March 26, 2023
by Matt Reudink
Four years after debuting its flagship sports watch, A. Lange & Söhne is back at Watches and Wonders 2023 with an all-new Odysseus. The Odysseus Chronograph may look like just another iteration of the Odysseus but looks can be oh-so-deceiving. The Odysseus Chronograph is powered by a novel new automatic chronograph movement that has more than a few tricks up its sleeve.
In 2019, the first Odysseus launched in a 40.5mm stainless-steel case with a midnight-blue dial, 12 bar of water resistance, and running the automatic manufacture calibre L155.1 DATOMATIC. The Odysseus was a clear departure for the typically stoic Glashütte brand but provided an elegant German counterpoint to the stainless-steel Swiss stalwarts from Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, and Patek Phillipe.
In the few short years since the Odysseus was released, A. Lange & Söhne have riffed on the design, releasing the Odysseus in an 18k white gold case with gray dial, mounted a rubber or leather strap rather than the broad and tapering bracelet. In 2022, returning to the sports-oriented roots of this piece, the Odysseus was released in titanium with an ice-blue dial and titanium bracelet.
For 2023, A. Lange & Söhne has a whole new Odysseus for Watches and Wonders. In its newest guise, the Odysseus is housed in a 42.5mm stainless steel case with the line’s trademark dial architecture, including large day and date functions, but this time featuring a 60-minute chronograph powered by the brand’s first automatic chronograph movement.
Since A. Lange & Söhne was resurrected in 1990, the brand has produced a staggering 71 in-house movements. The caliber powering the Odysseus Chronograph, the L155.1 DATOMATIC may be its most innovative to date — and that’s saying something. Part of the challenge in developing this new chronograph movement was retaining the dial architecture of the Odysseus, including both the day and date functions and 6 o’clock sub-seconds register. That meant dispensing with the typical 3 and 9 o’clock registers. Instead, A. Lange & Söhne opted for a central chronograph minutes hand with a lozenge-shaped tip, coupled with a blood-red chronograph seconds hand. A unique approach, to be certain, but it’s how the reset-to-zero function operates that truly sets this new chronograph apart.
The L155.1 DATOMATIC delivers a maximum of 50 hours of power reserve while beating at 28.kbph. The oscillation system was designed to maximize rate accuracy, including suspending the balance beneath the balance bridge. Of course, this wouldn’t be an A. Lange & Söhne without absolutely decadent finishing on the movement itself. Visible behind a sapphire caseback, you’ll find exquisite finishing and all the little touches that help differentiate the A. Lange & Söhne, like hand-engraved stylized waves along the balance bridge (an allusion to the water resistance of the watch). The rotor itself is skeletonized with a black-rhodium central rotor and centrifugal mass in 950 platinum.
When the 4 o’clock chronograph pusher is actuated, the minute counter jumps back to its starting position as usual, but the seconds hand spins back the entire distance traveled. If you timed 15 minutes, the chronograph seconds whips around counter-clockwise 15 times. However — and this is where things get really interesting — if the minute counter has passed the 30-minute mark, both hands move clockwise and the chrono seconds spinning through a full revolution for each minute required to reach the full hour. Impressive, to say the least.
The new Odysseus Chronograph retains all the hallmarks of its progenitors, from the impeccable case and bracelet finishing to the three-dimensional dial with contrasting textures. The applied markers are crafted from white gold and sit atop a series of concentric circles, which are mirrored on the sub-seconds register. The hands are once again the classic lancet-shaped Lange hands, but the red chrono-seconds hand and touches of red on the dial set this newest member of the Odysseus family apart from its siblings.
Prices on the Odysseus Chronograph have yet to be released, but given that this is a limited edition run of only 100 pieces, chances of getting your hands on one are slim to none, as it is. Visually, the Odysseus Chronograph is nothing new — in fact, it could easily be mistaken for a standard model at a quick glance. And that’s exactly what makes the Odysseus Chronograph and its new movement so impressive. To learn more about A. Lange & Söhne and the Odysseus Chronograph, please visit the brand’s website.