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REACTOR: The ultimate in sports watches
joins WON Cabo Tuna Jackpot as Sponsor


After a strong East Coast showing, this Agoura, CA-based company is pushing into its backyard market with best-built watch -- in the world

By PAT McDONELL
WON Staff Writer

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AGOURA HILLS , CA -- Jimmy Olmes isn't the retiring type. In 2000 he and his partners at Freestyle sold the watch company and planned to retire. After all, Freestyle's Shark had captured 75 percent of the sports watch market.

Two years of "retirement" later, after being given a gentle nudge out the door by the wife, Olmes set out to create a company that would set a new standard in watch design, quality and customer satisfaction. If he was going to start a new watch company, Olmes said, the mission would be to build the best performance sports watch in the planet with the best customer service."

It's five years later and the result are in: A total of 99 styles of Reactor, the bulk of which range from $200 to $500 that combine beauty, brains and brawn that even if they are not indestructible, if you do break one, the warranty is bulletproof and the turnaround is just a few days.

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Last week Reactor signed on as sponsor of the Cabo Tuna Jackpot to kick off its marketing and distribution effort to bring the watches from their strong East Coast base to the West Coast where the SoCal company is located in Agoura near Olmes's home. The Reactor group will at attend the Nov. 5-8 event in Cabo, sponsor the Friday night Cabo Wabo Rock and Roll party, hand out more than 20 watches in drawings and two diamond-encrusted his-and-her Flux watches worth $2,500 each will be raffled off at $10 a ticket over 4 days of the event, with all proceeds going to the Cabo Children's Center for single working mothers.

What anglers will find with a Reactor watch is that they pack an enormous amount of data, such as tides around the world, into a nearly indestructible timepiece.

Scott Lipsett, Olmes's longtime friend, and former Freestyle creative direactor, is responsible for the overall image of the Reactor brand and develops all of Reactor's advertising, marketing, and is a critical voice in every decision.

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"Disgustingly, the West Coast is a fairly new market for us even though the company is here," said Lipsett. Distribution has been problem in this coast, he said, but the Jeff Robles rep group (which handles Mustad, Shimano and other top tackle companies) signed on recently. The Florida dive market kicked off the strength of the Reactor's East Coast sales. "From day one the watch line was conceived as a water sports watch for in and around the water on a daily basis."

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The fishing market on the west coast is a natural for Reactor because many anglers are all-around watermen, wanting a watch that looks good and won't break when they dive, fish and surf, with tidal data as accurate to the minute around the world.

"It's a database watch, which means we take tidal data from government sources and integrate into the watch so it's as accurate as a printed tide chart, There's 10 years of data for 275 areas worldwide." It's versatile too, with some models with analog and digital functions. Push a button and digitally it shuts off an you now are wearing a high-end analog watch.

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Okay, but will fall off in big waves or on a fishing boat? Will it break, or fill it fill up with water when I forget to screw in the crown?

The watches are made of titanium and stainless steel, and EVERY watch made is water-tested to 200-foot pressure. "There isn't another company that does that. Most companies water test 10 percent of the line and air test the rest. Air is not as invasive, and also, if the watch fails an air test, it's repaired and still can be sold. Not one that fails a water test. It's ruined."

As for the screw-in crown, that typical watch bugaboo that ruins many a high-end watch like a Rolex. You know, the one that's never covered by a watch company's warranty? Water gets in a Rolex when you fail to screw in the crown, it's $500 minimum to repair it, he said.

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"Every Reactor watch is water tested at 100 meters of pressure with the crown unscrewed," said Lipsett. No wonder the warranty is two years, unconditional.

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If there is problem with the watch, on the west coast, the turnaround at Agoura Hills where all repairs are done is two days. "The turnaround out here in the west should be no more than four days, off your wrist. The industry average is eight weeks," said Lipsett.

Will it fall off? The metal bracelets feature a three-way closure system. How about the spring bar that is usually the cuprit?

"The best spring bars that attach the band to the watch case break at 35 pounds of pulling," said Lipsett. "That's inadequate, we think. We have a solid steel rod screwbar that is tested to 200 pounds (300 pounds in some models) which means a 200-pound person can hang from one of the bands without the band breaking from the watch."

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As Lipsett says, his longtime friend, an avid outdoorsman, only intended to create a watch company that had one goal. Make the most durable watch possible to build."

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Said Olmes, "The bottom line is that Reactor is a company founded on a business ethic handed down to me by my father. Every decision is put to a very simple test -- is it the right and fair thing to do? Profits are, and will always be, the byproduct of doing the right things for the right reason. All decisions are made on a win -- win basis and from a very long-term perspective.

"After all, customers are hard to reach and very easy to lose, but once you have a loyal following that trusts you and your brand, there is no end to your success."

To get more details on this new Tuna Jackpot sponsor, contact Reactor by phone (818) 597-2900, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or through the company's outstanding, informational website, www.reactorwatch.com, or through the mail at:

Reactor Watches
5312 Derry Ave., Suite B,
Agoura Hills, CA 91301.