A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus In White Gold For 2020: A Collector’s (And Stainless Steel Odysseus Owner’s) View

by GaryG

Whew! For a while there I was worried that we wouldn’t have any new watches at all to drool over during the current worldwide lockdown period. But over the past few weeks we’ve seen a few announcements from various brands, and now, with the virtual Watches & Wonders Geneva launch week getting underway, we will have to chance to check out – at least in photos and renderings – a variety of introductions from the participating makers.

When we’ve attended SIHH in the past, the first thing that my buddies and I have done upon arrival has always been to trot down the long hallway to get our first view of the giant watch model at the front of A. Lange & Söhne’s booth, as for us it sets the tone for the whole show.

This year I had to jog in place in front of the computer screen in my home office instead, but I was delighted to see the initial images and descriptions of the watch that I’m guessing would have been front and center at Palexpo: A. Lange & Söhne’s Odysseus, now in white gold.

Odysseus in white gold from A. Lange & Söhne

Everything you liked is the same; everything you didn’t is different

Well, perhaps that’s not exactly true, but from the start with Odysseus one of A. Lange & Söhne’s themes has been “familiar but different,” and that concept clearly extends, even within this family’s very first Odysseus day-date model, with the issuance of the white gold version.

View through the display back of the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus in white gold

My immediate impression upon seeing images of the watch (like you, I haven’t yet been able to see it in person) was a sense of slightly greater sobriety than the blue-dialed steel launch version, along with the feeling that my eye was being drawn to the periphery of the dial.

The former phenomenon is explained to some extent by the Lange-standard grey color of the dial; but I had to stare at this new watch for a while before I realized that the central area of the dial is flat, not frosted, and that the embossed areas bounding the dial and subdial have radial, not circular, grooves.

Feeling groovy: white gold A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus with radially grooved dial

Leave it to Lange to decide that to make an existing model in a new metal “just right” it was necessary to change not only the color of the dial, but also its patterns and finishing. When we asked Lange whether this kind of dial change had antecedents in A. Lange & Söhne’s history, the brand reminded us of examples including the structured dial of the Langematik Perpetual in Honeygold, as well as special editions including the sharp-edged recesses of the Lange 1 25th Anniversary dial and the dramatic dials of the Handswerkskunst series.

I’ve been thinking pretty hard to come up with comparable examples from other manufacturers that follow this practice. So far, other than extreme instances such as the dials of Patek Philippe’s Grandmaster Chime variations, my count is at one: the flat-finished titanium-colored dial of my Vacheron Constantin Deep Stream Overseas compared to the embossed black and white dials of the standard steel and gold watches.

Relative rarity: the author’s Vacheron Constantin Deep Stream Overseas

Will all future Odysseus pieces in white gold feature grey dials? In response to our query A. Lange & Söhne made no commitments, but did note that in addition to its elegant look, the white/grey combination is consistent with Lange’s traditional color codes, examples being the Zeitwerk Date and Triple Split.

You wanted a strap? They gave you a strap

Then, of course, we have the strap. Two straps, actually, as A. Lange & Söhne offers the option of either a hand-stitched brown leather or black rubber strap with air ducts on the interior surface, but apparently not both at once as each variant carries a separate A. Lange & Söhne reference number (363.038 vs. 363.068).

These straps are billed as “integrated” with the case, and if you look carefully at the interior surface of the link that sits between each of the pairs of lugs, you’ll see a couple of differences from the first bracelet link of the steel version.

First, the spring bars seem to have vanished – so good luck removing the links from the lugs! Second, a small quick-release circular button has appeared on that first link, apparently to secure the bar whose tips are visible on each side of the ends of the strap nearest the case.

New mech: strap link, A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus in white gold showing new quick-release location and absence of spring bars

The good news about this is that it does seemingly provide the ability to swap out to different strap materials and colors; and as far as I can tell there’s no reason why a slightly re-designed metal bracelet that synched up with the new fitment mechanism on the first link of this watch couldn’t easily be utilized. A. Lange & Söhne wouldn’t say whether a white gold bracelet is planned, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see one at some point along with a broader variety of interchangeable straps.

If you’re wondering how A. Lange & Söhne made a leather strap that connects cleanly with the complex interface of that really trick Odysseus deployant and yet can still be sized to different wrists, you can stop; in the very last line of the spec sheet, Lange lets us know that this variant comes with a white-gold prong buckle.

