Founded in 1997 by Andy Laats & Chad DiNenna in Encinitas, California, Nixon is an accessories company for the youth lifestyle market. Nixon began with a small line of custom built, team designed watches with focused distribution in specialty surf, skate, snow, and fashion stores. Expanding into accessories and limited softgoods in 2000, Nixon has continued its growth into over 25 countries. Nixon was founded by Andy Laats and Chad DiNenna after DiNenna's unsuccessful attempt to find a watch that reflected his surfing lifestyle. Laats was a mechanical engineer with a bachelor's degree from Cornell University who had worked at Burton, a snowboard company in Vermont for six years, and who was getting his MBA from Stanford. DiNenna studied communications at Long Beach State and worked for publishing company Transworld for five years. The two raised nearly $1 million from venture capitalists to start Nixon and in 1997, Nixon's catalog debuted with seven models that were available at 200 retailers. Nixon opened a subsidiary in France in 2000, and by 2005 had 90 models and 60 employees, with sales growing by 55 percent annually.
In January 2006 Nixon was purchased by Billabong International for $54.6 million and was expected to contribute around 5%-6% in the 2006-2007 financial year. “The Billabong group has a lot to offer; the character of their leadership, our shared vision of Nixon’s future and their expertise in the specialty markets make them the perfect choice.” - Nixon co-founder Andy Laats. Since 2000 Nixon has hosted a surf challenge in San Sebastián, Spain near the Spanish/French border. With a diverse history and natural beaches, it was considered a favorite surfing spot in Europe by invited riders. Though the contest has a €10,000 purse, the surfing is peer-judged - something that Transworld Surf has called a "refreshing change". Nixon offers a variety of watches within various styles and classes for both Men and Women. Though once categorized by a system of "classes" (such as business, elite, etc.), products are now divided into men's, women's, and the elite classes. Nixon watches vary greatly in their functions and style. Many watches have been taken out of production either completely or replaced by a similar style of watch. Many of the watches that are currently in production have different styles for that particular model, such as different band materials and varying face designs. In Q1 2009, Nixon released a line of fashion-conscious headphones. The ear bud models are the Wire 8mm and Wire 10mm. The on ear headphone is the Nomadic, with an option of a mic. The high end over-ear headphone model is the Master Blaster.
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