Möels + Co., their Young Design-Forward Owner, and the New 369 - Worn & Wound (2024)

It’s always worth celebrating when we see true design artistry and a successful attempt at bringing something wholly unique to the micro-independent watch community. Betina Menescal is the creative mind behind Möels + Co. At 24 years old she is a powerhouse of fresh ideas and is determined to design watches that are completely original. You won’t find a single component in one of her watches, aside from the Sellita movements and straps, in a catalog anywhere. The numerals, the hands, the case, the crystal are all entirely designed by Betina, and manufactured for her alone.

The Designer

To say that Betina comes from an artistic family would be an understatement. There are three opera singers, a children’s musician, and her father, who would turn out to be a great influence for Betina. He was briefly into architecture but quickly moved on to media production. Among his credits: he was a co-director for the movie Anaconda, and produced commercials for the likes of Coca-Cola, Asics, Adidas, and did World Cup commercials for Gillette.

When Betina was nine years old, her father took her on a business trip to Buenos Aires. “My dad didn’t know how to talk to kids. So all he was doing was looking at the buildings and mentioning the architecture here, and the art there. Look at that little detail on the facade or the ceiling.” Betina began to notice that her father had an eye for these details, and how these small features fit into a whole. “It was always a big production with my father. Everything was part of a bigger picture. Even family photos, he couldn’t just take a picture, everything had to be considered.”

Betina’s creativity was entirely encouraged and fostered by her parents. She always explored the arts. In school she received the highest marks in her classes, and her parents were often approached by her classmates’ parents asking why they’d allow her to indulge something perceived as frivolous. “Each time someone would do that,” Betina recalls, “my parents would sever their ties with those parents.” Betina’s mother and father safeguarded her passions, instead of letting them fade over time. “I never had this feeling that the arts would take me somewhere. I will take myself somewhere. You can make it if you want, you just have to make something and be passionate. And if it doesn’t work, make something else. I knew I wanted to do something of my own. I didn’t know what or where,” she said.

After Betina’s first year of university, the pandemic hit, and quarantine started. Through a series of unfortunate circ*mstances, her parents sold their home in Portugal and moved to Italy, and Betina went to be with them. One day during quarantine her father approached her and asked, “Why don’t we each draw something?”


As a child, Betina’s father used to bring her watches as gifts when he came back from his work trips. “I had a billion Swatch watches. There came a point where I had to tell him ‘I don’t need anymore,’ because all you could hear in my room was ticking. I couldn’t sleep. I had to tuck them all away.” So, she wanted to draw a watch, because it was a passion of her father’s but also something she enjoyed from childhood.

She went to look up photos of watches, sections and cutouts of the movements and how they fit into the case. They began sketching watches together, and the more Betina researched and asked questions, the more she got hooked on drawing them. This went on for five straight months. Well, almost. “I tried drawing bags for a while as well,” she said, “but that wasn’t as fun. It didn’t catch on.”

The Brand

Betina notes that when she was a young girl she wanted to be a fashion designer, and this gradually evolved into a fascination in architecture. She even began going to school for architecture before leaving to pursue watches full-time; that’s when the fashion bug came back to bite her. “When I am out, I never have earphones on. I am always aware, and looking at people’s hands, their watches, and seeing what people are wearing.” Influences mixed from her childhood: her father’s interest in architecture, her own fascination with fashion, and then her mind for the concrete and functional all led her to commit to watches.

On top of encouraging Betina’s creativity, her parents also set an example in teaching her how to run her own business. “I knew what would be involved when I started my own business. It’s not 9-to-5 for me, it’s 24/7,” she said. The bond between her and her family is strong and is present in much of what she does. “I know that my parents would be proud no matter what I did, but I wanted to take what they taught me and do something with it,” she said.

She speaks as if the path for her was both built and chosen, knowing that she wanted to design, and also knowing that she wanted to create designs for herself. “I don’t think I would get to make these designs if I worked for someone else, so I knew I needed to work for myself.” Betina is fueled by the drive to push herself. She’s organized and task oriented. “Some people need someone to push them at first, and that’s alright. I didn’t need that.” From some people this level of self-assurance would be off-putting, but Betina’s humility comes through clearly as well.

With Möels + Co., Betina brings a fresh pair of eyes, offering originality at a time when many watches (even good ones) have cookie-cutter designs, and brings forth her unique creations with a noble goal in mind — to bring “creativity, desirability, and accessibility” to the community with a belief that “everybody deserves good design and that good design does not have to be out of reach.” And when Betina says ‘everybody,’ she means it. “I think a lot about making my designs inclusive. How will it capture men, women, and everyone in between.” The focus on thoughtful and good designs means, for Betina, that her watches would have no parts from a catalog. Everything would be of Betina’s own design, with the exception of the movements. Her background studying architecture would serve her well in constructing her unique cases.

