Esso Watches was a retail business selling a range of watches that claimed to be infused with negative ion technology. Their range of products included three different designs. The main selling point of the watches was the negative ions that the watch seemingly provided the wearer.
The negative ion technology was vaguely described as a source of balancing the positive ions emitted by electronic devices. Esso Watches claimed that their products had negative ions, which restore the natural energy field in the human body.
As a result of this restored energy field, the watch’s wearer will become much more balanced. The negative ions will cancel out the positive ions’ undue pressure on the human body.
Founder Ryan Naylor was inspired when he saw people wearing these negative ion watches in Italy and decided to bring the idea to the United States market.
Despite its groundbreaking claim of restoring the wearer’s energy balance, Esso Watches is now out of business. The shutdown of the business came about after a claim on the word Esso by the company Exxon Mobil.
Naylor then reached an agreement with Exxon and shut down the business. He is now working on different ventures, including a website that helps people find jobs that fit their passions.
Though the business shut down due to copyright issues, Esso Watches was one of the most controversial projects to appear on Shark Tank. It made a few claims about its negative ion technology, but there was no objective way to measure whether it really did balance the wearer’s energy or not.
The technology it boasted of was not patented, and the products were not laboratory tested. Simply put, there was no way to determine whether the product did what it claimed.
How Did the Shark Tank Pitch Go?
As Ryan Naylor walked into Shark Tank, he did not expect the Sharks to act like the animals they were named after. His appearance on Shark Tank remains one of the most ruthless interrogations and can also be used as a lesson in rejection for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Naylor asked for $35,000 in exchange for a 20% stake in his company. His offer was, however, never discussed as the issues with the product took up all the limelight.
Perhaps Naylor’s timid attitude and Mark Cuban’s background in professional sport made the pitch such a shrewd debate. As soon as Naylor introduced the idea of the watch increasing balance for the wearer, it was visible that Cuban was unamused and outright dismissive of the product. He rejected the sample Naylor handed over during his pitch, and it was obvious that Cuban was on a mission.
As a majority stake owner of the basketball team Dallas Mavericks, Cuban was already aware of the negative ion technology fad as athletes were using these watches or bands. He saw the entire technology as a scam and told Naylor that what he was selling was a placebo effect rather than an actual product.
Cuban had already made his very strong feelings known, and now the other Sharks started to get in on the act. O’Leary asked about the product’s sales, and Naylor replied that they had made around $ 70,000 in profits, showing that there was a market for the watch.
Lori Greiner wanted to know whether the business had conducted independent laboratory testing to support its claims. Naylor replied that they had not, but the technology had been around for ages. Greiner pulled out, claiming the product to be a liability nightmare.
Daymond John inquired about the three designs on offer. Naylor informed him that two of the three on display were his designs. John told Naylor that the designs were lifted straight from a company he worked with called Rumba TIme. He pulled out of negotiations because the designs were not original.
Kevin O’ Leary was perhaps the only Shark not dictated by emotion and still saw a chance to make some money. He was willing to make an offer if Naylor admitted if the product really was a scam. Naylor did not admit to it.
Mark Cuban went further in his crusade against negative ion technology and threatened to beat up O’Leary if he made an offer. O’Leary pulled out because he did not want to be beaten up by Mark Cuban.
Naylor left the pitch empty-handed. He lamented that Mark Cuban muddied the water for the other Sharks. The Sharks could be heard saying that Naylor didn’t believe in his products enough.
Our Review of Esso Watches
Esso Watches was an interesting business, but its biggest flaw was the claims it made of balancing the energy of the wearer. Mark Cuban claimed that the technology was a scam and a joke, and his passionate outburst may have had some truth.
Naylor’s description of the technology was vague mumbo jumbo that did not offer anything concrete. It was also not proven by objective testing, which makes many consumers wary.
The business, however, did see an uptick in customers after its Shark Tank appearance showing that people are interested in such a product.
Pros of Esso Watches:
- Range of designs to give more options to the customers
- Some customers claimed that the watches did give them a balancing effect.
- High-quality material is used in the design of the watches.
Cons of Esso Watches
- No independent lab testing, so there is no way to back up the claims.
- Some of the designs were not aesthetically pleasing
- Plastic/rubber material used for one of the designs can be bad for the environment
Esso Watches is no longer a functional business, but its products are one that can lead to a lot of polarizing reviews. Some people can dismiss it as a scam after using it, whereas some have reportedly felt the watch’s effect. It’s a tricky product that brings even more subjectivity with it than usual.
Who are Esso Watches For?
Esso watches did not have a designated audience as anyone could use its products. Even the pitch presented on Shark Tank focused on the effects on the human body, clarifying that the watches are for everyone.
There is, however, a subsection that gravitates more towards these balancing effects, and athletes are one of them. Understandably, they would use any means to enhance their elite performance levels further. Even now the NBA endorses similar products despite there being no proof of it producing results.
Mark Cuban still refuses to advertise such products on the Mavericks court.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Despite Mark Cuban’s hatred, many products are available in the market, boasting of using negative ion technology. They are usually referred to as balance bracelets. Many people wear these accessories believing they provide greater balance and, in some cases, boost serotonin production.
Some of the alternatives to Esso Watches are:
- Feraco Magnetic Negative Ion Bracelet
- Smarter Lifestyle Negative Ion Therapy Bracelet
- Energy Therapy Bracelet
Esso Watches was a controversial business that tended to bring out strong opinions. If the Shark Tank pitch was anything to go by, the reaction to the product is entirely dependent on the customer’s personality. Some, like Mark Cuban, like their facts and figures and are harder to persuade. Some can be convinced, and they do feel the effects.
It would, however, be naive to completely dismiss the product as there is clearly a demand for it. The Untimely demise of Esso Watches makes it impossible to determine whether the company would have found its niche or be one of those fads that fade away with time.