The beauty of A. Lange & Söhne is its unflinching confidence — its simple self-assuredness in the face of fads, phases and fast fashion. It is a calm, unshakeable pillar of civility in this confused, changing world. Which is why it is so exciting, and potentially disquieting, to see it release a line as bold as the new Odysseus. Thankfully, though, the new family does not so much rock the boat as enhance it. It feels fresh and new and dynamic, and yet still feels utterly at home in the Lange stable.
Perhaps that’s because the watch has been in the works for such a long time. CEO Wilhelm Schmid tells us how “the idea for a sporty-elegant watch by A. Lange & Söhne existed for a long time,” but that “the first considerations… were initiated about ten years ago. We discussed and rejected several ideas until we started working on the final version. Once we decided on the approach, it took us about four years to develop the movement and the product design.”
The product design is at its canniest, perhaps, in the bracelet — a key innovation for a brand better known for its leather straps. “We put a lot of emphasis on the finish as well as the ergonomics and wearing comfort. The bracelet is as smooth as silk and will certainly not ruin your shirt cuffs or catch hairs between the links as some other steel bracelets do. The precision mechanism allows to adjust the length by seven millimetres. This comes in handy in warm weather or during sports activities when the wrist swells slightly.”
As such, Schmid believes that the Odysseus is ideal for the gentleman with an active lifestyle, and yet those “who do not want to do without sophisticated technical details and consummate craftsmanship of a fine mechanical watch during the most precious time of their life. It is not intended to replace the classic gold or platinum Lange watch but to complement it.” It certainly does that.
“The luxury sports watch is Gérald Genta’s gift to the world of haute horlogerie,” Schmid continues. “But, more than 40 years after his pioneering designs, we knew that a sporty-elegant watch by A. Lange & Söhne had to be more than just another three-hand movement in an interestingly shaped case. Therefore we made ourselves forget everything we knew about luxury sports watches to create something unexpected and incomparable. Our approach to develop the watch from the inside to the outside is what makes the difference.
“Thanks to the new sturdy movement with its unique combination of outsize date, large weekday indication and small seconds, the watch has a character of its own,” he concludes. “And yet, it is a genuine Lange down to the most minute detail.”
Want to learn more about A. Lange & Söhne? Here’s the story of Germany’s finest watchmaker…