A Lange & Söhne Makes Its First Foray Into Sporty Timepieces
Among the many watch launches every year, few have been as eagerly anticipated as A Lange & Söhne’s Odysseus. There is good reason why it is getting so much attention. This new introduction represents a number of firsts for the brand—it is the German watchmaker’s very first sports watch, its first-ever series-produced stainless steel watch, as well as its first design to have a water-resistant case (up to 120m, at that). But more significantly, the Odysseus is the founding member of a new watch family to be introduced into the brand’s line-up in a decade.
Aesthetics-wise, sporty elegance is the name of the game here, according to the watchmaker. The dial of the Odysseus is distinctively A Lange & Söhne, despite the large day-of-week and date display. Framed within the 40.5mm-wide stainless steel case that is attached to an integrated five-link bracelet, everything seems to come together cleverly to fulfil the intended look as indicated in the design brief.
As the first member of the latest collection for the brand, the Odysseus is naturally fitted with a new self‑winding movement, the L155.1 Datomatic manufacture calibre. It features a newly designed balance that is regulated with four countersunk poising screws—this reduces operational turbulence from the movement’s frequency of 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour and is said to promote a higher rate accuracy as well as better energy efficiency.
The oscillation system is held down by a balance wheel bridge (instead of a balance cock which is usually employed in other A Lange & Söhne movements) that is manually engraved with a wave motif. This detail and other decorative finishings on the movement are visible through the sapphire crystal caseback. They include the skeletonised rotor that has the word “Datomatic” engraved on it as well as the screwed gold chaton that marks the point where the heart of the watch beats.
What catches the eye on the dial are the two outsized—A Lange & Söhne speak for oversized jumping number display—day-of-week and date displays that utilise the highly recognisable standard house font and a double-window aperture for the date. The mechanism powering it comprises a whopping 99 parts and was specially developed for the Odysseus. To correct the day and date display, one simply needs to push the two discreet buttons adjacent to the crown.
The dark blue dial has a three-dimensional appearance, composed of levels that are demarcated by circular ridges and made prominent by alternating grained and polished surface treatments. It is a classy dial, made sporty by the white minutes scale on the rim, as well as the luminous watch hands and hour markers.
(Related: A Lange & Söhne Shows New Datograph In New Light)
The stainless steel bracelet, of course, is key to anchoring the sportif style of the Odysseus. Robust yet refined-looking, it has a sturdy integrated build one expects of a bracelet for a sporty timepiece. But at the same time, it remains classically A Lange & Söhne with a sophisticated finishing similar to that of the case, dial and movement with its combination of brushed surfaces and chamfered edges.
Making a departure from the tried and tested is not an easy step for any watch brand—or company for that matter. The A Lange & Söhne Odysseus has taken a long time to take shape and, of course, there is still room to develop it further. Apart from the brand being new in the sports watch arena, the challenge is how best to harness its potential and groom it to become the next big thing.
Watch a four-part mini-series on the making of the A Lange & Söhne Odysseus on the brand's Youtube channel. Here is the first.