A. Lange & Söhne introduces a chronograph model to the brand’s sports watch collection. The new Odysseus Chronograph model features the German manufacture’s first automatic chronograph movement.
Press Release details with commentary in italics.
New: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph
The A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph is a 100-piece limited edition, boutique-exclusive watch. Price is available upon request.
It wasn’t that long ago that A. Lange & Söhne took a giant leap by releasing not only the brand’s first ever sports watch, but also its first serially produced stainless steel watch. These were two firsts that were unthinkable to many prior. The move to introduce the Odysseus was bold but made sense from a commercial point of view. The Odysseus itself was initially met with skepticism from connoisseurs, but with time and some hands-on experience, even the staunchest of purists could see that this was the real deal and that a new era had begun for A. Lange & Söhne.
For the past four years, the brand has presented a handful of variations to the original Odysseus, but never a new model. Given the pandemic and the ensuing economic turmoil, this was unsurprising. The introduction of a new model this year has been a long time coming. The latest Odysseus to be added into the collection is a chronograph model – the logical next step to take with the chronograph complication being one of the most popular and thematic in sports watches.
It is a relief to see that the Odysseus Chronograph isn’t merely just the old Odysseus with a chronograph module slapped on. Evidently, a lot of thought has gone into the design of the watch. The rather iconic dial design of the original Odysseus is left unchanged. To achieve this, the chronograph hands and display are centralised. The pushers used for the start/stop/reset function of the chronograph convert to quick-set buttons for the day and date once the crown is pulled out. The movement itself is also entirely brand new and not merely a derivative of the seminal DATOGRAPH calibre. It also happens to be the brand’s first automatic chronograph movement.
So while this appears at first to be just the Odysseus getting a new complication, there’s actually a lot to be excited about. It is tradition that A. Lange & Söhne never take the easy way out and the Odysseus Chronograph is further evidence of that notion. There is plenty interesting about the new Odysseus Chronograph and as usual every bit of it is crafted to the highest level.
With the youngest member of the ODYSSEUS watch family, A. Lange & Söhne once again forayed into unknown territory, thus underscoring its expertise in the area of short-time measurement. To this day, designing and building a chronograph calibre is considered to be one of the greatest challenges in precision watchmaking. Only a few manufacturers possess the knowledge and ability to develop and craft a similarly complex movement. With a total of 13 manufacture movements, chronographs have been among the most coveted A. Lange & Söhne models since 1999.
“The ODYSSEUS CHRONOGRAPH transports the contemporary and one-of-a-kind design of the watch family to a new technical dimension. It meets all the requirements of a stopwatch suitable for many fields of application, without relinquishing the hallmarks of Lange precision watchmaking,” says Anthony de Haas, Director of Product Development.
To retain the characteristic dial design of the ODYSSEUS, the manufactory developed a customised movement that positions both chronograph hands in the centre, the minute counter with a lozenge-shaped tip as well as the red chrono seconds hand. As a consequence, the totalisers, which are conventionally arranged at 3 and 9 o’clock, could be dispensed with, and the style-defining positions of the outsize date and day of the week could be maintained.
Owing to the expansion of the measuring range from 30 to 60 minutes, the Lange developers succeeded in introducing new fields of application for the chronograph. Additionally, it is endowed with an innovative, dynamic reset-to-zero function. When the reset-to-zero button at 4 o’clock is actuated after a time measurement, a short but impressive spectacle ensues: while the minute counter jumps back to its starting position in the conventional way, the red chrono seconds hand covers the entire distance travelled beforehand within a fraction of a second ‒ one full revolution for each measured minute. If the minute counter has not reached the 30- minute mark yet, the two hands move anti-clockwise. If the minute counter has passed the 30- minute mark, both hands will advance to zero clockwise. At high speed, the chrono seconds hand performs a full revolution for every minute required to reach the full hour.
To assure safe and easy operation of the chronograph, the Lange product developers equipped the specially sealed, tapered buttons with a novel dual function. In the normal position of the screw-down crown, the buttons at 2 and 4 o’clock are used to operate the chronograph functions: start, stop and reset to zero. When the crown is pulled, the date and day of the week can be corrected with a newly developed mechanism.
