows the watch to maintain its symmetry. We also appreciate the fact that Yema had tried to retain the integrity of this classic dial design with a rectangular date window layout that is not dissimilar to the ones on chronographs from the 60s and 70s.

Other features of the watch includes a rotatable tachymeter bezel, as well as the chronograph pushers on the right side of the watch. The only slight qualm that we have with are the pushers – the “click” has a bit too much of a resistance, but for a timepiece at this price point, it is forgivable. Otherwise, it is definitely a solid timepiece for what it is.

The Movement: ETA Valjoux 7753

Powering the Rallye is the ever-reliable ETA Valjoux 7753. For the uninitiated, the Valjoux 7753 is a self-winding movement with a chronograph and date function. This watch beats at 28,800 bph, and it has a power reserve of around 44 hours.

While there is no exhibition caseback, but we assume that the movement has an industrial-level of finishing. Again, for a timepiece at this price point, the finishing (or the lack thereof) is not uncommon and appropriate for what it is.

Competitive Landscape

The Yema Rallye Andretti Limited Edition is relatively well-priced at US$2,699 (approximately S$3,855). It is also limited to a production of 1969 pieces, and each piece is individually numbered on the back of the watch.

Additionally, the watch also comes with 3 vintage rally-style watch bands (black, light brown and dark brown), a special limited edtion leather watch box, a commemorative medal, and two autographs of Mario Andretti himself. For fans of motorsports, this is an exceptional deal!

The Bell & Ross V3-94 R.S.19 is a modern alternative to the Yema Rallye. This piece, made in collaboration with the Renault F1 team, is perhaps more suitable for the younger crowd who wants a more vibrant and contemporary looking timepiece. The watch is priced at S$6,400. It is, however, almost twice as expensive as the Yema – hence it might be out of reach for some collectors who are looking for entry-level pieces. Notably, it is limited to a production of 999 pieces.

The Chopard Mille Miglia 2018 Race Edition is an option for someone who wants a watch with racing pedigree, but with a more subdued and classic design. This is drastically different from the Bell & Ross, but we reckon that the Chopard might be of more interest to the slightly mature crowd. The watch is priced at CHF 5,450 (approximately S$8,103), and it is limited to a production of 1,000 pieces.

Finally, we have the TAG Heuer Monza. Inspired by the older Heuer watches with coussin case (and a classic racing circuit as its namesake), the Monza is perhaps one of our favourite TAG Heuer watches that is available out there. The all-black PVD case is stunning, and the contrasting red accents gives the watch a great racing touch. Priced at US$5,250 (approximately S$7,518), the well-loved 42mm Monza is certainly a worthy addition to any watch collection of a racing fan.

Concluding Thoughts

There is so much to like about this watch, especially if you are a fan of motorsports. Andretti himself is a legend in the world of motor racing, and Indy 500 is one of the most popular motorsports event in the world. For motoring fans who are watch collectors, this is just a brilliant timepiece that ticks all the right boxes. It is a fitting tribute to the original version indeed.

Looking beyond that, we do like the Rallye for its classic looks, as well as its palatable case size at 39mm. It offers good value as well for a limited edition timepiece at the sub-S$4,000 category. Granted, Yema might not be on par in terms of brand equity as compared to the likes of Longines or TAG Heuer. But do ask yourself this: Does that really matter?

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