The 528

The Möels + Co. 528 would be Betina’s first watch, and the product of hundreds of sketches and designs. After looking at the market, seeing that it was flooded with divers and other sport watches, she decided to move in the opposite direction and create a modern dress watch with some vintage vibes. More importantly, though, Betina wanted to create a watch that she would want to wear.

Encased around a Sellita SW200-1b, the 528 is a horizontally situated rectangular watch that captures the space-age of the 60’s with its polished case and sun ray lines bursting out from the right side of the offset dial and acting as five-minute increment markers. This dress watch also has the added functionality of being 100 meters water resistant with a screw-down crown.

Everything about the 528, with the exception of the Sellita movement and the strap, is Betina’s original design: the fonts, dial, hands, case, and even the piece that holds the movement in place within the case are all original creations made just for the 528. The production of the uniquely shaped crystal for the 528 took five months to make alone.

The design was so different and complicated that when Betina was looking for a manufacturer for the Möels 528, she received unsolicited advice from some urging her against making this type of watch as it’s “not what traditionally sells.” “I kept hearing what other people thought I should do — what they wanted me to do,” she said. But Betina was willing to give this endeavor everything she had. “If you are just starting and want to build a watch, totally from scratch, of your own design, and that is quality, you will need at least 100,000 Euros,” she said, “and for the first year or two, at least, it’s going to be all work and no reward.”

The 528 was a labor of love for Betina, a watch that would not only be different, but would also go on to win the A’Design Award in 2022 in the Jewelry, Eyewear and Watch Design category.

In keeping with Betina’s affection for her family, the 528 got its name from her mother, a spiritual woman in tune with her emotions and the impacts of frequencies on our bodies, she suggested 528. 528 hertz is known as the “love” frequency, and in music is said to relieve stress.

The 369

The 369 is Möels + Co.’s newest release, and is a more contemporary offering. After the release of the 528, Betina became more entrenched in the watch industry, and was connecting even more with the enthusiasts who were interested in her brand. “They liked the 528, but I didn’t want Möels to be known for one type of watch,” she said. So, she decided to reach deep into her bag of design capability and put out something entirely different from the 528, but more in line with what enthusiasts were looking for while keeping the DNA of her brand intact.

The 369 is an everyday 39mm sports watch that will come on either an integrated bracelet or an FKM rubber strap. It boasts 200 meters of water resistance with a case thickness of 12.25mm, and it reuses the Sellita SW200-1b movement that was in the 528. The 369 also utilizes BGW9 on its fully-lumed hands and indices. But the most interesting qualities of the watch reside in the nuances of its design.

“The real challenge of the 369 was in creating a watch that was doing something different, while not doing something different,” Betina said. This is a watch that seems to contain the entire universe within its design sensibilities. The dials, although stark, are colorful and keep the radiating lines you can find on the 528, but now in a more heavy-handed play of a symmetrical sector dial, which Betina says is meant to look like a “vortex, which is meant to spin very fast and pull objects into its center.” On the flip side of the watch you’ll find an exhibition caseback, with a twist. Betina designed a perforated plate to go in between the sapphire crystal and the movement meant to symbolize the cosmos, with the gold-tone rotor flickering passed like sun rays.

Like the 528, the 369 derives its name from a set of meaningful numbers, and not the typical representation that we as enthusiasts think when we hear “3.6.9.” Instead these numbers were meaningful to one of Betina’s inspirations, Nikola Tesla. Tesla believed that these numbers were integral to unlocking the secrets of the universe. And are the only numbers, according to Tesla, that “can exist as energy without losing their identity.”

Möels + Co., through the direction and designs of Betina Menescal, is creating a unique identity within the watch industry, and there are no cosmic limits to where they might go next. Möels + Co.

Möels + Co., their Young Design-Forward Owner, and the New 369 - Worn & Wound (13)

Author Chris Antzoulis

Chris Antzoulis is a published poet and comic book writer who over-romanticizes watches. Ever since his mom walked him through a department store at the budding age of six and he spotted that black quartz watch with a hologram of Darth Vader’s face on the crystal, he knew he was lost to the dark side of horology. He is currently eye-balling the next watch contenders now caught in his tractor beam.





Moels + Co.

Möels + Co., their Young Design-Forward Owner, and the New 369 - Worn & Wound (2024)


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