I will admit to being a hard person to please! Most things I query, moan, criticise and frown over. I just can’t help it. I suppose it is just in my nature to strive for perfection in a world that increasingly settles for second best. Unsurprisingly, my angst flows into my watch collecting and writing too. I guess my distress does not go too ballistic when it comes to my own collection, as, after all, I have actually chosen to buy each piece and have therefore embarked on at least a moderate process of selection criteria. A few errors, yes, but not too bad. Same over any writing, but not that alarming as one of the main tenets of my site was that only watches of interest would be covered. That said, to date, none have been perfect and achieved a maximum score.
When I first saw a picture of the Odysseus I was immediately taken. I have long loved Lange’s general case and dial design – with their trademark oversized date window. In fact, I have been keeping more than a weather eye open on various sites for a suitable model to buy, and I think that the only reason that I have not done so is that they have several models (e.g. Grande Lange 1 and Zeitwork) that I covet but could simply not decide over!
So, to the present. Having recently seen and liked the images and basic details of the Odysseus, I was determined to try and see one in the flesh pronto – even though the launch was only in October. This I managed to do recently when I was in London attending the QP Club event in the City. With a little time to spare I made my way to Bond Street and Lange’s newish boutique. When I entered I was surprised to see an old face, and this belonged to Chris Haynes. I had met Chris some years ago when he was at Watches & Jewellery (just up the road) when he helped me purchase my Patek 5136, but he now resides at the Lange boutique.
They say that fortune favours the brave. I don’t know about that, but what I do know is that Chris had on his desk an opened package. He explained that they had literally just received a sample of Odysseus! Needless to say that I spent the next hour pouring over the piece – taking photos and asking a myriad of questions. Love at first sight? Quite possibly! The name? Not quite so keen!
Frankly, I do not see the need to really go into huge detail really as the pictures speak for themselves. However, I suppose I had better provide some information!
The watch case (40.5mm x 11.1mm) and bracelet are in stainless steel. The dial colour is a deep blue, but in a certain light almost has a greyish hue. The central portion of the main dial and the the running seconds dial, have a grained texture, whilst outboard of each there are concentric circles called azurage. This makes for a pleasing contrast. There is an outer marked minute track marked with the 60 being picked out in red – a nice touch. Incorporated into the dial are square oversized day and date windows at 3 and 9 respectively – the former being a new Lange foray. The hands are lance (spear) in shape, and along with the markers are in 18ct white gold. Super LumiNova is applied to all these.
At the side of the case is the crown (screw type) and unusually this just alters the time. Above and below this – and very subtly recessed and integrated, are two pushers – one to alter the date (top), and the other the day (bottom). One slick click advances either one by a day/date at a time. Neat!
The case back is exhibition in nature and reveals the movement nicely – Datomatic calibre reference L155.1. This is a new automatic, which has 312 parts, 31 rubies and 1 gold chaton. It beats at 28,800 vph (4Hz) and has a power reserve of some 50 hours. The rotor is of a decent size and the outer edge is made of platinum just to get that swing going. Except for some fine hand engraving on the balance cock, there is modest and restrained decoration – Glashutte ribbing (similar to Cotes de Geneve) and perlage. The plates and bridges are in German silver. Water resistance is to 120m (12 bar). Lastly on this matter, the movement is double assembled – so it is put together once and tested, then taken apart, checked, and reassembled again. Interesting!
Lastly, I comment on the bracelet as it is worthy of special mention. In this case it is attractive with a nice combination mix of 5 links wide. The integration with the case is neat and works well. All that said, too often watch brands pay far too little attention in getting the method of wrist attachment right – be it via a leather strap or metal bracelet. More specifically I mean that the level of adjustment is just not precise enough. I have several watches with both types that have not worked out quite right, and that has led to utter frustration. I either had to modify an existing strap (or buy another type), or in the case of a bracelet given up and not worn the watch! In fact I somewhat have an aversion to bracelet watches and usually if they come with a strap option, invariably swap it out. This is a shame as some watches just look better on a bracelet. Anyway, one will have no such issues with Odysseus. Not only can the links be easily removed – not by traditional through pins, but by ingenious vertical built-in micro buttons – two for each link. To remove, one just uses the supplied tool to push and release. However, it is quite possible that link removal is not required as there is also a ratchet within the deployant type mechanism that will allow 7 mm of adjustment in 1 mm increments. This is neatly activated by a recessed button on the outer bracelet. For actual bracelet securing one just folds and clicks into place, and to release there are two buttons on either side which you squeeze in. There is no doubt in my mind that this has to be one of the best engineered and thought out bracelets I have ever seen. Period. It looks great too!
In conclusion (and you may not now be surprised to hear), I feel that this watch is, well, really a cracker. I know that visually this will always be somewhat subjective, but, the size (width and height) is fine, the dial colour/design great, the day/date windows and hands are attractive and so clear, a top quality movement with good power, and lastly, a smart looking and (for once) functional bracelet. As such, I feel this is a watch that should be very successful – particularly bearing in mind a non ludicrous price. Some different complication iterations may also ensue, so there should be a model to suit all tastes. As for me, this stainless steel model is just fine so I shall register my interest. I may have a wait though as not many are expected in the UK and priority will be given to existing customers – apparently. Or, maybe people who write nice things………..
Lastly, that name? Well, I would probably not have initially come up with Odysseus as a name for a new watch. That said, this Greek king was a bit of a character. After all, he led the Trojan wars and came up with the horse ploy to take Troy. But he then had a few problems getting home. In fact it took ten years of sailing about, encountering – but ultimately overcoming, any number of horrors and mishaps. So, a bit of a hero – a bit like this watch!
Images: The Writer