Hallyu Spotlight: Byeon Woo-seok and his time-travelling watches

This may come as a shock, pun intended, but the G-Shock Byeon Woo-seok has isn’t his only time-travelling watch.

Ben Kwok

| June 13, 2024
Byeon Woo-seok
Byeon Woo-seok at his recent Summer Letter fan meeting. Photo: @byeonwooseok/Instagram

Anyone who has watched the latest hit TV drama out of Korea, Lovely Runner (2024), would understand the important role that time plays in the show’s premise — after all, protagonist Im Sol (played by Kim Hye-yoon), goes back in time to save her idol Ryu Sun-jae (played by Byeon Woo Seok), aided by Sunj-ae’s magical Casio G-Shock ref.

GW-B5600HR-1JF. Interestingly enough, it seems that Byeon Woo-seok’s taste in timepieces do not differ much from that of his on-screen character’s — the Lovely Runner leading man was recently spotted with different Cartier Santos models on separate occasions — a watch of similar shape, and that is also a “time-travelling”, modern take on a classic icon.

Byeon Woo-seok
The Casio G-SHOCK GW-B5600HR-1JF Radio Solar Watch as seen in K-drama Lovely Runner. Photo: Men’s Folio

While the GW-B5600HR itself functions as more of a time-skip enabling plot device than a time-telling tool in the drama, it is a fitting symbol of the act of time travelling that Sol performs, given its blend of classic G-Shock design codes with modern functions and capabilities.

Read more: Hallyu Spotlight: 5 Byeon Woo-seok drama appearances you might have missed

Appearance-wise, the GW-B5600HR shares the same, iconic ‘Square’ resin case shape as the DW-5000C — the very first G-Shock — as well as the unbreakable, shockproof quality that has now become a hallmark of the G-Shock label.

It also comes in a matte-black finish, with scarlet-red accents — a nice nod to the colours of the pioneering DW-5000C-1A. That being said, the GW-B5600HR comes jam-packed with modern functions: a solar-rechargeable battery, and — most notably — Bluetooth connectivity, enabling the wearer to connect a smartphone to the watch via an app.

Once paired, the watch automatically adjusts the time based on the reception of calibration signals around the world — if that isn’t enough, the app allows the wearer to configure the world time setting for approximately 300 cities, with five designated home time zones.

In essence, the G-Shock GW-B5600 HR is the contemporary symbol of the classic watch with a modern twist — a timepiece that looks at home both in 2008-2009 — the years Sol travels back to — and in the modern day.

Photo: Men’s Folio

Off-screen, it’s been proven that Byeon Woo-seok has an impeccable eye for detail when it comes to watches.

His previous choice of the timepiece was the Chanel J12 Chromatic in grey, shown above: a 2013 variant of the house’s cornerstone J12 collection that infuses ceramic with titanium in a chrome, mirrored finish — something that was considered at the forefront of avant-garde case materials at the time.

Photo: Men’s Folio

More recently, however, he has switched it up — Byeon was spotted with two watches from Cartier’s Santos collection adorning his wrist, on different occasions: the Santos Dumont, and the Santos de Cartier.

Similar to the G-Shock, Cartier’s Santos collection is the modern interpretation of Cartier’s first men’s wristwatch, but its design language has remained largely unchanged since its introduction in 1911 — one imagines that it would not look too far out of place both then and now. Both watches spotted on the Lovely Runner star’s wrist retain the iconic square case shape, and exposed rivets on the bezel and metal bracelet (on the Santos de Cartier).

That being said, the collection has become one of the central pillars of Cartier’s modern offerings, and a showcase of its versatility: the Santos Dumont (shown below) is the dressier option, while the Santos de Cartier (shown above) is the French maison’s contribution to the integrated-bracelet sports watch phenomenon. Movement-wise, both watches feature the best of what modern Cartier has — the Santos Dumont features an ultra-thin mechanical, manual winding movement, whilst its sportier sibling bears the sturdier, in-house 1847 MC automatic winding movement at its heart.

Considering that it was first made for Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont, it is unsurprising that the Santos is Byeon’s current choice of timepiece as his stock soars higher into the stratosphere.

Photo: Men’s Folio

Admittedly, both timepieces occupy different realms within the wide universe of horology. Nevertheless, their similarities — angular case shape, and heritage-inspired design language with modern components — mark these watches as two of the few that possess that elusive element of timelessness: fitting choices for the leading man of a drama that centres around going back in time.

This article originally appeared on Men’s Folio.


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