Nixon (company)

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Nixon Inc.
Founded 1997
Headquarters Encinitas, United States
Products Wristwatches, Accessories, Apparel, Headphones, Portable Speakers

Founded in 1997[1] in Encinitas, California, Nixon is an American watches, accessories and audio brand. Focused on the youth lifestyle market, Nixon’s range of team-designed, custom-built products was first introduced at retail via independent boardsport retailers, including surf, skate, & snow shops. The brand’s range and popularity quickly grew to include distribution in specialty boutique and fashion stores including Barneys New York, Fred Segal, 10 Corso Como, Beams Japan, Colette, better watch retailers and more. Currently sold in 80 countries worldwide,[2] Nixon has also opened stand-alone retail stores in Berkeley, California as well as Bondi & Melbourne, Australia and Kuta, Bali.


Nixon was founded by Andy Laats and Chad DiNenna after DiNenna’s unsuccessful attempt to find a watch that reflected his personal style.

Both Laats and DiNenna worked in the action sports industry and were introduced through mutual people working in those circles. Laats, a former snowboard product manager at Burton with an engineering degree from Cornell University, was in the process of earning his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Stanford University when he and DiNenna met to discuss the start up of Nixon.[3] DiNenna, originally from Southern California, had studied Communications at California State University, Long Beach and previously worked in publishing at TransWorld Media for five years prior to the launch of Nixon.[4]

Laats and DiNenna raised nearly US$1 million from venture capitalists to start Nixon and, in 1997, the debut catalog was released; seven models were released through 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.[5]


In December 2006, Nixon was acquired by Billabong International for approximately US$55 million and a deferred payment of approximately US$76 million in FY 2012.[6]

During the spring of 2012, after six years under the Billabong umbrella of brands, Nixon once again became an independent brand. Nixon established an agreement with Trilantic Capital Partners (“TCP”) and Billabong, each of which now owns a 48.5% stake in the brand, with the balance 3% held by Nixon management, including Laats and DiNenna.[7] The resulting transaction values Nixon at approximately US$464 million, representing a multiple of approximately 9.2x LTM EBITDA.[8][9][10]


Nixon's "The Banks" watch. It features a dial that keeps the seconds, and a third dial to have the time in another time zone.


In 2009, Nixon released its first audio products with a line of fashion conscious headphones and has since continued in this category with higher quality offerings and portable speakers.

Nixon Surf Challenge[edit]

The Nixon Surf Challenge started out as a group of befriended Nixon team riders sharing waves together and has since developed into an annual and much anticipated event. Contrary to traditional high-stress competitions, the Nixon Surf Challenge is all about having fun, a relaxed atmosphere, and an emphasis on free-surfing and style. Participants are hand-picked in this invite-only event, drawing talents from all around the world. In the end the team joins together to crown a winner following a non-traditional scoring system—a unique feature of the contest and something that Transworld Surf has called a "refreshing change".[11]

Since 2000, Nixon has hosted the Surf Challenge near the Spanish/French border in San Sebastián, Spain and has featured a €10,000 prize purse. With a diverse history and natural beaches, it has long-been considered a favorite surfing spot in Europe by invited riders. For its ten-year anniversary, the event was brought to Lofoten Islands, Norway. In 2012, the contest was brought to La Graciosa in the Canary Islands of Spain.

Nixon Jibfest[edit]

Jibbing is snowboard speak for doing skateboarding-inspired tricks, like sliding on obstacles—the first mention of it came during a 1989 interview with pro snowboarder Nick Perata. Conversations to create an invite-only event that would elevate the level of contemporary snowboarding with custom courses and obstacles first came to Nixon via Jeremy Jones, JP Walker, and Dave Downing in the late 90s.[citation needed] From those early brainstorming sessions, the Nixon JibFest was born. With the expert help of Snow Park Technologies’ Chris “Gunny” Gunnarson, the Nixon JibFest has seen its fair share of custom, one-of-a-kind and often feared features, including some of the more known features, as seen in Mack Dawg Productions' Stand & Deliver, Decade and The JibFest Documentary films.[citation needed]

In 2011—after an eight-year hiatus—the Nixon JibFest returned as the premier invite-only snowboarding event. The revitalized contest brought with it a new custom course, a new crop of invited riders and a new jibbers playground. All was documented for an web series that launched on[12]


External links[edit]