I’m guessing that A. Lange & Söhne’s retention of the first link and matching the width of the strap to the outer edges of the lugs won’t be to everyone’s liking, but (again, not having handled the watch) it’s very much to my taste and consistent with what I’ve called the “gauntlet” look of the steel Odysseus.

The color and tonal match of the leather strap look better to me than the rubber strap based on the initial images, but the rubber strap has the benefit of its narrow ribs breaking up the wide strap surface and continuing the visual lines of the narrow central extensions of the links. It is obviously more suited to immersion in water.

A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus in white gold with ribbed rubber strap

When I took delivery of my steel Odysseus, I praised A. Lange & Söhne’s decision to accompany it with distressed leather accessories that to my eye were consistent with the more sporting nature of the watch; that decision makes even more sense when we see the fairly rustic-looking leather strap available for the white gold watch.

Distressed leather booklet pouch, A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus

Lange & Söhne hasn’t said whether it planned all along to issue straps with this model. If so, it must have taken some restraint not to mention it when some folks were expressing concerns about the bracelet on the steel model. And if not, kudos to Lange for listening to consumers and adjusting course between October of 2019 and now.

A. Lange & Söhne Caliber L155.1 Datomatic front and back

Building on a strong foundation

Otherwise, the basics from the steel launch piece of the Odysseus line are carried over, including the cool integrated pushers to correct the day and date, the 120-meter water resistance, and the robust Datomatic movement.

Still there: dramatic pusher styling, seen here on the steel Odysseus

With the introduction of a white gold variant of the Odysseus day-date, Lange clearly confirms its intention to make the Odysseus line a true “sixth family” within the Lange universe, not a narrow collection limited strictly to steel watches.

Any quibbles or wishes?

I’ll know better when I see the watch in person! Just a few musings based on the photos and writeups I’ve seen:

  • I completely understand the decision to mirror the radial grooves in the outer ring of the dial with a similar pattern in the seconds subdial, but I’ll need to see how the printed indices for the individual seconds look against a background of grooves that go in the same direction. At a minimum, it will take some good quality control to ensure that the printing sits directly atop the ridges.
  • I’m a bit surprised that the different straps are associated with different references, especially as the straps appear to be interchangeable. My basis for comparison here is the current Vacheron Constantin Overseas line, which in most models comes equipped with leather and rubber straps as well as its metal bracelet.
  • I’d hope that a deployant buckle will be an option for the leather and rubber straps and would have preferred it as standard with the watch; here my reference point is the gold deployant that comes as standard on the Rolex Daytona with the Oysterflex bracelet.

Not an option here: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus deployant buckle, stainless steel version on bracelet

And of course, I’m eager to see strap options for my steel model as well! Our friends at A. Lange & Söhne say that they have no plans to issue these, and it looks to me as if it would require new end links to make it work, but you can’t blame a fellow for asking, after all.

As for the price, coming in at €39,500 including VAT in Germany (with a similar dollar price likely based on past Lange practice), the pricing continues to communicate Lange’s view of where the Odysseus sits in the pantheon of elegant sporty watches.

Will I buy it?

I admit that if I didn’t already own the OG Odysseus in steel I’d give this one some pretty serious thought assuming it held up to in-person scrutiny; but especially given that I bought the steel version for its go-anywhere, do-anything versatility I’m not likely to switch. At least at this point.

I’ll be very interested to hear how others react to this introduction, including everything from the use of gold in the Odysseus line to the appearance of the straps to the look of the modified dial.

Parting shot: day-date display, A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus in white gold

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below and let’s all enjoy the wave of product launches from the Watches & Wonders brands this weekend!

For more information, please visit www.alange-soehne.com/en/odysseus.

Quick Facts A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus References 363.038 and 363.068
Case: 40.5 x 11.1mm, white gold with integrated pushers, screwed caseback, and screw-down crown; water-resistant to 120 m
Dial: partially embossed grey brass dial with white gold applied luminous indices; white gold hands with luminous centers on the hour and minute hands; windows for date and day, seconds subdial
Movement: automatic Caliber L155.1 Datomatic, 28,800 vph/4Hz frequency, shock-resistant balance with four poising screws, 50-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, hacking subsidiary seconds; quick-set day and large date
Strap: integrated design with white gold end links and either dark brown leather (363.038) or black rubber (363.068) strap; white-gold prong buckle
Price: €39,500, German-market price including VAT

You may also enjoy:

Why I Bought It: A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus (A Photofest!)

