An elegant sterling silver case, with the initials AE engraved on them, houses a watch of great historical importance. While the timepiece itself is a typical travel watch from the 1930s, it combines the tales of two extraordinary female aviation pioneers, Amelia Earhart and Amy Johnson.
Signed Tiffany & Co, the travel watch was a suitable gift that Earhart would be able to put to good use, as she flew to all the corners of the world. While in 1928, she was the first female passenger to fly across the Atlantic by airplane, four years later, she would do it again. Now she was alone and flying herself, being the first woman to make a nonstop solo transatlantic flight. This not only gave her celebrity status but also won her the admiration of other aviation pioneers, men and women alike, and among them Amy Johnson.
Johnson was a celebrity in her own right as she was awarded her pilot’s license in 1929 and went on to set several records. She was also in 1930 the first woman to fly from England to Australia solo. The Tiffany & Co travel watch she gifted to Earhart is also engraved on the case back with a personal message; ‘To Amelia, In Sincere Admiration, Amy.’ The watch was usually safely hidden within its sterling silver case but flipped up when it was slid open. This way, it could be placed on a nightstand or dresser, wherever she went. Beautiful Arabic numerals and prominent hands made reading the time quite easy despite the compact size of the watch, which is powered by a manual wind movement.
Earhart was unable to enjoy her travel watch for long, as in 1937 she, navigator Fred Noonan, and their plane disappeared near the Nukumanu Islands while she attempted a round-the-world flight. It became one of the most researched mysteries in time, with many theories about what might have happened to Earhart. However, up until now, the remains of her, her plane, or her navigator have yet to be found.
Amy Johnson met a similar tragic faith. She joined the Air Transport Auxilairy, which was responsible for transporting aircraft from the Royal Air Force around the UK. On January 5th, 1941, her plane went down into the Thames Estuary. While she was able to jump out, and her parachute was spotted by a convoy of wartime vessels passing by, rough seas prevented a successful rescue mission, and Johnson was lost to the sea, and her body never found. What was left is a unique travel watch linking these two aviation pioneers forever together in time.