By Nancy Olson
Last month’s Watches & Wonders 2023 in Geneva provided an impressive venue for A. Lange & Söhne’s introduction of the Odysseus Chronograph, the latest in the ongoing narrative of the Odysseus timepiece family introduced four years ago. Sporty elegance paired with precision watchmaking is what Odysseus is all about, now in the form of the brand’s first (drum roll, please) self-winding chronograph. This stainless steel watch does right by the Odysseus family. This boutique-exclusive watch is a limited edition of just 100 pieces.
A. Lange & Sohne Odysseus Chronograph
This year’s Odysseus Chronograph retains the characteristics of its forebears—a narrow bezel, comparatively large dial and prominent day and date—but with some rejiggering to preserve its familiar look. For starters, it measures in a little larger than its predecessors, here at 42.5mm.
And to retain the unobtrusive dial design (eliminating conventional subsidiary dials), the L156.1 Datomatic caliber, positions both chronograph hands — the minutes and the seconds — at the center of the dial; the minute counter has a “lozenge-shaped” tip and the seconds hand is in red. Totalizers, conventionally placed at 3 and 9 o’clock, were thereby dispensed with, while the position of the Lange-centric outsize date and day indicators was maintained at 3 and 9 o’clock. Running seconds are at 6 o’clock.
Providing 50 hours of power reserve when fully wound, the 516-part 52-jewel movement is exquisitely decorated in true A. Lange & Söhne form—replete with a hand-engraved balance bridge and platinum rotor. Of course only part of the movement may be appreciated via the sapphire crystal caseback, but suffice it to say that even the components not seen are painstakingly hand finished in keeping with this German brand’s reputation for excellence. The L156.1 has a frequency of 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour (4 hertz) and features an in-house balance spring. The movement measures 34.9mm by 8.4mm and is precision-adjusted in five positions
The pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock are dual purpose. If the screw-down crown is in its “normal” position, they operate the chronograph functions: start, stop and reset to zero. When the crown is pulled, the pushers correct the day and date.
When the pusher at 4 o’clock is actuated for resetting after a time measurement, the minute counter jumps back to its starting position in the conventional way, but the red chronograph seconds hand covers the entire distance travelled beforehand within a fraction of a second. If the minute counter has not yet reached 30 minutes, the two hands move counterclockwise. If the minute counter passed the 30-minute mark, both hands will advance to zero clockwise. The chrono seconds hand makes a high-speed revolution for every minute required to reach the full hour, according to the brand.
With water resistance of up to 120 meters—yet another notable detail—the 42.5mm steel watchcase (height: 14.2mm) features matte surfaces and chamfered edges, which extend to the lugs and stainless-steel bracelet secured by a deployant clasp. The dial is textured black and the luminous applied indices are white gold, as are the hour and minute hands. While the brand says price on request, we estimate this piece will sell for about $147,000. Just 100 pieces will be made.