back to top

Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Steel ‘Leisure Watch’

Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Steel 'Leisure Watch' Hands-On

The release of the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus was one of those moments in watch media and enthusiast circles that left me excited about the product and utterly exhausted by the din of reactions and hot takes. A month out from its release and I am finally able to put word to thought about what’s not just the first regular production steel Lange but one with an integrated bracelet and that idiosyncratically appealing case. While there were enough emojis and “what do you think?” Instagram story polls for a lifetime, the reality is that the Odysseus is a watch that a fraction of the people who want and can afford one will be able to have. You’ll also notice the peculiar term “leisure watch” in the headline of the article rather than the common parlance of “sports watch,” and that’s because it really isn’t a sports watch. We all know what a sports watch is, and the Odyssey isn’t one  — and neither is it presenting itself as one. With 120M of water resistance it can handle water, but while you’ll wear the Odysseus on the boat, you probably won’t wear it while fishing.

Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Steel 'Leisure Watch' Hands-On

Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Steel 'Leisure Watch' Hands-On

So, with all the chatter aside, how is the A. Lange & Söhne in the metal? In short, it’s a watch that is far more cohesive on the wrist than the sum of its individual parts would initially lead you to believe. It’s also finished to a level that many watches from the *shudder* “big three” (and beyond) are not at the Hertz-ian $28,800 price.

Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Steel 'Leisure Watch' Hands-On Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Steel 'Leisure Watch' Hands-On

Something I realized while handling the Odysseus is that I truly appreciate when symmetry is respected but doled out inconsistently. I basically turn into the Tex Avery cartoon howling wolf when I see a really excellently done big date window on a watch, so you can only imagine my reaction to the Odysseus dial which, like the Zeitwerk, has day of the week display and big date display at 9 and 3 o’clock, respectively. Not only are they highly legible and just about ideally sized, they also add some symmetry to the dial, though their presence inherently takes that away from the 40.5mm-wide/11.1mm-thick case.

Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Steel 'Leisure Watch' Hands-On

Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Steel 'Leisure Watch' Hands-On

Of course, this is due to the pushers for each of those two displays that are on the side of the case. Like a beautiful house built into a hillside, the pushers aren’t “natural” to the case, but after one look they certainly enhance it and, after a few more, you can’t imagine them not being there. The integrated pushers are magnificently architectural when viewed from the side, with lines and curves that create such personality that is unique to the Odysseus. There is beveling and chamfering with brushed or polished surfaces that all work together to demonstrate that steel, as a material, can be as refined as any precious metal.

Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Steel 'Leisure Watch' Hands-On

As with any dial, the critique really hinges on legibility, and Lange didn’t disappoint. The large, lumed, lancet-shaped hands are done in white gold along with the indices, all of which contrast against the blue dial with ease. Also simple yet clearly done with significant thought and attention is the dial, which varies between grained and concentric circles aka azurage. I’m a fan of the subsidiary seconds dial at 6 o’clock, though I know some people have griped that a sports watch should stick with a central seconds hand. To that I say, once again: leisure watch.

Advertisement

Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Steel 'Leisure Watch' Hands-On

For all the attention the bracelet has gotten simply due to it being an integrated steel bracelet by Lange, the execution is very, well, German. The uniquely arranged and eclectically sized five-link design has brushed surfaces with polished bevels that result in a masculine, refined bracelet. Again, we are talking about a process that must have taken quite some time when you consider the detailed beveling, as well as the fact that there are three different styles of link and the outer links taper.

Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Steel 'Leisure Watch' Hands-On

There’s something else about the bracelet that I appreciated as much as the design and crafting, and that is the fact that it didn’t tug on my arm hair. Seriously, it is why I avoid jubilee bracelets — but the Odysseus bracelet didn’t cause the agony that many of you readers are all too familiar with it. What is very cool and novel about the Odysseus is that the A. Lange & Söhne logo on the clasp can be pushed, allowing the wearer to adjust the length by up to 7mm without opening the buckle.

Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Steel 'Leisure Watch' Hands-On Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Steel 'Leisure Watch' Hands-On

The brand new 50-hour power reserve L155.1 Datomatic caliber was covered quite exhaustively by our David Bredan when the Odysseus was released, so I will not get into too much detail about that here. The first Lange to operate at a smooth 4 Hertz (28,800 vph), the L.155.1 Datomatic also has a new and larger balance wheel that foregoes the standard balance cock for a bridge that’s secured at two ends rather than just one. The rotor is done in rhodium with a sleek thin platinum strip on the outer edge. Decorated and finished with perlage, Côtes de Genève, and that hand-engraved balance bridge, this movement is a wonder to look at, which is not at all surprising considering this is a Lange, through and through. Another point of note with the movement is how, at 32.9mm wide, the movement fits quite nicely in the 40.5mm wide case.

Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Steel 'Leisure Watch' Hands-On Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Steel 'Leisure Watch' Hands-On

Finally, we get to the price. This is largely a moot point for two big reasons. The first point is that the watch is pretty difficult to get as it stands now, and waitlists are long even for collectors. The second point, of course, is that it’s nearly impossible to gauge the price against competition because we live in a world where a Nautilus, Aquanaut, or “Jumbo” Royal Oak are trading for multiples of retail price. That said, the Odysseus is priced at $28,800, which is a couple thousand dollars more than a Royal Oak Chronograph and just about the same as a Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph (and substantially less than an Overseas World Time). All things considered, I think the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus is one of the most compelling offerings from 2019 and the beginning of a collection that I’ll be watching and lusting after closely. You can learn more at alange-soehne.com.

