by Jeanevra Calhoun
Founder of The Abingdon Co., Abingdon Welch, began her venture into the world of aviation rather unexpectedly. For most high school students, career lunches mean one thing—free food—and that incentive was good enough for Abingdon. It was during one of her Wednesday afternoon high school lunches that she found herself amongst a room of boys and two pilots. After listening intently for the hour-long session and being the only student to set down the pizza to ask a question, Abingdon found she was immediately enveloped by the prospect of flying; so much so, she was late for next period.
Consumed by piloting opportunities like aerobatics, traffic watch, or relief aide, Abingdon began researching and saving money for flying lessons. While taking flying lessons, the soon-to-be pilot often noticed her male instructors’ complex watches and learned the calculations behind the face of the watch. In 2006, seven years from that career lunch she took her first flight lesson and thirty four days later she had her pilot’s license from Santa Monica Airport. She planned to reward herself with an aviation watch of her own, but there was one problem; all of the aviation watches in the market were tailored to men and she didn’t care for any of the watches in the market.
It was over Christmas dinner in 2006 that Abingdon decided to create an option for women. She was tired of seeing all of her male counterparts with beautifully masculine aviation watches while she and her female co-pilots couldn’t find anything on the shelves for women. Not even a year later, on her birthday, she launched The Abingdon Co. and featured two designs, The Jackie and The Amelia.
Although initially intended for female pilots, Abingdon’s watches are not restricted to the pilot market. The watches can perform many functions including currency conversion, speed and measure conversion as well as dual time conversions. The Lady Abingdon design even offers three time zones. In the ever-shrinking world of the pilot, businessman, or traveler Abingdon brings global necessities to one platform.
Since its launch in 2007, Abingdon has branched into eight different models and is looking to launch the Paper Airplane Series jewelry line in July. The line features all hand-made pieces made of white or rose gold exclusively designed for Abingdon by MXM in San Francisco. Each piece has a unique, hand-folded quality as if the jeweler were folding a paper airplane, hence the name. The modern, yet classic style looks to provide women with beautifully crafted, high-quality pieces. Beyond the upcoming jewelry line, has been mention other possible products such as sunglasses, luggage or active-wear continuing the company’s focus on bringing class and elegance to the active women’s market.
Abingdon Company also holds a strong partnership with Women in Aviation International (WAI), a non-profit organization that works to provide networking, education and mentoring for those interested in pursuing a career in aviation. Alongside Abingdon’s involvement with WAI, the company will also be involved with Mercedes Benz’s Diamond Jubilee campaign providing Owner’s Club members with selective pieces. Keep a look out, word has it you’ll see Abingdon and her watches on an upcoming TV series.
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Written by Jen Calhoun