A. Lange & Söhne was by no means an organization to overwhelm guests to the SIHH (now Watches & Wonders) with numerous new fashions and variations of the previous references. The Saxon model all the time sends a transparent message about what the launch of the 12 months is with an enormous “duplicate” of the important new product welcoming you proper there on the entrance to the ALS sales space. The large duplicate shows the right time and date but additionally makes a press release: right here at Lange, we’re all about making watches, and never advertising and marketing stunts, with supercars and aeroplanes and fancy shows – an apparent trace to neighbouring exposants. This 12 months the Saxon watchmakers went minimal and determined to introduce only one new reference – a expensive limited-edition Odysseus Chronograph in chrome steel.
We point out chrome steel proper right here first, earlier than the same old fast recap of the gathering, for it’s essential. Till 2019, that’s till Odysseus grew to become the sixth member of A. Lange & Söhne’s household, the Germans refused to the touch unprecious metal and provided watches nearly solely in gold and platinum. There have been exceptions, like within the case of distinctive Tourbillon Pour le Mérite, 1815 service watches (not on the market) and a Lange 1 wearing metal, however the Odysseus assortment was a primary for watches produced in chrome steel, in sequence. Ought to somebody assume that is no large deal, I recommend looking for one to purchase at retail worth. Good luck except you’re on Lange’s clients-collectors’ ready checklist.
The primary serially produced chrome steel “sports activities” watch from A. Lange & Söhne was destined for the success it enjoys. The Odysseus debuted in 2019 (15 years after the preliminary concept and three makes an attempt at creating), a mannequin that includes a blue dial, two Semper-opera-clock-style apertures for the digital show of weekday and date, at 9 and three o’clock respectively, and with small seconds sub-dial on the backside. Worn on an authentic metal bracelet, 120m water resistant, powered by calibre L155.1, a particularly redesigned model of the Saxonia Computerized L086.1, the watch was priced at 28,500 euros – not less than, when it first got here out. In 2020, ALS launched the elegant Odysseus in white gold; in 2022, it acquired a (expensive) titanium case and bracelet, and everybody questioned what would come subsequent. Properly, right here it’s, gents (and women), the Odysseus Chronograph.
Any new chronograph (motion) is a giant deal, and designing and constructing one is a process that’s far tougher than most individuals think about. A. Lange & Söhne, simply 9 years previous in 1999, took the watch universe unexpectedly by presenting the Datograph Flyback timepiece with in-house chronograph calibre L951.1. If it weren’t for Jaeger-LeCoultre’s calibre 829, it might have been the trade’s first in a few years. Praised by collectors and watchmakers alike (Philippe Dufour was quoted many instances saying that the Datograph was among the best chronographs ever made), the watch is famous and laid the muse for different equally lovely and technically superior chronograph creations, like the Triple Break up, the 1815 Chronograph and the Datograph Perpetual, to call just a few.
With this in thoughts, didn’t we anticipate a chronograph within the Odysseus assortment? Sure, we did, however we couldn’t foresee a brand new motion; we thought it might be some model of the L951, reworked for the Odysseus case. Properly, it wouldn’t be Lange if the corporate didn’t select to go the onerous means, that’s, to create a brand new calibre L156.1, the primary automated chronograph motion developed by the Saxon manufacture. “It was by no means a aim to rework the gorgeous well-known Datograph right into a sporty monster with a rotor. The one factor we took from Datograph was the expertise, the expertise of construct a chronograph,” defined Anthony de Haas, Director of Product Improvement at A. Lange & Söhne, on this video right here.
Certainly, since Lange determined to maintain the Odysseus dial structure with two oversize digital shows and a small seconds sub-dial, there was no possibility for the standard placement of sub-counters. With its textured black dial, the Odysseus Chronograph measures time intervals with a central crimson seconds hand, and the minutes are counted by one other central “lozenge-tipped” hand. (So, right here we’ve a 60-minute chrono counter, versus the extra frequent 30-minute present in most conventional chronographs). Whereas central minute hand chronographs usually are not unparalleled, they don’t seem to be many, with Longines’ 13ZN “Doppia Lancetta” springing to thoughts, adopted by the Lemania 1340 after which the Lemania 5100, with newer makes an attempt by IWC, Panerai and TAG Heuer. However I digress.
