A token of friendship between two pioneering ladies of the 1930s, this watch was a gift given from Amy Johnson, an iconic British aviator, to her friend and well-known fellow American aviator, Amelia Earhart. The watch is engraved to the case back; To Amelia, In Sincere Admiration, Amy.
Amy had much to admire. In 1932, at the time Amy had given this gift to Amelia, Amelia had gained the title of the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Exactly five years after American aviator Charles Lindbergh became the first male pilot to accomplish a solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, female aviator Amelia Earhart dared this flight and became the first female pilot to repeat this incredible accomplishment. In May 1932, she successfully landed her plane in Ireland after flying across the North Atlantic. She was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross by the U.S. Congress for this flight. Just as Amelia captured the hearts of European aviators, so it was that Amelia in turn was captivated by the British fliers. Amy Johnson was not only the first British woman to be granted an aircraft ground engineer’s license, but she is most recognized as the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia in 1930. Johnson and Earhart created a phenomenon in the US and UK, evoking massive excitement internationally with their outstanding efforts and charming personas.
Both Amelia and Amy were thought of as a natural fliers, born for the industry with a knack for mechanics and a love for setting long distance records. Bound by their worldly visions, they had become close and soon founded the North Atlantic Flight Club, its members restricted to those who had flown alone across the North Atlantic, on which bases five pilots were then legible including the two women. However, their dedication stemmed further into other areas which included female rights, equality and education, topics so important to their progression. Amelia continued to promote ‘The Ninety-Nines,’ a New York based organization that she founded which was dedicated to female aviators and is still ongoing today. Among her other favorite organizations was the Society of Women Geographers.
In Amelia’s own words, she describes the foundation for her choice of profession which captures her free spirit and allegiance:
“Flying is so much more than just a quick way to traverse space. It’s freedom and color and form and style. I am at home in the air. Lots of women are at home in the air. Many others, if they aren’t today, will be tomorrow.”
Amelia Earhart and Amy Johnson overcame many battles in the world of female aviation at such a young age. Their story is one of triumph that will be ongoing in the history of flight as well as equal rights. Not only did this watch belong to a woman who broke boundaries, it is a symbol of reaching new heights, breaking molds and creating a world that favors personal ability.