Business News: Sam Hines (Re)Joins Sotheby’s

As Chairman of Watches.

Sotheby’s has just announced that Sam Hines will be Chairman of Watches, the top job in the watch and clock department, starting end June 2024. Mr Hines (pictured above left) will be based in Hong Kong, where he has lived for over a decade.

Having been expected by the industry for several months, Mr Hines’ new role sees him to return to a traditional auction house four years after he left Sotheby’s to join online auctioneer Loupe This.

Mr Hines was also a freelance consultant during that time and continued to work with Sotheby’s. He was instrumental in securing several high-profile timepieces for the auction house, including the Patek Philippe ref. 2526 with movement number 760’000 that once belonged to J.B. Champion and sold for over US$731,000 including fees earlier in 2024.

Alongside Mr Hines’ appointment, Sotheby’s also announced the promotion of Geoff Hess (above right) to Global Head of Watches. Previously the head of department in the Americas, Mr Hess will continue to be based in New York. Prior to joining Sotheby’s in August 2023, Mr Hess was a watch specialist the Phillips.


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The Gérald Genta Oursin is Reborn

A quirky, studded time-only.

Recently revived by Louis Vuitton’s La Fabrique du Temps (LFT), Gérald Genta has just taken the covers off the Gentissima Oursin.

Comprising three watches inspired by a 1994 model, the Oursin is a gently reworked take on the original, retaining the round, pebble-like case covered in studs and subtly facetted sapphire crystal. Though compact like the original, the modern-day Oursin is instead cased in titanium but fitted with solid-gold studs.

Initial thoughts 

In contrast to last year’s Mickey Mouse minute repeater, the Oursin is simple in terms of the movement, but it stands out for the complexity of the case construction as well as the striking design that is quintessential Genta.

Though the revived Oursin faithfully recreates the original, subtle improvements have been made to the design, most notably with the reworked lugs tucked under the case, giving it a seamless outline. Another upgrade is the Zenith Elite movement within that replaces the ETA of the original.

The new Oursin, however, remains similar in size to the original at 36.5 mm. I personally would have wanted something a little bigger, because the compact dimensions make the watch feel more decorative and ornate.

The Oursin starts at CHF22,000 in titanium with white gold studs, with the version featuring diamonds on the studs priced at CHF32,000. While not quite a value proposition, the prices are fair considering the construction as well as brand.

Quintessential Genta

French for “[sea] urchin”, oursin is a literal description of the model’s origins. According to Gerald Genta, the design came about during a seaside family vacation to Corsica.

It inspired the late Gerald Genta to create the watch, which turned out to be one of his widow Evelyne’s favourite designs. In fact, the late designer also created a unique version of the original Oursin for her.

The modern-day Oursin takes after the original in both style and size. The case is 36.5 mm in diameter and 9.6 mm high, in sandblasted titanium that’s set with 223 studs, each individually screwed into the case.

Three versions are available, with the variation is in the studs and dial: a grey dial with white gold beads, or a pink mother-of-pearl dial with rose gold beads set with diamonds.

The third versions departs more from the original: a black dial with a DLC-coated titanium case set not with beads, but with spikes.

Both the grey and pink mother-of-pearl dials feature a radial guilloche and minute track made up of white dots. The black dial, on the other hand, feature gold spikes for its five minute markers.

All versions are powered by the GG-005, an automatic movement that’s a Zenith Elite. It’s a slim movement running at 4 Hz with a 50 hour power reserve.

Key facts and price

Gérald Genta Gentissima Oursin

Diameter: 36.5 mm
Height: 9.6 mm
Material: Grade 5 titanium and yellow gold, DLC-coated grade 5 titanium and yellow gold or Grade 5 titanium and rose gold with diamonds
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: GG-005 (Zenith Elite)
Functions: Hours and minutes
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hours (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Calfskin leather (titanium and pink gold) or alligator leather (DLC-coated titanium)

Limited edition: No, but limited production
Availability: Available starting October 2024
Grade 5 titanium and yellow gold: CHF22,000
DLC-coated grade 5 titanium and yellow gold: CHF25,000
Grade 5 titanium and rose gold with diamonds: CHF 35,000

Prices exclude taxes

For more information, visit


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