Lange & Söhne Odysseus: Quill & Pad Team Talk, Strong Opinions After Handling The Already Controversial — And Polarizing — New Steel Lange (With Video)

Lange & Söhne’s Long-Awaited Odysseus Smart Casual Stainless Steel Watch: Extreme Details, Thoughts, Live Photos, And Wristshots

19 Watches And Events That Defined 2019

19 replies
  1. Suhrud Athavale
    Suhrud Athavale says:

    Fantastic read, as always – you have a terrific eye to notice the potential QC issues of a seconds track that is printed on a subdial with a radial pattern that goes in the same direction!! Seeing the pictures of this release, I can’t help but think that the white gold references represent the Odysseus having a mid-life crisis. The stamped dial pattern instantly reads “dress watch”, as does the precious metal case. But then you have the 120 water resistance of the watch, the casual strap options, and the sporty pretensions of the Datomatic caliber on the other hand. I feel a slate grey dial with the same dial pattern as the steel model (or a gradient dial, or a slightly less “dressy” stamping) would have been a better fit overall.

    A question to you, as a collector: Do you feel a bit miffed that this reference in a precious white metal and in a more exclusive package overall was announced only 6 months after the steel? Had they been announced concurrently, would you still have picked the stainless steel?

    • Valentine
      Valentine says:

      Well, why the expansion of Odysseus collection looks like a midlife crysis?
      As Gary wrote, ALS decided to make it the “sixth family”, so we can expect more versions.
      Look at VC Overseas family with all its different metals, dial colors and complication versions – ALS seems to be going the same way here, and IMO it’s not that bad.
      Maybe one day we’ll see Odysseus tourbillon 🙂

      • Elizabeth Doerr
        Elizabeth Doerr says:

        An Odysseus tourbillon? Highly doubtful in my opinion. There are already so few tourbillons in Lange’s collection – they save it for really special circumstances. I can’t see that happening here.

        • Valentine
          Valentine says:

          Thanks Elizabeth, probably you’re right.
          But another thought – even if we won’t see an Odysseus tourbillon, the more versions will appear, the more “exclusive” the first Odysseus (stainless steel case and bracelet, blue dial) will become.
          It’s like this with some other brands, why wouldn’t ALS make it the (more or less) same way?

          • GaryG
            GaryG says:

            Valentine — thanks for your comments! I both see Odysseus as becoming a successful full “family” for Lange (as you note) and the steel/blue launch version as being a very special and collectible Lange piece.

            As a side note, I’m also really happy to see the new Overseas models, and to see Overseas finally getting some of the love that it deserves. For many years, I was “that guy” who answered the question “Nautilus or Royal Oak?” with “Overseas,” and I’m glad finally to have some company. And now I guess I can add “Odysseus” to my response!

            All the best, Gary

          • Elizabeth Doerr
            Elizabeth Doerr says:

            Oh, I have no doubt that the ss version will be the most “valuable” Odysseus! How nice for Gary, right?

    • GaryG
      GaryG says:

      Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts! I may have to do a bit of photoshop work for fun to convert my blue dial to a grey one and see how it looks. I hear what you’re saying about the sport vs. dress balance, but at the same time we’ve seen gold Aquanaut and Daytona models and they do find a market — although perhaps a different one than the steel versions.

      As for your question: while it does seem fairly quick to be introducing variants on a model that was just launched 6 months ago (to the day), I don’t have a problem with it and I don’t necessarily see it as more exclusive — just different. I’d need to see the two watches side by side to assess them in relative terms as purchases, but for me (and as a collector) the opportunity to own the very first large-series Lange steel watch, when combined with the durability and versatility of the steel, make the launch version the winner in my book from everything I’ve seen so far.

      Thanks again for your thoughts!

      Best, Gary

  2. Valentine
    Valentine says:

    Thanks a lot for the read, I completely agree, your reviews always hit straight to the point and very interesting!
    Well, when I first saw the stainless stell Odysseus, I said – Ok, issue a grey-dial version and I’ll be the first in line to buy it. So here is it.
    Radial grooves are nice, everything is nice, but where is the bracelet???
    I’m not sure that leather strap quite suits the watch, rubber strap is nice. This goes to my “stereotype” that “sporty” watches should use either bracelet or rubber – leave leather for dress and casual watches!
    Well, this opinion might change after seeing the watch in person, but it’s a pity that grey-dialed Odysseus on a bracelet is now unlikely to appear.

    And I also second the question of Suhrud – would you still have picked the stainless steel version?

    • GaryG
      GaryG says:

      Don’t give up yet on a bracelet for the grey-dialed white gold Odysseus! I don’t know for sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that as an option in the future.

