Introducing the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph

It took A. Lange & Söhne 25 years after its modern rebirth in 1994 to introduce its first ‘sports watch’, the Odysseus. This also happened to be the first time the manufacture added a steel watch to the catalogue, being exclusively “noble metals only” before. We didn’t mind the wait, because even in a by-then crowded sports watch field, the Odysseus offered something new: it was handsome like most of the rest, but few could match its clever, clever practicality. Outsized apertures lifted from its history to tell day and date, and a generous-sized small seconds came together on a dial that was modern, measured, and a delight to read, complemented by subtle pushers that boosted ease of use without disturbing the aesthetics. Now, the Odysseus adds a chronograph.

A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph
A very considered and considerate use of dial space in the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph

Studied Small Steps

The just-add-water approach of creating a chronograph would likely see additional counters on the dial, as well as extra pushers to work the chronograph. That is not the case here. Indeed, the dial is very little changed from the three-hand model, yet A. Lange & Söhne has worked a very practical chronograph into the mix, by adding two centrally-mounted hands for elapsed minutes and seconds, respectively, with the latter adding a pop of colour and distinction in flaming red. It’s a shame that centrally mounted chronograph hands aren’t as prevalent as they used to be, squinting at a 30-minute counter is not the most intuitive, and very hard work. On the Odysseus Chronograph, the entire dial is utilized for time-telling and chronograph readings, made yet easier with the hands extending to within a hair’s breadth of the scale on the flange, which separates the whole-minute markings from the fractional seconds. Very considerate.

As for the dial, the pushers are also twin use: when the crown is pushed in, they operate the chronograph; when the crown is pulled, the same pushers are used to set the day and date. But even here Lange has added a touch of eccentricity: instead of both chronograph hands straightly flipping to zero on reset, they do a little dance in the Odysseus Chronograph. When the reset at 4 o’clock is activated, the minute counter jumps back to zero, in the nearest direction (clockwise or anti-clockwise, depending on whether it had passed the 30-minute mark), while the seconds counter zips back to zero by retracing its distance covered — “one full revolution for each measured minute” — in a fraction of a second, in the same direction as the minute counter!

The Odysseus Chronograph is also the manufacture’s first self-winding chronograph. A sports watch is about lessening fuss, no? Powered by the L156.1 Datomatic, this also features the more robust balance bridge setup implemented in the three-hand model. The added functionality has resulted in a larger watch than the three-hand variant, but not by much. The case dimensions of the Odysseus Chronograph measures 42.5mm x 14.2mm, compared to 40.5mm x 11.1mm for the three-hand.

The Odysseus Chronograph is boutique-only, in a limited edition of 100 pieces.

Tech Specs

A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph

Movement: Self-winding L156.1 Datomatic, unidirectional winding central rotor with platinum mass, balance bridge, power reserve of 50 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, day, date; chronograph with central seconds and minutes
Case: 42.5mm x 14.2mm; stainless steel; display back; water resistant to 120m
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet with precision adjustment mechanism
Availability: Boutique exclusive, limited edition of 100 pieces

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