A. Lange & Söhne’s New Odysseus Chronograph

Lange decided to expand the Odysseus line and introduce a number of new models this year for Watches & Wonders 2023. The Odysseus, first released at SIHH in 2019, was Lange’s first foray into the sports watch market. It was introduced to compete with the likes of Patek Philippe’s Nautilus and Aquanaut models, Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas, Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak, Breguet’s Marine, and a number of other higher-end sports watches. This year, they added to the line a new white gold model on a rubber strap, a titanium watch on a bracelet, a new steel model on a bracelet, and a steel chronograph on a bracelet. The chronograph is a new complication for the line and it’s what we’ll be taking a closer look at here.

The number of new Odysseus variants and the fact that Lange has released a chronograph model shows that they are serious about having this collection stick around and compete with the big boys. I remember at first I wasn’t sure how the Odysseus would do, as it seemed that the reaction, at least to me, was fairly lukewarm to the watch back in 2019. Now it seems interest in the Odysseus line has taken off and new offerings within the line only help to attract more buyers with diverse tastes. This Odysseus Chronograph is a neat watch that I feel not only looks beautiful, but has some really interesting quirks to it. For someone who likes watches that can do cool little hidden tricks (and I fall in this category with my enjoyment of the Rolex Yacht-Master II… I know most people dislike the watch, but I love the way that the regatta function’s mechanical memory is set by turning the bezel and locking in the bottom pusher), this watch scores high marks. Let’s go ahead and look at the new chronograph offering from A. Lange & Söhne.

To quickly go over the usual stats: The Odysseus Chronograph’s stainless steel case measures in at 42.5mm in diameter with a thickness of 14.2mm. Turning to the dial, the hours and minutes hands are crafted in white gold and are lumed, the seconds hand is also white gold, the 60-minute chronograph counter hand is made out of rhodiumed steel and is lumed, and finally the red chronograph seconds hand is made out of aluminium. The baton indices, like the hour and minute hands, are also lumed white gold. The dial itself is a black brass dial with some texture variations throughout. The word “chronograph” on the dial is written in a red to match the red of the chronograph seconds hand. In addition to the time and chronograph function, the dial also displays a day and date via two windows, one on each side of the dial. The bracelet accompanying the watch features a safety deployant buckle with a precision adjustment mechanism to help adjust the size.

Now onto some more interesting stats, the movement Lange is using here is their new L156.1 DATOMATIC, Lange’s first self-winding chronograph movement. The name “DATOMATIC” comes from the words “date” and automatic”. With a full wind, this watch can keep ticking at 4Hz for 50 hours. The movement features a partially black-rhodiumed central rotor with a centrifugal mass in 950 platinum. While this is a beautiful movement, Lange wants to make sure you know that beauty doesn’t always mean fragile, so in the most Lange way possible of telling you the watch is sporty, they hand engraved a couple little gentle wave designs on the balance. They hope this will remind you that you’re not wearing a dressy Lange, you’re wearing a sporty Lange and that the watch is water resistant up to 120m.

One of the unique intentional quirks about this watch is how resetting the chronograph works. When resetting the chronograph, the minute counter flies back to its starting position, but the red seconds hand travels the entirety of the distance travelled since the chronograph had started: one full dial rotation per minute the chronograph has run. Not only does the seconds hand reset in this way, but it does so in less than a second. If 30 minutes has not been reached since actuating the chronograph function, both hands will reset in a counter-clockwise manner, while 30 to 60 minutes of runtime will result in the hands resetting clockwise.

A second really neat quirk of the Odysseus Chronograph is how the chronograph pushers function. While the crown of the watch is screwed down, the pushers work the way you’d expect chronograph pushers to, but when the crown is unscrewed, the pushers completely change their functions. While unscrewed, instead of operating the chronograph, each pusher controls either the named day of the week or numbered day of the month on the left and right sides of the dial, respectively. This is what I was talking about when I mentioned the Yacht-Master II. While the way the chronograph resets is neat, I really like cool little hidden features like this. It’s almost like working a puzzle box where by moving one right piece (in this case the crown) you unlock new functions in other places (the chronograph pushers).

The only thing I don’t like about this watch is the fact it is limited to 100 pieces, although hopefully Lange will release a non-limited model soon. That being said, it’s going to be hard to beat this dial… a dial as great as this should have been the standard model and maybe have something a little more “out there” as the limited edition dial. It’s neutral, but the pop of red on this version’s dial keeps things interesting. This dial uses the same colour scheme as that of another of the manufacturer’s watches, the black dial version of the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds. It looks even better on this watch though, as the colours lend themselves to a sportier watch, and the pairing of this dial layout and its colours with the Odysseus case design is a home run for Lange at W&W 2023.

The A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph in steel is a boutique exclusive and the price is available from Lange upon request.

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