      To your point, I’d be more surprised now to see a grey dial on the steel model — Lange does break their own rules on design codes once in a while, but they do seem to adhere pretty closely to the idea that certain dial colors go with certain metals. Again, though, I don’t have a crystal ball on that so we’ll have to see.

      You may have noted my response to Suhrud above — while I’d need to handle both watches side by side to be sure (and hindsight is 20:20 so there’s no way to know exactly what I might have done) from everything I know right now I still would have gone with steel last autumn given the choice of either watch.

      Best regards, Gary

  3. Thomas 37 Grad
    Thomas 37 Grad says:

    Dear Quill & Pad Team, sehr geehrter lieber Gary Getz,
    a great thank you for the first move in reporting about and reviewing the new Odysseus from A. Lange & Söhne.
    This execution does not come so surprisingly. And grey is also not an unexpected colour. Same for the strap now. But … and again. It is a very nice watch and it has a typical Lange style and a Lange soul. Great.
    Question: Is it a bit thinner now? Some images create the impression that it might be thinner. But. Who can answer this. The first disadvantage of W & W online is here to see: You, they, we … cannot say so cause we don’t have seen it in reality.
    Question: Does the vintage (sorry: ‘dirty’) looking brown strap realy suit such a beautiful watch? My straps look like this after a gearbox overhaul of a very very very old car.
    Integrated bracelet sportive luxury watches are a bit like the SUVs in the watchworld. I like the idea that the most sublime watchmaker has resisted this phenomenon for so long. But in the end they did it. Problem? No. A. Lange & Söhne do it in a very special way – with an easy to identify Lange design. With a small second, with a superb delicate 3-D-character of both dials, blue and grey.
    My only wish now is a posh and stylish (clean) aligator strap. Question: wouldn’t this look georgeous?
    Thank you for opening the discussion, bye und schöne Grüße und gesund bleiben,
    Thomas 37 Grad

    • Elizabeth Doerr
      Elizabeth Doerr says:

      Thank you as always for your thoughts! I am sure that both watches are the same size. I think the absence of the bracelet changes the perspective. But we won’t know everything for 100% sure until the lovely day when we get to try this on ourselves.

    • GaryG
      GaryG says:

      Dear Thomas,

      Many thanks indeed for your kind and thorough comments!

      I haven’t handled the watch, and I agree that particularly in the photo with the rubber strap the watch looks a bit thinner — but if the specification sheet is to be trusted this version is the exact 11.1 mm thickness of the steel version.

      I’ll reserve judgment on the distressed look of the brown strap until I see it, but it is consistent with what we’ve seen recently from some others and at least to this American’s eye seems perhaps to have been influenced by the Berlin design environment in which Lange’s design team is now based. I do agree that a posh alligator strap would be splendid — perhaps we will see that from Lange sometime soon!

      All the best, and stay well, Gary

  4. Kunal Khemka
    Kunal Khemka says:

    Gary, Excellent article as always. I kind of like the White Gold Odysseus and like the Radial Grooves effect. But a few points:

    a) Why have a separate reference for the Leather strap and for the Rubber strap? Why not “bundle” them together? Would Lange be seen as a “lesser” brand if they did this? Because for many in the collector community – it is now Lange vs PP. (For me, VC OS is not a “lesser” collection because of the strap-change system).

    b) The steel Odysseus is an expensive watch. This WG version – being WG – is priced even higher. And it is considerably more expensive than my Lange 1 (second-gen in rose gold). Makes me wonder why. I know the steel Odysseus is a rare watch, and it is in high demand. Not sure if the WG Odysseus will be as rare. But, given the price of the WG Odysseus, am I not better served by other watches in Lange collection? Perhaps those from the Lange 1, 1815, and Saxonia family? This is food for thought.

    I know this segment of horology is not based on “logic” like I have expressed above; and the Odysseus will find amazing homes. Judging by pics, and especially your “Why I bought it article” and your IG pics, I have reallly like the Odysseus in Steel. I hope to see it one day and also add to my collection. But I also hope this new Odysseus family does not become “Lange’s Nautilus / Aquanaut”, especially at the expense of their other collections. Because Lange has some real gems in their catalogue (and some relatively affordable for this stratosphere of horology). I hope I am making sense.

    All said and done I love Lange, and among mainstream brands, it is my favourite along with VC and PP. And I do not mean to “rub” Lange the wrong way with my comments. I just want some clarity.

