What's in a name?
The HMS Arethusa, the name ship of her class (Arethusa light-cruisers), was commissioned by the Royal Navy on the 21st of May, 1935. Arethusa saw an active WWII campaign; beginning with her defense of Calais in 1940 and her involvement in the evacuations from French-Atlantic ports. By July 1941, she entered the Mediterranean theatre where she escorted convoys to Malta while assigned to the 15th Cruiser Squadron. In June of 1944, Arethusa returned to French Atlantic waters for the Allied invasion of Normandy, where she formed part of Force "D" off Sword Beach and participated in the shelling of German artillery positions in Merville. On D-Day plus 10 (June 16th), King George VI departed Great Britain aboard HMS Arethusa to visit British landing forces in Normandy.
Arethusa bore her share of battle scars during the war. In 1942, while operating in the Mediterranean during Operation Stoneage, she was struck by a torpedo dropped from an Italian aircraft, killing 156. Arethusa, heavily damaged but still seaworthy, was towed to Charleston Navy Yard, Charleston, South Carolina, USA, for full repair.
It was during this drydock period in the United States that Cyril B. Stansbury, Petty Supply Officer for Arethusa, met U.S. Navy WAVES decoder Margaret Barksdale, and the two would go on to be married. Over 75 years later, their grandson, Ethan, would find his passions for diving, history, and engineering coalescing to form a watch company. Arethusa Watch Co. now carries the torch, aiming to honor the memory of the resilient light-cruiser which bore the same name.
This is the spirit of Arethusa.
From Our Founder
Thank you to those who have already supported us, or are planning to preorder ARETHUSA's launch model. We are grateful for your support of our dream - to get the World Diver on the wrists of watch lovers all over the world.
I’m a watch guy. Like many of you, I have been collecting watches for more than a decade and always dreamed of bringing a design of my own to life. I studied Mechanical Engineering at Duke University and it was during my time there that the concept of starting ARETHUSA started to become less of an abstraction. I learned what goes into building a truly great product, and after graduating began to apply that knowledge to my passion for watches.
Beyond product design and engineering, my other major passion is travel. I've had the privilege of exploring the globe, summiting mountains and volcanos, SCUBA diving a number of the world's most beautiful spots, and learning cultures other than my own. At the core, travel is a critical opportunity to develop new perspectives and grow personally. The world has an endless list of beautiful places to explore, both natural and urban, and global travel has never been more accessible (when not in the midst of a global pandemic, of course). It is ARETHUSA's mission, therefore, to create affordable timepieces optimized for modern expeditions.
Designing, prototyping, and manufacturing wristwatches is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a very challenging task. To do it at all takes an enormous investment of time and resources, but to do it well takes determination and an uncompromising approach to quality. There are great timepieces available throughout the watch space right now, and with new brands entering all the time it takes a lot to stand apart from the crowd. With that in mind, I committed to designing and manufacturing the World Diver right, or not at all. Developing our launch model has been nothing less than an obsession, and throughout the design process ARETHUSA has been committed to making the World Diver worthy of a place on your wrist.
I hope you will take a moment to read the story behind the ARETHUSA name, as it has significant meaning to me personally. My grandfather, who served as Petty Supply Officer aboard the HMS Arethusa throughout World War II, was a world class gentleman and seasoned sailor. It is that spirit of adventure and elegance which the ARETHUSA name embodies.
We, as a watch community, have seen countless new brands saying they’re going to turn the watch market on its head and bring you luxury for less. At ARETHUSA, we simply want to make great travel focused watches and put them on the wrists of those who appreciate them. Above all, we are a company founded by watch lovers, for watch lovers. We will always stay true to those roots.
Founder | ARETHUSA Watch Co.