Yema Transanarctic Bi-Pole (Transantarctica Polar Navigational) wristwatch

    Yema Transanarctic Bi-Pole (Transantarctica Polar Navigational) wristwatch

    Yema Transanarctic Bi-Pole– clocks —


    Yema Transanarctic Bi-Pole (Transantarctica Polar Navigational) wristwatch

    While I have several dress watches, including the , my day-to-day needs include an indestructable wristwatch.

    For a while that was the , which my wife

    now wears so she can tell what time it is in the middle of the night, when she’s breastfeeding .

    The love of my wrist these days is the Yema Transanarctic Bi-Pole.

    Yema Bipole watch for Transantarctica expedition. Limited quantity produced. French quartz movement. Large 46mm solid titanium case, reversible see-through sapphire crystal front (North pole) & back (South pole). Red Kevlar waterproof band and brown leather band. Waterproof to 300 ft (100 m) with screw-down crown. Sidereal solar sighting compass (anti-magnetic). Two screwdrivers and extra screws included for change of bands. Transparent triangular plastic case.

    It was for the 1989 International Transantarctic Expedition that Dr. Jean-Louis Etienne, team leader (with Will Steger), commissioned Yema (of France) to manufacture a wristwatch which would allow the explorers a way to find their bearings via the sun; the watch displays mean as well as sidereal time. Only 1500 units were made, at an original retail price of US$1500.

    I happened across the Bi-Pole at the North Face store near Union Square, . It looked great on my wrist, but the price was prohibitive. Still, it never left the horology part of my brain. Years later I discovered one at a reasonable price, and have since snagged a second one (which Rose also wears).

    The Yema watch company was founded in Besancon, France, in 1948. Yema became James Bond’s first movie watch (Dr. No, 1962).

    Here you see the book written about the adventures, Transantarctica – Expedition durchs Eis (German: Across Antarctica – Expedition Through the Ice), by Jean-Louis Etienne; Ilse Rothfuss (translator).

    Sunday 16 Jan 2005


    I also have a Yema Bipole. An interesting watch, but very hard on batteries. I purchased mine new in Washington, D.C. before I left on my climbing expedition above the arctic circle.

    Some interesting facts about this watch:

    Neither Yema or Longines (US importer) will honor the original lifetime battery replacement agreement. A few years after Longines moved its repair department to Rio (yes, South America), the watchmaker refused to work on the watch stating that he had disposed of the special tools and parts needed to work on and repair the watch.

    The back is a press fit with a red plastic gasket. This gasket, as well as the other two clear cushion/spacer gaskets can be readily found from supply houses.

    A Horotec case crab, or 4 Delrin wedges can be used to open the back. Great care must be taken or damage will result. Do not tamper with the top at all! It is a very very tight interference fit, and is not meant to be removed ever.

    Underneath the back dial is an FE7020 quartz movement. The movement has been discontinued. The FE7021 can replace it, but does not have the gmt function.

    The crown is nothing special, but the stem is. If it breaks, it can be replaced with the one from the FE7021.

    The hands are painted with a compound that will fluoresce in flat light.

    One piece bands can be made using a template from the original band. I used rayskin, but 1/8″ thick leather would work well and be much cheaper. Buckles are very hard to find for the band. There is a gent on the web who sells a Panerai buckle copy that fits and is cheap and heavy duty.

    The original red kevlar and velcro band will not hold up to longtime use. It will start fraying badly.

    Treat the watch with TLC, parts are impossible to come by.


    Scott Yembrick

    Have you found errors nontrivial or marginal, factual, analytical and illogical, arithmetical, temporal, or even typographical? Please let me know; drop me . Thanks!









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