    • GaryG
      GaryG says:

      Hi Kunal —

      Thanks as always for your thoughtful comments and questions! I don’t think that anyone at Lange will take offense — to the contrary, they seem very open to enthusiast points of view.

      It also seems a bit odd to me to have a separate reference for different straps, especially as the straps can be interchanged. As with all of your questions, an authoritative answer will have to come from Lange!

      We’ll see how the relative pricing plays out — perhaps it will bring more attention and interest to Lange’s simpler dress watches. I for one don’t see a risk of the Odysseus pushing all other Lange watch families to the side, as the others have their own fantastic merits, as you mention.

      All the best, Gary

  5. Richard Baptist
    Richard Baptist says:

    This watch, I can’t get my head around this watch. The first time I saw it in steel, the bracelet looks like it was not designed for this watch. There is not a symmetry between the case and the bracelet to me. I said to myself, this would probably look better on a strap – ironic for a steel sports watch with an integrated bracelet. Now I see it on the strap, it does look better in my humble opinion. However why did they maintain the end links? I listened to the CEO of Lange who said the leather and the rubber are two different model numbers so you’d probably have to buy the other strap by yourself. He also said that the bracelet from the steel model would not fit the white gold models. This I find strange. Look, I’ll never own one of these watches but as an academic exercise, I find some of the decisions around this model strange. FYI – I also agree with you on the overseas, for this price I’d get one of those watches.

    • GaryG
      GaryG says:

      Like you, I have some unanswered questions about the strap vs. bracelet issue, and especially the issue of different fitment approaches for the first links of the straps and the steel bracelet. I’m hoping that Lange will come up with a transitional solution that allows straps to be used with the steel watch, even if it requires the purchase of new steel end links that match the strap options.

      I’ve of course made my call on whether I think the steel bracelet matches the watch — in the metal and on my wrist I think it looks great! That said, the combination is clearly not to everyone’s taste — but that’ part of what makes the watch hobby fun for me. In a way, it’s nice to see a piece that many love and some don’t — otherwise we’d all collect the same pieces.

      As a long-time Overseas owner, I am happy to see that line getting some love these days! That new gold skeleton perpetual is probably a bit too blingy for me to attempt (especially as I once owned an all-gold Overseas dual time and my wife gave me the stink eye every time I wore it until I finally sold it), but the photos look great.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

      Best, Gary

      • Richard Baptist
        Richard Baptist says:

        Hello Gary, as I tell people – it’s watches and there are so many of them so let’s enjoy the discussion and debate. Great points on the Odysseus strap issue, I’ll give Lange the benefit of the doubt, it’s a new watch and they’ll get it right. I like the new overseas perpetual calendar – not the skeleton though that’s a visual assault on my senses. The blue dial is amazing though. Thanks for the discussion and stay safe!

      • O'Neal Miller
        O'Neal Miller says:

        As many are focused on the current watch, my thoughts travel to what Lange has in store for this watch. Obviously they have been working not the architecture for sometime, and have already mapped out what’s next. Each current Lange family of watches has a distinctive arc development (great subject for an entire article). I can see the Odysseus adding a dual time with and additional register (24hrs signifying day and night in synch with the home time hour hand) at the 12 position, along with a disappearing second timezone hand at the center (home time). Saxonia Dualtime lays this out nicely. Adding a moonphase under the seconds register is pretty much a no brainer (and has been done many times in other families). And lastly an annual calendar by adding a months register at the 12 position along with a moon phase under the seconds register. The day and date are constant staples for the line and will not stray. I can also see a changer pusher at the 10pm position to continue with the consistency in other families. A shocker would be to try to add a perpetual calendar to the line (double duty for register functions). That would put the price in the stratosphere. The fun and wonder of watching Lange grow and develop is that they never disappoint in terms of uniqueness and quality. No one can say that this is a “me too” watch family. At first glance one knows that this is the Odysseus. Hard to mistake it for something else. I’m smitten by this newest version in the rubber strap options (vs buying a white gold Aquanaut or an AP chrono on a strap).

        Great article as always Gary. Keep up the good work.

        Stay well.

        • GaryG
          GaryG says:

          Thanks very much for your very interesting thoughts and kind words! And apologies for being slow to respond — somehow my “mail” app dropped its connection to my Q&P mail address at the end of April and I just thought no one was commenting!

          Great thoughts on possibilities for the Odysseus line — and I agree that the arc of model line development at Lange makes for a great article idea. Mind if I steal it (with proper acknowledgement)?

          Best, Gary


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *