- Who, What, Watch
The brand's new sports-chic watch has sent the industry into an uproar — but what do the collectors think?
Watch enthusiasts will know that A. Lange & Söhne, a German watchmaker beloved by both watch collectors and industry insiders, has recently released a new watch called the Odysseus. And like the hero of Greek legend, the Odysseus watch might be facing some rough travails.
According to the brand, the Odysseus “is a sporty-elegant watch for people who admire fine watchmaking but live active lives.” The Odysseus is the first stainless steel watch that A. Lange & Söhne has created as part of its regular production, with previous steel watches from the brand being limited editions.
Appropriately, given its sporty positioning, the Odysseus is also the first Lange watch with a water-resistant case and a screw-down crown. The Odysseus houses the new L155.1 Datomatic calibre, which debuts Lange’s new escapement, which minimises air resistance for increased accuracy and energy efficiency.
The Odysseus’ sports chic positioning puts the it in the same family as the likes of the venerated Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, as well as the more recently-released Piaget Polo S, Girard-Perregaux Laureato, and Chopard Alpine Eagle.
The fact that A. Lange & Söhne, a brand closely associated with pure high watchmaking, has chosen to create a luxury sports watch has created quite the buzz among both industry insiders and collectors alike — it does, after all, mark a departure from the brand’s usual haute horlogerie fare.
Here, we have gathered commentary from three watch enthusiasts and collectors, to find out just what they think of the Odysseus.
Dr. Adrian Ng, Anaesthesiologist
There is so much to say about the Odysseus! I love the overall look, the symmetry, the ease of telling time, and the craftsmanship typical of Lange. I like the multi-layered, multi-textured dial, and given Lange’s usual quality standards, we all know that it’s going to be a winner.
The other outstanding aspect is the use of gold, stainless steel, platinum… the harmony of the metallurgy is pure tectonic perfection.
There are other less endearing aspects — mostly about the strap and lugs — but I feel that those are really subjective. Personally, I’m not so sure about the bracelet. It’s 50/50, and can be a deal-breaker. It does grow on me though!
Cheng Shing Chow, Managing Director at First Capital Asia Investment Ltd
One traditionally associates A. Lange & Söhne with small production numbers and almost exclusively precious, non-braceleted metal references, with outstanding movement craftsmanship and artistry, and outstanding finishing on both the case and the movement.
It’s also a serious brand, most noticeably thanks to their trademark dial designs.
Lange’s sports line has been highly anticipated for a while now. While Odysseus is clearly different: steel, bracelet — the sad takeaway for me is how much the same it is: the dial cutouts and digit-plate module were borrowed from the Zeitwerk, and are of the same size too, so the smaller diameter of the Odysseus makes for a more outsized bulging-dial look.
It is not easy creating a new line, but given that the Odysseus is priced at EUR 28,000, and Lange has previously created regular production pieces like the Datograph, Double Split, and the Lange One, it is not supposed to be easy.
Dr. Dominic Liew, Medical Officer
Firstly, I think a dedicated Lange sports watch is an extremely welcome addition to the brand, since they are mostly known for their dressier and more complicated offerings.
I love how much thought and effort went into the construction of every part of the watch. From the level of detail on the dial, the construction of the big date/day module, to the engraving on the balance cock, I truly applaud the effort spent on this watch. It has prevented the Odysseus from becoming a watch that just wants a share of the luxury sports watch pie.
However, as much as I like the watch, the design and aesthetic of the bracelet is a huge possible deal-breaker for me, at least until I see it in the flesh. At first glance, the bracelet just looks too wide as it joins the watch case. I feel it comes off trying to be elegant and rugged/sporty at the same time, but unfortunately fails in both departments. The buckle, while useful, as it extends and shortens the bracelet with the press of a button, looks ungainly and far from elegant. I will reserve my final judgement for when I see the watch in person, but from the pictures I’ve seen so far, the bracelet is a letdown for me.
All in all, it’s great to see Lange joining the luxury sports watch segment, it has been a long time coming. I applaud their usual attention to detail in crafting every aspect of the watch, and I do think, all things considered, if one likes the aesthetic, I would consider this watch rather value for money.
However in my humble opinion, the watch’s Achilles heel is its bracelet, and Lange probably needs to learn a thing or two about designing a bracelet from the older, more experienced players in this segment. Until a strap option is available, or they redesign the bracelet (one can dream), my money is probably staying in my pocket.