They Actually Did It:
The A. Lange & Sohne Odysseus Sport Watch

After much rumor, teasing, and speculation, German haute horlogerie juggernauts A. Lange & Sohne have finally unveiled their first steel sports watch.

OCTOBER 29, 2019

After much rumor, teasing, and speculation, German haute horlogerie juggernauts A. Lange & Sohne have finally unveiled their first steel sports watch.

Named the Odysseus, this piece marks the first ever series produced steel watch from the brand (not counting the odd one-off or the 20 piece run of steel Lange 1s), and they couldn’t have picked a better medium with which to execute this case material.

Source: Revolution

Specs
Case Diameter: 40.5mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Case Thickness: 11.5mm
Strap: Steel Bracelet
Water Resistance: 120 Meters
Movement: Lange Caliber L115.1 DATOMATIC

Like previously mentioned, this is Lange’s first serially produced steel watch period, and also their first sport watch of any kind. It features such a massive range of firsts for the brand, in fact, that it seems as though the only things it has in common with other Lange watches are the big date window and hands. Otherwise, it’s entirely new.

The case is 40.5mm in diameter, a perfectly contemporary, while still restrained case size for a modern sport watch, especially one with any degree of water resistance. Here, we have 120 meters of it, which coupled with the screw down crown and caseback make it more than sufficient for surface swimming.

Source: HODINKEE

Powering the watch is the new Lange caliber L115.1 DATOMATIC, an automatic, in-house movement that is built to the same standard as every other Lange movement. The typical Glashutte style three-quarter bridge is present, along with the signature engraved balance cock that is a staple on Lange movements. The DATOMATIC provides a big date complication at the 3 o’clock position and a big day window at 9 o’clock with a subdial at 6, an entirely new movement architecture and complication set from the brand.

Source: Revolution

Perhaps one of the most stark new features is the inclusion of a steel bracelet, designed to look fully integrated with the case. In actuality, the bracelet is removable via a traditional lug structure, meaning it can be replaced with any OEM or aftermarket strap option you can think of. The bracelet itself is a five link design, similar to the five link bracelets seen on some Breitling models. From dead on, it looks entirely brushed, but in actuality, each of the links is individually and complexly faceted with polished edges. The clasp is a push button deployant option, fully milled and engineered by Lange. The logo in the center, while looking pretty standard on the surface, is actually a button to activate a diver’s extension/micro-adjust system up to 7mm, ensuring that the perfect fit is within the reach of each wearer.

The Damage
The A. Lange & Sohne Odysseus will be available for $28,800 USD.

The Take
There is a LOT to unpack with this watch. All of the details mentioned above come together to form what should be the perfect competitor for the Royal Oak and Nautilus. It’s priced on the higher end of the range between the two pieces, but it makes up for it with more function and technical achievement than most Royal Oaks or Nautiluses (Nautili?) have seen in recent years without losing its sports watch cred. Sure, it lacks the decades of history and tie to Gerald Genta, but looking for those things, I think, misses the point entirely.

This isn’t a Genta watch, nor is it meant to be. It’s meant to be the answer to the question “What would Genta have designed if he worked for Lange?” and, to that end, I think it succeeds. I think its major shortcomings, however, stem from the fact that that question was even asked in the first place. The bracelet’s design, while beautiful at the right angles, never needed to look integrated into the case if they weren’t actually going to follow through and make it an integrated bracelet. The choice of blue dial is a very clear play on the desirability of blue dialed Nautilus and Royal Oak models, where something like a champagne or rich charcoal could have worked just as well and been more true to Lange’s design philosophy.

That all being said, these are mostly nitpicks, and the watch itself works for me on more levels than it doesn’t. Plus, if they play their cards right, then it will work so well as an alternative to the aforementioned members of the Trinity that it won’t matter how nitpicky people get, because the thing will no doubt sell like hot cakes and open the door to perhaps even more interesting Lange sport watches in the future. I’m personally holding out for one with a Lange 1 dial.

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