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The Odysseus by A. Lange & Söhne

Its arrival was a milestone moment in the history of the Saxon maison. It marked not merely the start of a new direction for the manufacture but also its debut foray into the sports watch segment. A ground-breaking leap also underscored by the name of the watch new family: Odysseus. 

It was a deliberate choice, of course.  Odysseus’s journey as described in Homer’s epic poem is a metaphor for knowledge and this new reference is a reminder of the legacy of skill and savoir-faire that A. Lange & Söhne has nurtured over the years. In the Odyssey, the sea is the backdrop for the many trials Odysseus has to go through. The sea is also a great presence in the maison’s DNA too as it came to prominence at the end of the 19th century because of the extreme precision and reliability of its marine chronometers. The latter remain much sought after by collectors and are even exhibited at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. In another sea reference, blue was also the colour chosen for the first watch in the Odysseus collection launched last October.  

Naturally enough though, this being A. Lange & Söhne, that is just the beginning of the story. The Odysseus is also the first series production watch that Glashutte maison has given a stainless steel case (40.5 mm).  The finish on the dial brilliantly too showcases the craftsmanship of its legendary master horologists too. Concentric lines frame both the white gold applique indices and the small seconds sub-dial, creating a very attractive visual.  

The big date window on the right hand side and the day-of-the-week window on the left hand side dominate the dial. Numerals and letters are white against a blue background.  The beating heart of the Odysseus collection, however, is the manufacture calibre L155.1 DATOMATIC designed and developed specifically for that reference. The self-winding movement actually contains 99 different components and has a 50-hour power reserve. A sapphire glass caseback shows off the intricate mechanism and beautiful craftsmanship of the individual components. Finally yet importantly, the Odysseus comes with a stainless steel bracelet and, like all great sports watches, it is impressively water-resistant – to a depth of 120 metres. 

At the end of April 2020, however, the German maison chose Watches & Wonders to unveil the second chapter in the new collection. This second Odysseus features a white gold case and a stunning slate grey dial with a variety of surface finishes that create a textural, 3D effect. The rest of the watch’s architecture is unchanged but aesthetically, the slate grey contrasts very elegantly with the white gold handsand big date and days-of-the-week indicators which are also white. 

Amid this harmony is a bright flash of red in the number 60 located at 12 o’clock, on the chapter ring. As with the first Odysseus, this version is powered by the L155.1 DATOMATIC manufacture calibre, which can be viewed in all its complexity and sophistication through the sapphire caseback.  The details are beautiful and include the likes of a hand-decorated German silver mainplate, a new wave motif on the bridges and a screwed gold chaton for the escapement. The wedge-shaped date and days-of-the-week pushers on either side of the crown lend the three-part white gold case its signature shape too. The finish on the case and lugs is an elegant interplay of matt surfaces and polished edges. There is a choice of a hand-stitched leather or rubber integrated wrist strap with the latter being exceptionally comfortable because of internal air channels.  

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