The iconic Newport watch, created in 1988 by the Michel Herbelin French Watchmaking Studio, is celebrating its 30th birthday this year. To mark the occasion, the brand is issuing a Newport automatic with three hands and date, in a numbered limited series of 500 pieces worldwide. This exclusive special edition timepiece is a modernist reinterpretation of the Newport.
The new-generation Newport harbours elements of both the original Newport watch, released in 1988, and the Newport Connect, the first French-made smart watch, launched in 2017.
Faithful to the Newport codes, it is instantly recognisable thanks to central horns, the wide-berth bezel, the ship’s wheel on the crown, and tapered hour markers in the form of stylised hulls. As always anchored at sea, this incarnation of the timepiece is inspired by stealth ships.
The polished steel case is faceted and at 41 mm measures a fraction larger than the previous 40.3 mm diameter. Coated in anthracite grey PVD, the case has a distinguished air suggestive of the watch’s high tech influences. The bezel, also in anthracite grey PVD-coated steel, is discreetly engraved “Newport”. Five bezel screws, inspired by yacht winches, punctuate a functional, no-nonsense dial. Framed by the minute track on a circular brushed blue flange, the black carbon backdrop showcases black nickel hands specially designed for Michel Herbelin. Adding a dynamic dimension to the ensemble, the hands are partially finished with a luminescent coating, as are the imposing hour markers, for optimal readability. A date aperture is discreetly positioned at 3 o’clock. The notched crown, taking a conical form here, is the finishing touch to this timepiece.
The watch is built to last with a sturdy FKM rubber strap, and meticulously finished to ensure comfortable wear. The smooth, shiny finish stunningly sets off the modern-day elegance of this limited edition.
Only 500 pieces will be issued worldwide. Not to leave any client disappointed, Michel Herbelin has lined up a new-generation steel Newport with three hands and date for general release. Distinct from the anniversary edition, the watch has a blue sunburst dial and leather strap.
Fitted with a Swiss-made ETA automatic mechanical movement that clocks 28,800 vibrations per hour, this watch is water-resistant to 100 metres and offers a 42-hour power reserve. Showcasing impeccable attention to detail, the transparent caseback reveals an oscillating mass engraved “Michel Herbelin” and decorated with a Côtes de Genève pattern, proffering a glimpse of the circular-grained bridges and frame.
As with all of the brand’s timepieces, this Newport was drawn, designed, assembled, adjusted and inspected at the Michel Herbelin studio in the Jura Mountains of the Franche-Comté region.
Model: Newport Automatic
Limited edition of 500 pieces
316L stainless steel with anthracite grey PVD coating
Transparent screw-on caseback
Conical crown engraved with a ship’s wheel
Diameter: 41 mm
Water-resistant to 100 metres
Black carbon with circular brushed blue flange
Hull-shaped luminescent hour markers
Black nickel hour and minute hands
Date aperture at 3 o’clock
Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Blue FKM rubber
ETA automatic 11½ 2824 specially developed
25 jewels, 28,800 vph, 11 blue screws
Oscillating mass engraved “Michel Herbelin”, Côtes de Genève pattern
Circular-grained bridges and frame
42-hour power reserve
Recommended Retail Price
Newport : Three Decades of History
In the early 1980s, when Jean-Claude Herbelin took over the reins of the company his father founded, he set his sights on launching a new collection that would encapsulate the core values and French watchmaking heritage of the Michel Herbelin brand. This collection would go on to become a figurehead of the Michel Herbelin style.
The Newport collection honours the family’s passion for sailing and the sea. Inspired by the yachts competing in the America’s Cup Race in Newport, Rhode Island, these timepieces have anchored the brand’s reputation in the world of sailing, where watchmaking played a key role in keeping seafarers safe from the late 18th century onwards. With a watch that takes its shape from the portholes of transatlantic yachts, the Newport captures a spirit of adventure, charting a course for freedom and far-flung destinations.
Immediately identifiable by its central horns, the Newport displays its nautical affiliations with a ship’s wheel on the dial and crown, and hull-shaped hour markers. The first men’s model released in 1988 was water-resistant to 50 metres and fitted with a quartz movement. The gold-plated brass case was protected by a mineral crystal and measured 34 mm in diameter.
At the time of its release the Newport watch was immediately welcomed into the Michel Herbelin family worldwide. In addition to the atypical design characterised by its central horns, this distinctive model offered striking combinations of colours and materials: a deep blue dial decorated with gilt hour markers and a ship’s wheel, a blue sharkskin strap, and a yellow-gold-plated brass case complemented by an imposing rhodium-plated brass bezel. Over the years an array of new men’s and women’s models featuring quartz and automatic movements have been added to the Newport collection. The case has appeared in stainless steel and titanium-treated steel, and the dial has taken on a unique indigo blue hue.
A firm favourite since its initial release, buoyed by international advertising campaigns, the Newport watch has become an icon of the Michel Herbelin French Watchmaking Studio and cemented the brand’s reputation around the globe. The Newport broke records with two-figure growth in sales between 1991 and the 2000s.
In the early years of the 21st century Michel Herbelin added two new lines to the Newport collection, both of which were distinguished by the absence of the signature central horns from the strap. The Newport Royale line was designed with women in mind. These quartz watches feature genuine mother-of-pearl dials decorated with diamonds, and are available in a choice of steel or 18K yellow gold. The Newport J-Class line was inspired by the company’s watchmaking heritage. These automatic timepieces are assembled by hand using the calibre of artisan craftsmanship and skill associated with J-class yachts. Available in a choice of steel or 18K yellow gold, the complications aboard these movements include flyback, GMT, and power reserve.
So far, any deviations from the original Newport watch had been slight. But in 2007 Michel Herbelin treated the Newport to a full makeover, presenting an updated quartz chronograph in a chestnut hue. It was a new era for the Newport collection. A year later the Newport Trophy Grand Sport line was launched, comprising chronograph sports watches and diving watches in ceramic, rubber and stainless steel.
In 2010, the French watchmaker brought the Newport back to its roots with a redesign that anchored the timepiece firmly in its time. The redesign was an instant hit. More faithful to the original Newport created in 1988, the new collection featured ladies’ and men’s watches that were practical yet refined. The Newport stayed its course as it evolved into a three-handed model with date, a chronograph and a limited-edition skeleton model.
Michel Herbelin French Watchmaking Studio celebrated its seventieth anniversary in 2017, but was as always turned resolutely towards the future. The Newport Connect watch, unveiled at Baselworld, stays true to traditional watchmaking codes, integrating smart functions in a classic analogue dial. A distillation of innovative technology showcased in a watch inspired by the iconic Newport collection, the Newport Connect by Michel Herbelin is the first smart watch made in France, marking a milestone in French watchmaking history.
In keeping with the success the Newport collection has brought the brand since 1988, Michel Herbelin has a buoyant presence in the nautical world. The brand is a proud patron of enterprising sailors, and since 2015 has sponsored the Porquerolles Classic yacht regatta, a race around the islands off Hyères in the south of France, which takes place in early June.
Three decades since it was created in 1988, the Newport watch continues to be the brand’s number one best-seller. It is made in Charquemont, France, in the same small town near the Swiss border where watchmaking enthusiast Michel Herbelin set up shop in 1947 to produce his first Impec watches, timepieces of simple, elegant design. The brand now retails in some 50 countries and continues to grow thanks to the Newport’s enduring popularity.