Read more about

Watch Brands

Explore

Comments

Disqus Debug thread_id: 7746121532

  • Rob Crenshaw

    There was so much hostile negativity towards the bracelet upon first release, and it didn’t quite seem right. A couple of months later and it looks great: nicely polished, well integrated. Perhaps the photography is a lot better on abtw than IG!

    • IanE

      Personally, I, still, really dislike the bracelet, the pushers, the day-of-the-week indication and the surface treatments on the dial side. Oh well, one less watch to pine over!

      • Rob Crenshaw

        And I hate the Aquanaut.

    • Rupert Muller

      It’s a nice bracelet, I agree. But I disagree with the term “well integrated”. There is a significant height difference between the strap and the two lugs. That’s everything else than well integrated and I personally couldn’t live with this gap.

      • What fresh hell is this?

        Fair enough but you’ll notice that the tips of the lugs meet the level of the end link – it’s not accidental.

      • Rob Crenshaw

        In pictures the gap doesn’t bother me, it strikes me as just enough to suggest a lugged case and not truly integrated. I add a lot of metal bracelets to strapped watches, some more successfully than others, so perhaps I have a high tolerance for gaps!

  • Ugo

    again, i like it.
    the one thing that i’m noticing, now, is that separator in the date window which is obviously absent in the day window.
    maybe, since it’s conveniently placed, they could’ve used the separation between the azured outer sector to the central sector of the dial to disguise the separation between the two disks of date indication.
    also, i still don’t find the bracelet so outraging as many others did, and after allthat solution seems to permit the possibility to swap to a simple leather strap for a more “formal” usage.
    nonetheless, i have the idea that a slightly thinner chain, more 70s-ish, could’ve been a better choice…

    EDIT: AT LAST!!! a gallery function!! thanks you guys, many many thanks 🙂 🙂

  • Swiss_Cheese

    It’s quite a nice watch, it’s certainly a lot ‘dressier’ than the Nautilus/RO/OS options, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It would be nice to see a few more strap options – leather/crocodile/fine link bracelet, hell, even a rubber strap just for the giggles.

    That said, long term I can’t see it making the same impact as the RO/Nautilus options, namely because it would be difficult to name drop “A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus” in a rap song, let alone find a suitably braggadocious rhyme to go along with it.

  • REZ L

    I love the dial but everything else is a huge mistake. Day/date are ugly and too big, hands lack any flare, case is simply ugly, the bracelet looks like an aftermarket miltat/strapcode option. I doesn’t even fit right. 120m is worse than Aqua Terra and the price is a joke. I’m glad that they are selling well though as the next sports watch they design might be better. Huge mistake.

  • Independent_George

    The best thing about this watch is that it is, to me at least, unmistakably a Lange. I can’t say that the Nautilus/Aquanaut is unmistakably a Patek. Line up one of every PP reference since 1976 and the Nautilus/Aquanaut stick out like sore thumbs. Might as well be a from a different watch brand. The Overseas does seem to fit within the VC family a bit more snugly, but that’s because VC has gone to great lengths to incorporate the Maltese cross into the design. Otherwise, if someone who didn’t know anything about watches and brands singled out the Overseas as the watch that is not like the others in the VC line up, I couldn’t blame them. The Royal Oak doesn’t count because for all intensive purposes, and despite some very nice watches in the Millenary collection and the Jules Audemars extra-thins, in the wider world of watch collecting the Royal Oak is AP.

    The worst thing about this watch is that it is unmistakably a Lange. Watches in this segment should be brash. They should communicate a boldness, cockiness and self-absorption. It is part of the reason why athletes and rappers love the RO and the Nautilus and Mille and Hublot. The Odysseus, on the other hand, communicates restraint. It is disciplined and formal and fits in well within the Lange family. Although haven’t yet seen one live, the pleasure of this watch is in the level of subtle finishing and refinements that, at least from the pictures, look to be even a step above the RO and Nautilus. But if I am in the market for a watch in this segment, I want a watch that communicates “Bad and Boujee”, not “Sensible and Subtle”.

    This is a terrific watch. But all Langes are terrific watches, and if I ever were to acquire the means to become a serious Lange collector, the Odysseus would the the last watch on my list.

  • IG

    That bracelet is from an 80s nightmare…

  • DanW94

    More like a heavy metal Cream song to me;

    You thought that Steely bracelet
    Would bring Lange down forever
    But they rode the backs of fanboys
    To the nonsense of the blogs…

    And the colors of the dial
    Blind your eyes like trembling mermaids
    Regale that Tuetonic Aphrodite
    With tales of great Odysseus…

    • Berndt Norten

      You win again, Hank.

  • Berndt Norten

    If I had money
    Tell ya what I’d do
    I’d fix me a match against old Juventud
    And little Rey Mysterio
    Yeah little Rey Mysterio
    I’m gonna buy me a Lange und Sohne
    And cruise it up and down the troll road

  • ray h.

    Strange to see folks here beating on Lange,this watch is wrong on more then a few levels,not the least of which it looks cheap with that bracelet .

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Always lovely to see. One of my favourite brands . Problem is, I would expect a ‘Leisure Watch’ to have a leather strap.

  • George Yang

    The watch looks okay, the movement exquisite, but that bracelet completely ruins the watch.

  • Yanko

    An insult to taste. Eclectic in execution. Anonymous in essence. A mess.

  • Esteban

    Fantastic! This Leisure Watch will complement perfectly my General Purpose Watch from the other day!
    (Those caseback deep engravings!)

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, png.