The Abingdon Company’s Tool Watches For Active Women Are Making Horological History
Founded by female pilot and scuba diver Abingdon Mullin, The Abingdon Co. has been producing highly functional and attractive dive, aviation, motoring and tactical watches since 2007. “Our watches are designed by women for women to enhance their professional and personal planning, performance, and adventure,” said Mullin, whose company is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Retailing on the Abingdon Company’s website, the watches also launched on www.macys.com in May, 2022. Abingdon Company watches are also available through the AAFES – Army/Air Force Exchange and the U.S. Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) Enterprise stores and website.
In between customer presentations at the Abingdon booth at the 2022 Long Beach Scuba Show, Mullin introduced this writer to her precedent-setting brand, which counts 5,000 women divers, pilots, athletes, military officers, students, NASCAR racers, cruise ship captains, mothers and others around the world for whom time is of the essence. “Superior Swiss, Japanese and US movements power our watches,” Mullin began. “High quality US movements are a relatively new development on the scene, and we are very happy to be using these in some of our timepieces.”
For example, underwater cave diving scuba instructor Alessandra Figari, who is based on the Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, wore one of The Abingdon Company’s watches while representing her underwater cave diving company, Cave Training Mexico, at the Scuba Show. Figari showed this writer her Jane tactical watch, which is powered by a battery-operated, Ameriquartz movement made by Arizona-based Fine Timepiece Movements. (Figari also owns three other Abingdon watches and recently bought Abingdon’s Amelia aviation watch for her niece.)
As Figari explained, “With a diver’s bezel for smart timing, the Jane can descend to 660 feet, and with luminous hands and hour markings, it’s quite easy to read. It has an inner rotating compass protected under a sapphire crystal,” Figari continued. “This is the toughest glass used on watches.” Designed and assembled in Nevada with an American movement built in Arizona, the Jane also features a full ruler in standard and metric form that’s imprinted on the underside of the strap and engraved across the case back.
Intriguingly, the Abingdon Company’s global sisterhood, which Mullin refers to as her “crew”, includes pathfinders like Captain Kate McCue, the first U.S. woman to captain a cruise liner. McCue has been a captain for Celebrity Cruises since 2015, and she related in an email that, “Since Abingdon Co. came on my radar its Marina watch has been my watch of choice.” Abingdon Company watches are designed by an accomplished female pilot, McCue continues. “Because Abingdon understands the demands of unique positions and aesthetics, it means that I never have to compromise on form or function.” With her Marina watch and its yellow snapper-colored dial, she says, “I get the total package.”
Los Angeles-based Eugenia Kuzmina is another woman who appreciates the sleek design and effectiveness of an Abingdon Company watch. “I race cars, play golf, do stand up comedy and I am a parent,” Kuzmina explained. “Abingdon’s watches make me look the part when I do jobs that are considered somehow not so feminine. Abingdon is an innovator in the field of watches because she encourages women to break stereotypes and become leaders.”
Another notable female who favors Abingdon watches is the renowned German fighter pilot Nicola Bauman. Bauman and one other woman were chosen out of 86 candidates in 2016 to train as Germany’s first female astronauts. While Bauman later withdrew from the program, she wears the Abingdon Amelia aviation watch. “The Amelia is a dual time zone timepiece with a date window,” Mullin explained. “A potentially life-saving feature of this watch is that it contains an E6B Flight Calculator, which provides a pilot with essential backup tools in case of instrument failure.”
This is indeed quite a clever watch, for when using the unique slide rule bezel, as Mullin detailed, “it can be adjusted in either direction to perform calculations against the bottom scale.” The Amelia can convert from the Imperial or US system to the metric system thanks to the red arrows around the inner and outer bezels of the slide rule on the watch. “For example,” Mullin ventured, “let’s say you wanted to convert statute miles to kilometers. All you do is line up one number to the red arrow (for example, the red arrow next to “STAT” for statute miles) and look for the corresponding arrow next to the “KM” for kilometers. We have a video on our Youtube.com channel that goes over the basics and it’s really easy to follow,” she said.