A. Lange & Söhne’s engineers packed just a few tips into this new motion. The unique Odysseus options wondrously built-in pushers on either side of the crown; one on the high for date correction, and the underside is for the weekday. The chronograph model retains the pushers, however now the specifically sealed buttons have a twin operate. Unscrew/pull the crown, and the pushers are set to appropriate the date and weekday. When the screw-down crown is within the regular place, they management the chrono features. Now that’s fairly one thing, isn’t it…?
Earlier than attending to the bit concerning the Odysseus chrono reset spectacle that everyone appears to love, it’s honest to say that Lange made an effort to make sure the graceful operation of the chronograph, in step with what the fortunate Datograph house owners expertise every time they test the watch’s chrono functioning. As defined by Anthony de Haas, his group created a really easy working vertical clutch mechanism that minimises the “smashing” of the elements that happens in standard chrono actions.
Now, concerning the “dynamic reset-to-zero” operate. Activate the 4 o’clock Odysseus chrono pusher, and the minute counter will return to its beginning place, as anticipated. The crimson seconds hand will spin again the complete distance travelled actually quick, so in the event you time as much as half-hour, the chronograph seconds hand will rotate counter-clockwise, one full circle for every elapsed minute. Each fingers transfer clockwise if the minute counter has handed the 30-minute mark. The chrono seconds hand will spin an entire revolution for every minute wanted to succeed in the total hour. The resetting is completed with a heart-shaped cam mounted on the minutes’ wheel; this manner, the seconds hand “is aware of” elapsed time in minutes and performs its trick based mostly on this information.
The brand new ALS calibre L156.1 has the identical oscillating weight discovered within the authentic Odysseus, an openworked rotor made from Arcap with a platinum mass. The motion is on show due to the open caseback; notice the vertical clutch and a number of the chronograph levers are seen by way of the cut-outs on the bridge. Nevertheless, a lot of the mechanism is hidden from view by the bridge and rotor, however given the sporty nature of the timepiece, this shouldn’t be a disappointment. The L156.1 Datomatic motion is constructed with 516 parts, and it’s completed to the excessive Lange requirements, beats to 4Hz to make sure accuracy, and has a 50-hour energy reserve. It does require a bigger case, which is now 42.5mm in diameter, up from the unique’s 40.5mm, and 14.2mm thick, up from 11.1mm.
Nonetheless, the chrome steel case of the Odysseus Chronograph retains all of the options distinguishing the unique mannequin. Its three-part building has brushed surfaces and chamfered edges, and it’s water resistant to 120 meters. The watch appears large and wears large; the strong built-in bracelet actually amplifies the impact.
In regards to the bracelet. The design just isn’t probably the most authentic, but it’s recognizable and matches Odysseus completely. It is vitally easy, comfy and comfortable to the contact, and it’s a rapidly adjustable bracelet. By urgent the A. Lange & Söhne emblem button on the again, you may alter the size as much as 7mm with out taking the watch off the wrist. If bracelets usually are not your factor, possibly ready for a white gold Odysseus Chronograph version on a leather-based or rubber strap is an possibility – in any case, the 2020 Odysseus offered such a selection.
By now, you’ll certainly have appeared up the worth of the brand new A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph and there’s no mistake: it prices about EUR 135,000 (ALS doesn’t present costs anymore, however right here you’ve it). We’re not right here to be taught the pricing insurance policies, however as soon as in 2013, when the model revealed its Grand Complication watch with a price ticket of EUR 1.9 million, out of curiosity, I requested Wilhelm Schmid, Lange CEO, why this a lot, and never, say 2.5m. Pensive, he pronounced: “Sure, I feel we must always have requested for extra.” This episode is of little relevance right here, however right here’s the fact test. The unique chrome steel Odysseus was offered just a few instances at public sale shortly after its launch reaching nearly 3 times the retail worth, so there isn’t any lack of demand, and collectors have lined as much as seize the first-ever Lange automated chronograph restricted version in chrome steel the second it was introduced. That is what you do whenever you need one thing and have the means.
To conclude, allow us to say the brand new A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph is a well-made, sporty-elegant watch, a nice addition to the brand new assortment with particular historic significance hooked up. It’s also a watch that must be tried and worn earlier than leaping to conclusions (not less than in the event you can because it’s a 100-piece restricted manufacturing). Having had an opportunity to attempt one on, I admit it was onerous to half with, an emotion not so continuously felt this 12 months at Watches & Wonders. Properly executed, Lange. By no means stand nonetheless. Extra particulars at www.alange-soehne.com.
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