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Sam Der Bedrossian makes Australia Day Honours List

Renowned Australian watchmaker Sarkis ‘Sam’ Der Bedrossian has been made a Member of the Order of Australia.

The founder of SAMS Group Australia, best known for designing and distributing the Classique timepiece brand, featured on the 2019 Australia Day Honours List for service in a particular locality or field of activity or to a particular group.

Der Bedrossian, who is of Armenian descent, emigrated to Australia from Egypt in 1964 as an accountant, but soon turned a childhood dream into a profession working for the Railway Clocks Contractors repairing train guard pocket watches and bus-stop clocks.

His experience with Swiss watches came a year later at Neuchatel Watch Sales, but in 1967 Der Bedrossian decided to start his own business, Sams Watchmaker Jeweller, and within months he had enough clients to move to an office in Sydney’s Market Street and employ his first watchmaker.

His focus shifted from assembling watches for others to designing his own Classique brand, with the Swiss-quality timepieces becoming a flagship product for his company. Today, Classique’s wide range of watches include men’s and women’s dress watches, fashion, solid gold, chronographs, as well as pocket and pendant watches.

Although better known as Classique Watches, in 2011, Sams Watchmaker Jeweller rebranded as SAMS Group Australia and expanded its offering by taking on the distribution of fashion jewellery brand Tresor Paris and RM Williams’ watches. Today, the company also represents Pink Kimberley Diamonds Australia and Blush Pink Diamonds.

Alongside his contributions to the watchmaking sector, 78 year-old Der Bedrossian has also been a highly active member in Australia’s Armenian community.

In being made a Member of the Order of Australia, he was recognised for his involvement in a range of roles, including the Diocesan Council of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Australia and New Zealand, Homenetmen - Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts (pan-Armenian diaspora association) and Homenetmen Regional Committee of Australia.

He is a benefactor and supporter of both TAFE NSW and Watch and Clockmakers Australia, and was a past benefactor and supporter of the WOSTEP Program at RMIT University, Melbourne. He was also a recipient of the Arjanyats Medal, Homenetmen in 2013 and the Ardagark Medal in 1995. In 1987 he was named New South Wales Exporter of the Year.

Ellendale Diamonds Australia

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