Martenero founders John Tarantino and Matt O’Dowd joined forces a few years back. Their goal? To create an American made watch brand inspired by the watches of times gone by. In that vein, the duo have just birthed their two inaugural models, the Ace ($485) and the Founder ($485).

Adding a unique aspect to the American Made cache, both mechanical watches are customizable with a variety of dial, hand and strap options. The piece you spec out in the Martenero online store is your own, and will be custom assembled right in New York City with a Japanese-made Miyota movement. You won’t find that with other Made in the USA brands. Of course, standard options are available too for indecisive types.

The Ace harks back to the old pilot/observation watches of WWII with its sword hands and small diameter military hour track. (Observation watches were essential pieces of kit for a flight crew needing to operate in synchronization. They were nearly the size of steel hockey pucks to make them easier to read and to handle while wearing gloves.) The Ace offers the same style in smaller (42mm), updated form — a nice touch when you’re riding shotgun and navigating on the next beer run.


The Founder’s dial (also 42mm) design is reminiscent of sports watches of the 1960s. The watch has a definite retro racing feel when mounted on one of the optional striped NATO straps. The white dialed version with the navy & white NATO would go nicely with the vintage Shelby Cobra your dad has stashed in the garage.

Lately we’ve seen a burgeoning array of timepieces Made in the USA with a uniquely American style. The watches Messrs. Tarantino and O’Dowd have produced are poster children for the genre. Both are on short production runs of 1,000 pieces so they’re sure to go fast — just like the drivers and pilots of yesteryear who inspired them.

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