His move into making watches part time was somewhat inspired by his training for triathalons, which involve running, swimming and biking long distances. He noticed that many watches — especially the bands — simply don’t hold up under that kind of strain.
“Leather is great, but wet leather is not great,” he said.
The need for a highly functional watch also became more clear when the Carpenters had their first child, Penelope, who is now 18 months old.
“Now, I am not just running and swimming and biking, but changing diapers and mowing grass,” he said.
So the couple started to work on various watch designs, eventually offering up about 30 different looks to customers who shop for their watches online.
“Jay was saying: ‘There has to be something that is both business professional and useful,” said Alexis Carpenter, who works full time in human resources training in the mortgage industry but also serves as a marketing and design expert for Handley Watches.
They introduced Handley Watches in March 2020.
“That was right when the world took a turn,” said Jay Carpenter, referring to the start of the pandemic. “So I figured we could fly under the radar for a time and take that time to improve our products and packaging and distribution and logistics and web content.”