- From BTS’ Jimin for Dior, to Suga for Valentino and NewJeans’ Hyein for Louis Vuitton, fashion brands are known to work with K-pop stars – but what about luxury watch companies?
- Crash Landing on You’s Hyun Bin joins George Clooney, Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman at Omega, Kim Woo-bin reps Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget chose Gong Hyo-jin, and Lee Seung-gi works with Breitling
The Korean wave isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
As K-drama stars and K-pop idols continue to dominate in global showbiz, luxury brands are taking note and scrambling to secure endorsement deals with the biggest stars in the industry. It’s only a few months into 2023 and there’s already been a flurry of new endorsement deals, from BTS’ Jimin and Dior, to Suga and Valentino, NewJeans’ Hyein and Louis Vuitton, and Danielle for Burberry … the list goes on.
Luxury watch brands are also keen to get their foot in the door with big-name Korean celebs. From Omega and Cartier to Tag Heuer, here’s a look at the mega deals between Korean stars and luxury watch brands:
1. Hyun Bin – Omega
After starring in the K-drama Crash Landing on You, Hyun Bin was selected as the first Korean global ambassador for Omega in 2020, joining Hollywood’s George Clooney, Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig as a rep, according to Soompi.
Recently, Hyun Bin and Clooney both appeared in the same campaign promoting the Swiss brand’s iconic Speedmaster ‘57 model. The heartthrobs embodied the different vibes of each timepiece – one for its classic iconic look and the other for its modern, chic spirit.
The 40-year-old Korean superstar was the perfect choice for the brand thanks to his “exceptional skill that allows him to boldly and confidently portray the character he wants,” according to a statement from Omega’s CEO Raynald Aeschlimann, “Furthermore, as a flawless type of actor, we were confident that he could work with Omega’s perfect and excellent timepieces.”
2. Han So-hee – Omega
Last year, Omega announced Han So-hee as a new ambassador for the brand, declaring that she’s “one of South Korea’s most talented leading ladies” in an official Twitter post.
The 28-year-old breakout star got her claim to fame with Netflix series’ My Name and Nevertheless. According to Omega, “her essential character gives a great inspiration to Omega’s philosophy and her charismatic and captivating aura is in perfect harmony with the brand”.
3. Blackpink’s Lisa – Bulgari
Blackpink’s Lisa, 25, joined the brand as an ambassador for Bulgari in 2020. The K-pop rapper and dancer levelled up her role recently, designing a limited-edition watch for the brand.
Released in January, the Bulgari Bulgari x Lisa was launched as a collaboration between the K-pop star and the Italian house. Crafted in stainless steel and 18-karat rose gold, the 23mm case features a striking multicoloured changing sunray dial and 12 brilliant-cut diamond indexes. On the caseback, Lisa personally chose and designed her favourite flower, the edelweiss, and her “L” initial in the centre. Limited to just 300 pieces, its listed price is around US$6,800.
4. Blackpink’s Jisoo – Cartier
Lisa’s groupmate Jisoo, 28, also landed a sweet deal last year with one of the world’s biggest jewellers and watchmakers, Cartier.
The Dior ambassador was chosen to represent Cartier’s iconic Panthère jewellery collection.
“With her self-assured style, she is the voice of a new generation of creatives who dare to show their different talents. She is an artist who takes on her role with great creative freedom, never limiting herself,” Arnaud Carrez, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer at Cartier said in a statement.
5. Wi Ha-joon – Tag Heuer
Wi Ha-joon became a global star overnight thanks to his skilled portrayal of police officer Hwang Jun-ho in the Netflix hit Squid Game.
It didn’t take long for him to be scooped up as an ambassador for Tag Heuer just one year later, joining big-names Ryan Gosling and tennis star Naomi Osaka. He was chosen for “perfectly matching [the brand’s] commitment towards sheer elegance and avant-garde”, according to Tag Heuer.
In addition to his debut campaign to promote the new model Calibre E4, the 31-year-old also appears with the brand’s other latest designs, as seen on his Instagram.
6. Kim Woo-bin – Jaeger-LeCoultre
The Heirs star scored a new role as ambassador for Swiss brand Jaeger-LeCoultre in 2021. “I am very delighted to be a Friend of Jaeger-LeCoultre, with the long history of 188 years and great watchmaking expertise,” said the actor.
After celebrating The Sound Maker exhibition with the maison in summer 2021, the 33-year-old went on to appear in multiple campaigns, from the brand’s iconic Reverso collection to the new Polaris Perpetual Calendar model.
7. Gong Hyo-jin – Piaget
In 2019, Piaget introduced veteran actress Gong Hyo-jin as its newest ambassador. The brand said that the When the Camellia Blooms star perfectly embodies the spirit of today’s Piaget woman – “elegant, stylish, audacious, independent and confident”.
The 42-year-old has since become a regular at Piaget’s events and in commercial films. She also regularly shares posts of the Swiss brand’s latest watch models and jewellery pieces on her socials.