The A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus is, and will continue to be, a divisively designed watch. I have been head-over-heels in love with Lange’s sport masterpiece (which I would designate in the woefully underused “leisure watch” category) since its steel debut back in 2019, which was followed up with a white gold model and then last year’s titanium version. Now at Watches & Wonders 2023, Lange returns to steel with the introduction of the new Odysseus Chronograph.
Even if the Odysseus isn’t to your taste, this new release prompts me to write some of the most beautiful words composed in the English language: the debut of a new Lange movement. While first three Odysseus models all utilized the L155.1 Datomatic caliber, this chronograph edition debuts the L156.1 caliber which also happens to be Lange’s first automatic chronograph. As you can likely guess, the L156.1 builds on the L155.1 so rid yourself of any connections or associations you may be making with the L.951.5 caliber found in the 1815 manual wind chronograph, L.951.6 seen in the Datograph Up/Down, L001.1 seen in the Double Split, L.132.1 found in the Triple Split, or L101.2 seen in the 1815 Rattrapante. Allow me a moment while I catch my breath… Lange sure has made a lot of chronograph movements, haven’t they? And that’s not even all of them.
Well, the L156.1 caliber is something new altogether. Notice how there are no sub-dials with chronograph registers? Rather than the typical method of showing elapsed time through sub-dial registers, the Odysseus Chronograph has a central “lozenge” shaped hand that ticks along with each of the elapsed 60-minutes (makes even a 30-minute chronograph seem a little anemic in comparison, no?). As for the basics, it operates at 4 Hz and has a 50-hour power reserve. As for finishing, you’ve got the classic warm German silver plates and bridges coupled with a hand-engraved balance bridge, gold chatons with blued screws, and a black-rhodiumed central rotor with platinum centrifugal mass.
As for the case, it is 41mm wide and 14.2mm thick (with 120 m of water resistance) with matching stainless steel bracelet. The aesthetics are “classic Odysseus” at this point which is impressive considering the addition of chronograph functionality. The pushers blend into the Odysseus design language seamlessly but, of course, these aren’t typical chronograph pushers. The 2 o’clock pusher activates and stops the chronograph, which is simple enough. However, the 4 o’clock pusher activates the reset-to-zero function which moves the minute counter back to 12 o’clock but the red chronograph hand does rapid revolutions for each minute elapsed. If less than 30-minutes, the chronograph hand moves anti-clockwise and if it has surpassed 30-minutes, it will move clockwise. To the eye, this just looks like the minute counter hand reverting back to 12 o’clock a bit slower than the red chronograph hand. Seeing something so elaborately tedious occur at such a rapid clip just makes me fall in love with incredible watchmaking all over again.
There is also a dual-function system that is activated when the crown is pulled out. Now, the pushers can be used to adjust the date and day of the week rather than operate the chronograph.
The dial is done in black brass with graining on the central disc and circular guilloché pattern circling around the outer ring. This same combination is miniaturized and repeated for the seconds sub-dial which is an excellent and thoughtful touch. The hour, minutes, and seconds hands as well as appliqués are all done in white gold while the 60-minute counter is done in rhodium steel and red chronograph seconds hand is done in aluminum. I find the Odysseus dial layout to be just beautiful with the large day and date apertures creating a wonderfully eccentric design. Along with the asymmetric and stylized case, the whole package is so confidently divisive.
The A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph is priced at $145,000 and limited to just 100 pieces as a boutique exclusive.
To learn more, visit A. Lange & Söhne here.