The Royal Oak and Nautilus Now Have Some Serious Competition from This German Watchmaker


October 27, 2019 Watches By

The handful of collections that represent high-end watchmaking superstar A. Lange & Söhne’s output, which typically feature precious metals and are stylistically formal, are familiar to many watch enthusiasts. In a significant departure for the prominent German brand, all this changes today with the sixth current watch collection, called the Odysseus, introduced 25 years (to the day) since Lange’s modern incarnation was launched in 1994.

Not only is this the brand’s first sport watch, but it’s in stainless steel and includes a new movement. The A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus measures 40.5mm wide and 11.1mm thick with a water resistance of 120m (the case’s water-resistance and screw-down crown are more firsts for the brand). There have been steel watches by Lange before, but only in extremely limited quantities and, naturally (or, perhaps, unnaturally), their novelty for collectors made them roughly as expensive as the standard gold fare.

Brand DNA is particularly noticeable in some of the Odysseus’s dial elements, such as the lancet hands and the “outsized” date at 3 o’clock. Mirroring the date is a large day-of-the-week display at 9 o’clock — making the Odysseus functionally a kind of Day-Date, if you will. The dial is meant to offer visual depth, and as is appropriate for a sport watch, the hands and indices are lumed. This is also the first Lange watch to feature an integrated bracelet.

The new movement, visible through the caseback, is finished and decorated to a high level in the way one would expect from any Lange watch. It’s called the L155.1 Datomatic, and its method of displaying the date with a separate date wheel for each digit differs a bit from that of other Lange watches. In this case, a larger wheel that circles the movement’s periphery under the dial provides the second date digit. The movement features automatic winding, 50 hours of power reserve and a higher frequency than typical for the brand at 4Hz.

While competing with immensely popular steel sport watches like the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Lange’s Odysseus occupies a sparsely populated, ultra-luxe space and stands out from its competitors in several, ways including its design and feature set. The A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus initially launches with a blue dial and has a price of $28,800.

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Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

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