Watch & Jewellery
Text by Kee | Photos courtesy of A. Lange & Söhne
'Odysseus Chronograph' by A. Lange & Söhne
'Odysseus Chronograph' by A. Lange & Söhne
'Odysseus Chronograph' and the 'Odysseus' by A. Lange & Söhne
'Odysseus Chronograph' by A. Lange & Söhne
'Odysseus Chronograph' by A. Lange & Söhne
'Odysseus Chronograph' by A. Lange & Söhne

The thing about chronographs is that they kinda look like every other chronograph. The dial is packed with info no one needs for serious use, the pushers are always prodding at the flesh, and more often than not, the housing is chunkier than the norm because of the thicker movement. Hand it to the Germans to understand that even perfect is not perfect enough, or that even a curve needs to be curvier. A. Lange & Söhne, the standard bearer for top-quality German watchmaking, has spent considerable time ironing out the kinks that top chronograph makers the world over have claimed to have resolved. That is to create a perfect design that doesn't care which parallel universe you end up wearing it in, there would be a general consensus of its finesse. Well, the Odysseus Chronograph certainly fits that billing for now, only because we predict the Germans to be engineering one even better within the next decade. This model with an integrated bracelet stems from a design first launched in 2019, a breakthrough moment for the watchmaker as it is only the sixth official pillar in its nearly 180-year catalogue, if you're keep scoring. According to the watchmaker, this luxury sports watch has been in the works for over a decade, which shows that it doesn't do spur-of-the-moment designs just to make a quick buck off a trend. And until you pick one up in your hands, you probably can't guess from images if the Odysseus has been fashioned in stainless steel, white gold, or titanium – the three material choices that the watchmaker has selected to clad this emblematic piece. Lengthy essays have been written about how A. Lange & Söhne's team of artisans pamper each component and finish them by hand, with even the engraving on the balance bridge said to be as personal as a signature as the depth of a cut and curvature of a wave differing slightly from another. And if you've seen an Odysseus in the flesh, you will vouch for the exceptional finishing too, with a glossary list of techniques being applied just on the movement alone, ranging from perlage to circular graining to Glashütte ribbing. Even the case and bracelet sport a mixture of brushed surfaces and chamfered edges. Its superpower lies in the discreet quick-adjustment pushers at 2 and 4 o'clock that appear like sleek crown guards. In the original Odysseus models, one pusher is responsible for the day and the other for the date. What is remarkable about 2023's Odysseus Chronograph is how the watchmaker has integrated a column-wheel chronograph into this 42.5mm stainless steel package with complete discretion. The only clues of the feature are the pair of chronograph hands and a blink-and-miss labelling of chronograph on the dial. The same pusher designs have also been tapped for this with the one positioned at 2 o'clock responsible for starting-stopping-resuming the count whilst the pusher at 4 o'clock resets the hands to zero. How to set the day and date then? Simply pull the crown and use the pushers as per the original blueprint. Like any of A. Lange & Söhne's landmark creations, newness doesn't come easy. It had to manufacture an entirely new in-house movement to realise this chronograph feature, with the L156.1 Datomatic here also being its first self-winding chronograph movement. Only 100 owners will get to enjoy this one and without having to break a sweat on learning how to use it.

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