The ODYSSEUS CHRONOGRAPH takes centre stage in a three-part stainless-steel case with a diameter of 42.5 millimetres that withstands a test pressure of 12 bar and is robust enough to accompany its wearer even during sports and leisure activities. As with the other members of the watch family, the surfaces are matted and the edges are accentuated with a chamfer: the combination of brushed surfaces and chamfered edges creates an impressive play of light and is echoed on the lugs and links of the solid stainless-steel bracelet.
The chronograph, which is limited to 100 watches, is equipped with a dial whose special architecture creates an illusion of depth ‒ a feature shared by the previous ODYSSEUS models. The inner surface of the black main dial boasts a textured surface, the notched baton appliques made of white gold and the subsidiary seconds scale are underlaid with concentric circles. A palladium-coloured flange ring with a printed two-part minute scale frames the dial. The scale for the fractions of a second is positioned on the outer circumference, while the scale for minutes and seconds is arranged further inside. Printed in red, the number 60 at 12 o’clock and the red chrono seconds hand accentuate the equally elegant and dynamic appearance of the ODYSSEUS CHRONOGRAPH. The typical Lange lancet-shaped hour and minute hands, which are slightly more prominent in the watches of the ODYSSEUS family, contrast well against the background. They are luminous as well as the inner surfaces of the baton appliques.
The large displays for the date and the day of week also contribute to the timepiece’s distinctive appearance. The modern, digital aesthetics are inspired by a masterpiece of historic Saxon watchmaking artistry that is closely connected with the A. Lange & Söhne history: the Five- Minute Clock in the Dresden Semper Opera. To mark the opening of the Opera House in 1841, the famous stage clock ‒uncommon for that period, it displayed the time digitally ‒ was created by Court Clockmaker Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes. He was both apprentice master and father-in-law to Ferdinand Adolph Lange, the founding father of Glashütte precision watchmaking.
The L156.1 DATOMATIC calibre ‒ the manufactory’s first self-winding chronograph movement ‒ powers the ODYSSEUS CHRONOGRAPH. The attribute DATOMATIC is derived from the words “date” and “automatic”. A skeletonised and partially black-rhodiumed central rotor with a centrifugal mass in 950 platinum assures efficient winding. When fully wound, the mainspring barrel delivers a maximum power reserve of 50 hours. The oscillation system is designed to ensure optimum rate accuracy. To this end, the balance, which beats at a frequency of 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour (4 hertz), was suspended beneath the balance bridge; it is hand- engraved with a stylised wave pattern alluding to the water resistance of the watch and the possible applications in sports settings.
A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph Specifications
|Movement||Lange manufacture calibre L156.1 DATOMATIC®, self-winding, crafted to the most exacting Lange quality standards, decorated and assembled by hand; precision-adjusted in five positions; unidirectional winding central rotor with 950 platinum centrifugal mass; balance bridge engraved by hand|
|Screwed gold chatons||4|
|Oscillation system||Shock-resistant cam-poised balance with four poising screws, superior-quality balance spring manufactured in-house, frequency 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour (4 hertz), precision beat adjustment system with cam and whiplash spring|
|Power reserve||50 hours when fully wound|
|Functions||Time indicated in hours, minutes, and subsidiary seconds with stop seconds; date and day-of-week displays, chronograph with central chrono seconds hand and 60-minute counter|
|Operating elements||Screw-down crown for winding the watch and setting the time; two buttons for correcting the date and day of week as well as operating the chronograph|
|Case dimensions||Diameter: 42.5 millimetres; height: 14.2 millimetres|
|Movement dimensions||Diameter: 34.9 millimetres; height: 8.4 millimetres|
|Water resistance||Up to 12 bar (120 metres)|
|Hands and appliques||Hours and minutes: white gold, luminous; subsidiary seconds: white gold; 60-minute counter: rhodiumed steel, luminous; red chrono seconds hand: aluminium; baton appliques: white gold,|
|Crystal and case back||Sapphire crystal (Mohs hardness 9)|
|Buckle||Safety deployant buckle with precision adjustment mechanism for adjusting the length|
|Limited edition||100 watches, edition engraving, boutique-exclusive|