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Seoul (Watch) Seekers – The New York Times

WATCH Système Glashütte pocket watch, adapted for the wrist

OCCUPATION Founder and chief executive, Frame Montana, an eyeglass frame company

CreditTim Franco for The New York Times

“I used to collect vintage watches but lately I downsized my collection to just three or four pieces,” Mr. Choi said. “This is a Système Glashütte pocket watch that’s over 100 years old, most likely dating from somewhere between 1903 and 1905.” He said he had been looking for a classic, distinctive timepiece when he happened to find it (and that he hadn’t known Système Glashütte was the labeling used by some counterfeiters trying to capitalize on the fame of timepieces made in Glashütte, Germany). “I bought it online from Europe, and it was already customized as a wristwatch. I just added a strap I bought on eBay. I especially love the vintage crown,” he said. And the best thing about it? “It’s still working.”

WATCH Harry Winston Premier Ref. 200UCQ32W


CreditTim Franco for The New York Times

“I find nowadays people don’t wear watches as much, they just look at their mobile phone to check the time. This watch was a gift from my husband” in 2006, Ms. Song said. It features a midnight blue dial and black crocodile strap. “To be honest, it isn’t very much my taste, it has too many diamonds. I prefer simple, more minimalist designs, like Hermès,” she said. “I do wear it for special occasions. But I don’t like to go out much, I prefer to stay at home and work in my studio.”

WATCH Jaeger-LeCoultre Master collection (1960)

OCCUPATION Fashion buyer

CreditTim Franco for The New York Times

“I found this watch about three years ago in a small vintage shop in the Itaewon district of Seoul. My favorite watch brand is Jaeger-LeCoultre. I love its movements, and its designs are classy, not too fancy,” Mr. Kim said. “A shop owner knew I was seeking a J.L.C., and he was always on the lookout for the perfect one for me. And one day this Master model from 1960 arrived at his shop and he called me so I could come and see it.” The shop owner opened the case to display the movement. “I loved how it was so shiny and clean inside,” Mr. Kim said. “It excited my mind.”

WATCH Omega Speedmaster Ref. 3510.50

OCCUPATION Product designer

CreditTim Franco for The New York Times

“Some people dream about buying a car but my dream was to buy an Omega watch by the time I turned 30. Luckily, in the past few years, I had many opportunities to work side jobs in creative fields, and that extra money allowed me to purchase it at age 26,” Mr. Kim said. He changes the strap to coordinate with what he is wearing and, as a result, now owns about eight bands. “This watch gave me a sort of synergy effect. It represents all my hard work. When I look at it, I remind myself that this watch made me into who I am today.”

WATCH Omega Seamaster (1982)

OCCUPATION Communications associate

CreditTim Franco for The New York Times

“This watch belonged to my father. It was a wedding present he received as part of the traditional bridal-gift exchange back in 1982. He offered it to me when I got my job at the Galleria department store, to congratulate me,” Mr. Ahn said. “He hadn’t worn it for a while so it wasn’t working, but I had it repaired.” Mr. Ahn says he wears it every work day, as he tends to wear a suit and tie. “But on weekends, I dress in street style,” he said. “Still, I can wear it with everything.”

WATCH Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust Ref. 69178

OCCUPATION Flight attendant

CreditTim Franco for The New York Times

“This watch actually does not belong to me — yet. But my mother will offer it to me when the time is right. For now, she lets me wear it once in a while,” Ms. Kim said. “It’s a watch she received as a present in the 1980s when she gave birth to my older brother. I like how small and delicate it is. I don’t see this particular size of Rolex around much; I think it’s quite rare. It’s very simple, all gold, and it really stands out paired with just a simple outfit.”

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