While presenting the Abingdon company’s newest dive watch, the Nadia, which is automatic, water resistant to 660 feet and fitted with a bi-directional compass, Mullin shared its origin story. “The Nadia was tested in underwater try-outs in Fiji, Mexico, Australia and Hawaii by Cathryn Castle Garcia and Bonnie Toth, who are both inductees of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame.” As Mullin recounted, the Nadia’s atypical screw down crown creates a more effective water seal compared to a standard pull-out crown. As Mullin explained, “The screw down crown locks firmly in place once it is tightened. Someone would have to take the time and expend effort to unscrew this crown in order to use the compass or change the time. On the other hand,” she said, “a typical pull-out crown can be much more readily manipulated, so each time it is pulled out, the water seal is temporarily compromised.”
The Nadia’s internal bi-directional compass is used with the sun and the watch hands in order to find North, and it can also rotate both clockwise & counter-clockwise directions. The Nadia’s compass is on an internal metal chapter ring that rotates in both directions using a crown on the outside of the case. “The diver’s bezel is another great feature that serves as a handy quick timer,” Mullin related. “The diver’s bezel is used to keep track of time spent underwater. The 12 o’clock bezel marker is aligned with the minute hand, allowing up to 60 minutes of elapsed time to be read on the bezel. It’s a critical parameter along with depth & remaining air. The diver’s bezel is on the outside of the case and only rotates in one direction: to the left. You line up the triangle at the “0” mark with the minute hand and that’s it, you’re done. As the minutes go by, you can quickly and easily read how many minutes have passed since you set the bezel,” she added. “While I use the diver’s bezel when I’m diving, I also use it when putting dinner in the oven; timing a bike ride or working out at the gym.”
As fashionable and functional as they are accurate, water-resistant and knock-proof, Abingdon watches are also philanthropic. According to Mullin, “The Abingdon Foundation supports young women as they build bright futures in fields that have long been male strongholds. In 2018, the Abingdon Foundation began awarding scholarships to women pursuing aviation mastery at the Women in Aviation conference and at Heli Expo. Likewise, the foundation has helped sponsor women interested in outdoor-related careers through activities at the SHOT Show. The Abingdon Foundation has supported women scuba divers through its involvement with DEMA, the professionals-only global gathering event that connects members of the dive, action watersports and travel industries to create, discover and share opportunities to sustain and expand product offerings, services and overall business. As Mullin explains, “Using these conferences as a backdrop, we are able to introduce our scholarship recipients to women of influence in their respective STEAM fields so that they can develop their own networks with groups of women who can help guide them on their respective paths. We women have the power to create our own opportunities,” Mullin maintains. “As knowledge is shared, connections are made, women’s lives are strengthened and a community is built.”
SkyWest Airlines pilot Jessica Richardson can attest to that. As she related in an email, “I met Abingdon shortly after I earned my private pilot certificate at the 2016 Nashville Women in Aviation conference. I was her foundation’s “It’s About Time” scholarship winner that year. The scholarship includes airfare, room and board, registration to the Women in Aviation conference, plus one of her amazing watches.” Gaining access to leaders in the female aviation community gave Richardson a career boost. As she recalled fondly, “During the conference, Abingdon introduced me to people in nearly every avenue of aviation and I formed friendships and connections that I still have today.”
Richardson, who has been flying for SkyWest since 2019, explained, “Before the conference, I was quite shy, and it took me two to three days to warm up in an unfamiliar situation. I realized I only had three days to experience the conference, so I overcame my shyness, asked questions, and found myself encouraged by every woman I talked with. Thanks to Abingdon and that conference, I’ve become more empowered professionally and personally.” For the record, Richardson wears the Jackie aviation watch in Sunset Pink.