The Watch Observatory

A. Lange & Sohne Odysseus

By 25th October 2019 3 Comments

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After all the hype and PR surrounding it, Lange has finally launched its luxury sports watch, the Ulysses. The initial reaction, mine as well as widely held, is that it is absolutely terrible, this. I was completely disappointed at first, but then started diving deeper, discovering little details. So, here are my quick hands-on impressions.

What I like:

  • The Lange DNA is present everywhere. They did it their own way, as usual.
  • The dial finishing. It really is lovely to see in real life. But, that’s expected on a Lange.
  • The big date. I always love that on the Langes.
  • It is very legible, which is a must for me.
  • The buckle. It has the centerpiece button with the Lange logo on it as a micro-adjuster. Very cool execution. Feels solid on the first few tries.IMG_0847
  • Water resistance of 120 meters. A first for Lange, so it must be lauded.
  • Completely new movement to power this day/date sporty offering. Of course, Lange can’t just throw an off-the-shelf movement in there. (I apologize for the bad ic, but it was impossible to capture). That big rotor is cool, IMO.IMG_0853
  • Link adjustments can be done at home. This is a cool feature, courtesy of the tiny buttons on each link. But it makes me wander how sturdy it will be in the long run.
  • Quality of the pushers for day/date adjustment. They feel very solid and are firm so as to just feel ‘quality’.
  • The red 60 on the minute track. A small Lange tradition I really like.

What I dislike:

  • The day window. That 2-letter day window just feels wrong for a number of reasons. Each day acronym has me imagining different (mostly negative) associations. Maybe I am used to 3 letters or full day as in Rolex. The idea is to balance out the big date window, but it just looks off.IMG_0840
  • The integrated bracelet. There is much to be said here, but I did not have enough time to thoroughly inspect it. It feels very stiff near the lugs, so it sticks out further, making it wear even larger on the wrist. Additionally, the bracelet, while definitely high quality, simply does not look so. It doesn’t feel special. It looks plain. And, I do not know how it will endure the various activities due to its features.
  • The size. It’s almost 3 mm thicker than a Nautilus. And 0.5 mm wider. Doesn’t sound like much, but it really looks big. Here is a quick comparo with the Rolex Sub LGF:IMG_0855IMG_0856
  • The Rolex is thicker overall, but it surely doesn’t feel like it on the wrist.
  • The price. It’s priced as a Nautilus, but doesn’t (yet?) have the cache to be so.
  • From what I gather, there is high demand for this one. However, 9/10 orders are from people who never even saw it or tried it. Makes me think these are speculators looking to cash in on current trends, which really ruins it for the true lovers of the brand.

A Pleasant surprise:

At first, I was really shocked by the photos of the prominent pushers and how they skew the watch and throw it off balance. However, the pushers are mirror polished to such a high degree, they are almost invisible in real life. It looks completely round on the wrist. But the pushers are there and they are solid. Just look at that first photo, you can barely notice them.

Conclusion:

While there is a component of cashing in on the current market trends, I believe this was not Lange’s original intention. The planning for this line started a long time ago, before the current bubble. So, I have to give them the benefit of doubt, that they are indeed starting a new chapter and diversifying their offering. Only time will tell how successful this will be and how wide the line will grow.

Would I buy it? No, not right now. Is it as bad as I thought? No, not at all. There is a lot of details I like, all the ‘usual’ Lange DNA. But the things I do not like are serious issues. I want to see it evolve, I want to see new dials and complications on it. All in all, this will find a market, whether speculators or real fans. But I’ll reserve my judgement for a while.

What are your thoughts?

3 Comments

  • Ares501 says:

    Excellent survey my friend and first unbiased and independent review I came across in these last few days. Kudos! Looks like jury is still out there. My personal take is that after reading your great post I had to see it live but so far it’s no go for me. It just looks wrong on so many levels for Lange. I would say ok if Chopard was on the dial. 😉
    Cheers

  • Pablo says:

    It does look wrong, but not once you see it in the metal. Onl then, do ou begin to appreciate it for what it really is: a first attempt by Lange to go outside its comfort zone.

  • Baron says:

    This is a really good write-up. Obviously it makes a big difference when you have a watch on the wrist. I was really surprised to see the comparison against the Rolex. It looks so much bigger. I also agree with you on the two-letter day indicator. That, in itself, puts me off the watch. The integrated bracelet is, to my mind, just poor.

    I wanted this to be a watch I could buy. The reality is that in this segment of the market, it just isn’t going to hit the right notes for me. I would put the GP and Patek as well as AP comfortably ahead of it.

    It beats the Chopard though. As does the Apple Watch.

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