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Lion Brands closes its Swiss watch business

Lion Brands, a distributor of high-end Swiss watches, suddenly closed its business last week. Phone calls to the Melbourne head office on Friday were met with a recorded message saying, “This number is no longer in service and you cannot leave a message.”

Lion Brands represented 12 high profile brands including Bell & Ross, Alpina, Frederique Constant, Corumm, Edox, Wenger, and Victorinox. The company also operates two retail stores under the name 8th Avenue Watch Co, which claim to be “Australia’s largest retailer of independent Swiss Made watches”.

The stores opened in 2015 and are located at Emporium Shopping Centre, Melbourne, and Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast, however, according to 8th Avenue staff, they are set to close on 28 February.

“We have to pack up all the stock at the end of the month and send it back to Melbourne,” a staff member explained. The stores’ website is now promoting “Big brand watch sale now on”.

Graeme Goldman, founder Lion Brands
Graeme Goldman, founder Lion Brands

Lion Brands’ website makes no mention of it closing. Graeme Goldman, a former managing director of The Swatch Group Australia, established Lion Brands in 2011. The company’s ‘About Us’ page states Goldman started the company because “he had a dream about building a multi-brand watch distribution business to fill a gap in the marketplace. With the help of a dedicated team and our retail partners, this dream continues to grow from strength to strength”.

Upon establishing that the company’s phone number was disconnected, Jeweller telephoned Goldman, who said he was unaware the business had been closed, stating: “I’ve been out of it since the end of October [last year]”. 

Goldman said he was surprised at the closure, and directed further enquiries to his former business partner, Anthony Hoffman. Hoffman owns a separate architecture and interior design business, with which the watch supplier shared offices in Glenhuntly, Melbourne. 

Anthony Hoffman director Lion Brands
Anthony Hoffman director Lion Brands

When asked for Hoffman’s phone number, Goldman advised: “I don’t have his phone number. I deleted all his details when I exited the business relationship, so he’s out of my life and I’m out of his life.”

Goldman said that he got out of the business for personal reasons.

Attempts to contact Hoffman directly were unsuccessful; the company’s brand manager, Joshua Goodman also said he didn’t have Hoffman’s number. Goodman’s Linkedin profile indicates that he started with Lion Brands in February 2015 and ended in February 2019.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) records confirm that Goldman ceased being a director on 7 November 2018. He has played an active role in Entrepreneurs' Organisation, which bills itself as a “Global business network of 13,000+ leading entrepreneurs in 185 chapters and 58 countries”.

Peter W Beck

Your Say

Loin Brands
Good riddens to Lion Brands
Nothing but poor service and lying Sales Reps.
No backing when the quality of the watches deteriorated
posted by Yana Mangleson on February 05, 2019 15:47

Swiss Watches
Serves them right with their cavalier attitude worldwide to watchmakers they won't supply to.Most of us refuse to sell or repair brands they don't support. Go Citizen and Seiko
posted by Jim Irwin on February 05, 2019 17:49

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