On October 24th at 4pm exactly, Lange & Soehne introduced The ODYSSEUS – It lays the foundation for a further watch family: the sixth one. For the first regularly produced timepiece in stainless steel,the Saxon watchmakers developed a tailor-made self-winding movement with a large day-of-week and date display.
The ODYSSEUS is a sporty-elegant watch for the active collectors who felt they were missing a more sporty piece for the daily use. Thus the stainless-steel case with a diameter of 40.5 millimetres and a height of 11.1 millimetres and featuring an integrated stainless-steel bracelet.
The Case & Dial
The case surfaces are decorated with a satin contour finish and the edges are emphasized with a chamfer. The combination of brushed surfaces and chamfered edges is echoed on the lugs and links of the massive stainless-steel bracelet. Specially sealed, tapered buttons for correcting the date and the day of week are arranged at 2 and 4 o’clock.
The ODYSSEUS is the first Lange watch with a water-resistant case and a screw-down crown, exposed to a test pressure of 12 bar.
The ODYSSEUS is endowed by a newly developed movement. Date and day-of-week display. What first meets the eye on the dark-blue dial is the day-of-week and date display.
Located on the right, the Lange outsize date in the classic double aperture is complemented with an equally large day-of-week display on the left.
The typical Lange font is used for both displays, though here, the numerals and letters are white against a blue background.
The dial is made of brass and has several levels with different surfaces. Just like the outer scale
of the subsidiary seconds dial, the notched baton appliques made of white gold lie above concentric lines, a technique called azurage.
They contrast against the grained inner surfaces of the main and subsidiary dial. A bevelled, argenté-coloured flange ring with a printed minute scale frames the dial.
The number 60, printed in red at 12 o’clock, provides a colourful accent.
In the ODYSSEUS, the brand-typical lancet-shaped hands for hours and minutes are more prominent than in other watches of the manufactory.
Just like the inner surfaces of the baton appliques, they are luminous.
Adjustable steel bracelet
The stainless-steel bracelet is eminently comfortable to wear. Its length can be adjusted in small steps up to 7 millimetres thanks to a safety deployant buckle. By pressing the pusher embossed with the Lange signature the bracelet can be pulled or pushed to adjust the desired length. It is not necessary to open the buckle. If required, the bracelet can also be extended by adding further links.
The New Movement
The newly developed mechanism consists of 99 individual parts.
For the ODYSSEUS, A. Lange & Söhne developed the new L155.1 DATOMATIC manufacture calibre.
The name DATOMATIC visible on the rotor stands for the date mechanism combined with automatic winding. With a diameter of 32.9 millimetres, the movement – visible through the sapphire-crystal caseback – completely fills the case. It features a unidirectionally winding central rotor with a centrifugal mass in platinum. Thanks to the skeletonisation of the rotor further details of the manually executed, lavish finissage of the movement can be observed.
When fully wound, the mainspring barrel delivers a maximum power reserve of 50 hours. To guarantee high rate accuracy regardless of external factors, the new self-winding calibre operates at a frequency of 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour (4 hertz). The newly designed balance is regulated with four countersunk poising screws that are flush with the outside of the balance-wheel rim. This design reduces turbulence despite the higher frequency. Together with the freely oscillating balance spring made in-house, the minimised air resistance has a positive impact on the movement’s rate accuracy and energy efficiency.
Bridge instead of balance cock
The oscillation system of the ODYSSEUS is held by a balance wheel bridge secured at two points. It is manually engraved with a wave motif. Other movement decorations also express the concept of combining traditional facets with new ones. All frame parts of the calibre L155.1 DATOMATIC are made of German silver.
Additionally, elements of the rotor were black-rhodiumed. In accordance with the A. Lange & Söhne philosophy, the entire movement is elaborately finished by hand and assembled twice. A further typical Lange hallmark, a screwed gold chaton secures the upper bearing jewel of the escape-wheel arbor. It also marks the position of the escapement and places a traditional accent, right
there where the heart of the watch beats.
When I first held the watch in my hands I was pleasantly surprised that the model still has the Lange DNA in terms of the design spirit of the dial, the outsize date and day, the granular and 3D feel on the dial and the refined case shape that still connects to the Lange previous families.
My first concern was the bracelet itself – there seemed to be too many elements in the design of the links, the width and the feel of the bracelet – although the idea of the buckle and the new adjustability up to 7mm is a great answer to many collectors problems and issues; there was something missing in the full look and feel.
It seemed like the bracelet was overbought somehow by the designers in order not to be linked or connected to any of the current icons in this special sport steel world!! I am talking about the Nautilus and RO of course.
The fact that a new movement has been developed with all the mastercraftsmanship Lange has to offer in terms of detailed finishing, the new balance bridge and escapement gives this sporty line a whole new weight on its own and independence. It is not built under the shadows of another watch family, or re-using a current movement that was just incased in a new body. Total respect for the brand for that effort.
Many collectors will definitely be skeptical about why did Lange enter this world of Steel when they were always against it and promised to never introduced such line to their collection. In my opinion. if a brand wants to succeed today, they need to listen to the market needs and to their current clients requests. Both point at having a steel model at first and a sporty line second – in a way Lange didn’t break their promise, as they didn’t just use steel on a Lange 1 or a Datograph…however, they re-created a full line that could meet both requirements without interfering with the current offering.
You may agree or disagree with me, however I see this is as a smart move from the brand and one that could open up many doors to a current target clientele that was in love with the brand but couldn’t get into acquiring one – for instance due to limitations of wearing gold.
Time will only tell, whether this was the right move or collectors are actually not satisfied with the current development.