A. Lange & Söhne Introduces The New And Unique Odysseus Chronograph
Can A. Lange & Söhne successfully meld its standout Odysseus sports watch with its technical chronograph wizardry? Thinking about a chronograph version of the Odysseus made me hesitate for a second. I love the regular Odysseus so much that adding a chronograph function to it just didn’t seem right. But on second thought, it only makes sense that the brand would want to produce a chronograph variant of the Odysseus. But in good Lange fashion, the German maestros did not just add an existing chronograph movement to this sports watch and call it a day. Instead, the brand developed its very first automatic chronograph caliber for the new Odysseus Chronograph. The result is a chronograph watch that comes with several impressive features.
The A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus has been around since 2019, so a good four years now. But it took me some time to warm up to the Odysseus. The watch really clicked with me last year with the release of the titanium version at Watches and Wonders 2022. It was a strange feeling because I would usually pick a stainless steel version over one in titanium. But this time, it was different, as is my love for A. Lange & Söhne compared to other watch brands out there. The titanium version perfectly showed how the brand is able to work with any material and finish it to a level that is unmatched in the industry.
A watch for the Lange devotees
On top of that, the ice-blue dial looked absolutely stunning and more special than the blue and gray dials of the models that came before. It makes the titanium Odysseus one of my favorite watches the brand has produced. It’s also why I featured it in our series of articles on what watches we’d buy with an unlimited budget. While my grail 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange” would have been the easy pick, the Odysseus is the one that made my list of wants. What so greatly appreciate about the regular Odysseus is that it sticks to the brand’s design signature. It is not competing with the industry’s icons but carved out a spot for itself for the true Lange fans.
But would it work in a chronograph version? I have come to adore the regular Odysseus for its design. Would adding a chronograph to it make it too busy, too cluttered? This is A. Lange & Söhne that we’re talking about, so that would never happen. After all, if there’s one thing that the brand excels at, it’s chronographs. And the Odysseus Chronograph shows just how good A. Lange & Söhne is at its craft. To me, that encompasses knowing how to design a chronograph that respects the design of the Odysseus perfectly. The result is the surprisingly spectacular new Odysseus Chronograph.
The new Odysseus Chronograph explained
Just looking at both the regular Odysseus and the Odysseus Chronograph, you know that Lange did something really special. In most cases, when designing a chronograph version of a regular model, it’s an exercise in working chronograph registers into the dial while respecting the visual balance and recognizable style of the original. But that is not what Lange did for the Odysseus Chronograph. As you will see, A. Lange & Söhne had the intention of keeping the original design of the Odysseus intact.
As a result, the new chronograph movement needed special features to keep that goal alive. But that’s where the watchmaking brilliance of the people at Lange comes in. There is no technical challenge too big for them to solve when it comes to chronographs. Therefore, the new in-house-created L156.1 Datomatic is not merely the brand’s first automatic chronograph movement. Indeed, it also comes with several impressive party tricks that will surely have my fellow watch lovers smiling.
The basics of the Odysseus Chronograph
Let’s begin with some basic specs. The new Odysseus Chronograph comes with a 42.5mm stainless steel case that is 14.2mm thick. This makes the chronograph version 2mm wider and 3.1mm thicker than the regular version. The case has a water resistance rating of 120 meters, which is impressive in the Lange universe. The watch comes on a stainless steel bracelet in line with the bracelet we know from the other Odysseus models. And in good Lange fashion, the finishing on the case and bracelet is immaculate.
The case features deeply brushed surfaces with polished chamfers for dramatic effect, and the bezel has a mirror-polished finish, as we have seen on the previous Odysseus models. The bracelet surfaces have a brushed finish with polished chamfers. It gives the intricate bracelet design a great presence. And as seen on previous models too, the folding clasp features the “hidden” pusher in the shape of the A. Lange & Söhne logo. It’s an absolutely lovely bracelet that fits the case design of the new watch perfectly.
The dial of the Odysseus Chronograph
As I said, looking at the dials of both the regular and the chronograph models, you will see that they are quite similar in design. The black textured dial features the same overall layout as the regular Odysseus dial. The characteristic Lange day and date windows are placed at 3 and 9 o’clock, and the running seconds register is placed at 6 o’clock, like on the regular models. “So, how is this even a chronograph?” you might ask. Well, that is where the technical brilliance comes in.
The watch features a central chronograph seconds hand executed in red. So far, nothing new. But as you can see, an additional central hand with a lozenge-shaped tip keeps track of elapsed minutes. It replaces a chronograph minutes counter and keeps the design clean and non-chronograph-like. While a central chronograph minutes hand is not unique to this watch, it’s not something we see often. As a result of this solution, the chronograph can measure up to 60 minutes, while most other chronographs stop at 30 minutes. It shows you how carefully the Lange team considered the watch’s design and technical solutions that fit it.
A watch with some surprising technical tricks
The pusher at 4 o’clock resets the chronograph. Again, so far, nothing new. But the way it resets is quite interesting. At the push of a button, the chronograph minute hand will return to its starting position immediately. The red central chronograph seconds hand, however, covers the entire elapsed time at lightning speed. In other words, for every measured minute, the hand will travel back one revolution. If the minute counter has not reached 30 minutes yet, both hands will reset counterclockwise. On the other hand, if the minute counter has passed the 30-minute mark, the hands will reset in a clockwise motion. In this case, at high speed, the chronograph seconds hand will perform a full revolution for every minute required to reach the full hour.
The second technological solution that is quite wonderful and much-needed on top of that is the use of multifunctional pushers. With the crown in the normal position, the pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock operate the chronograph functions. But if you pull the crown out, you can also use the pushers to correct the day and date indicators. With these multifunctional pushers, A. Lange & Söhne was able to keep the design of the new chronograph as close as possible to the regular model, which is a great achievement.
The new L156.1 Datomatic movement
Responsible for all this horological sorcery is the new in-house-developed L156.1 Datomatic movement. You can see this caliber in all its glory through the sapphire window on the case back. You are greeted by the large skeletonized, partially black-rhodiumed central rotor, which features a platinum centrifugal mass with the word Datomatic proudly engraved. The automatic movement consists of 516 parts, operates at 28,800vph, and has a 50-hour power reserve.
As you would expect, the finishing of the movement is stunning. All the parts of hand-finished to a level that is almost unmatched in the industry. A nice example is the hand-finished balance bridge that features a pattern of waves hinting at the watch’s water resistance. The untreated German silver bridges and plates, the hand-engraved balance bridge, and the gold chatons are secured by meticulously blued screws. Overall, it’s a joy to see this new automatic chronograph movement that is the perfect addition to Lange’s already mighty-impressive range of calibers.
Impressions of the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph
It comes as no surprise that I love this new Odysseus Chronograph. The way that A. Lange & Söhne has managed to create a new design and movement that allow for the new chronograph to be perfectly in line with the previous Odysseus designs is simply impressive. It shows that the people at Lange are dedicated to creating the best watches that also fit the characteristic design signature that makes the brand great.
A. Lange & Söhne will produce 100 of these new Odysseus Chronograph models, so it is a very limited release that will probably sell out quickly. The price for this unique timepiece will be available upon request, and the watch will be available through A. Lange & Söhne boutiques. It’s an absolute joy to see this new Odysseus Chronograph, and my respect for the Lange brand keeps growing by the day. Furthermore, this Odysseus Chronograph shows the fantastic potential of the Odysseus range without altering the design. It makes this release so much more than the brand’s first automatic chronograph, and to me, it’s what high-end watchmaking is all about.
For more information, please visit the official A. Lange & Söhne website.