It steadfastly displays date of the month and day of the week, but you’ll have to manually adjust the watch at the end of every month.
Very practical. And not too complicated, which is another way of saying it won’t be too expensive, as in compared to the annual or perpetual calendars.
But price can be subjective and is always viewed in relation to other factors such as material, quality, design, rarity… and the latest entrant to this small but expanding segment is the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus.
Odysseus, The Legend
Spanking new and never before seen, it is the sixth watch family at the German manufacture, whose specialty is the big date display made famous by the iconic Lange 1.
The Odysseus is also A. Lange & Söhne’s first foray into the sports watch segment, but most importantly, it is the first regular production model in stainless steel.
Now that is big news. Before the Odysseus, A. Lange & Söhne exclusively makes gold and platinum watches.
And this watch joins the large but arguably saturated market of blue dialled steel cased watches with integrated bracelets. But not without bringing some signature Lange features to the table.
Odysseus is the first Lange watch with a water-resistant case (120m) and a screw-down crown. Notice it also has crown protectors on one side, making the design asymmetrical, which can be good or bad depending on where you lean with such issues.
Multi-layered, the dial is pretty attractive and it is studded with notched applied baton-style indexes, offering an extra layer of detail which is nice to see. It’s also decorated with different textures while the hands retain Lange’s signature lancet shape.
Lange’s most beloved feature is the outsized date which you’ll find on many of its watches such as the Lange 1, the Zeitwerk, and the Saxonia. Applying it to the day display resonates with what watches like the Zeitwerk had done with the hours and minutes, and makes perfect sense for the manufacture.
Placed at 9 o’clock, it adds some balance to the dial, mirroring the 3 o’clock outsized date. Inside the typical Lange font printed in white is set against a blue background matching the dial. This is a newly developed mechanism.
Advance the day and date using tapered buttons at 2 and 4 o’clock – a nice, sleek touch. Buttons jutting out will not do the Odysseus any favours.
You don’t often see Lange watches on bracelet, but the Odysseus looks set to change this with its brushed flat link style bracelet.
Completely integrated with the case, the watch is pretty slim on the overall and designed for comfort. The lugs and links are all chamfered so there are no sharp edges.
Very thoughtfully, Lange has made it adjustable by up to 7mm. And you don’t even have to take it off to extend the bracelet. Just use the pusher on the clasp.
Lange developed the new L155.1 Datomatic calibre for the Odysseus. This movement comes with a higher frequency, 4Hz or 28,800vph, as compared to the standard 3.5 hertz or 21,600vph. But unlike the other Lange collections, it features a balance bridge instead of a balance cock.
While it adds stability and robustness, which a sports model needs, it is also less traditional. Moreover, the hand engraving doesn’t cover the entire bridge, only parts. But the swan neck regulator is still in place.
You’ll also notice that not all its rubies and blued screws are set into gold chatons, and the Glashütte ribbing is a little wider. Still, the plates are made in German silver. And the rotor with a platinum centrifugal mass is black-rhodiumed.
Blue dials in steel cases with integrated bracelets seem to be a growing trend, particularly this year, as at least two other brands have created such a product, see here and here. A. Lange & Söhne’s Odysseus presents a new side of the manufacture, and the five-link bracelet is a nice throwback to the 90s.
Being priced at $40,700 establishes it as a luxury steel sports watch like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak or the Patek Philippe Nautilus. But since these watches are either very hard or near impossible to get at retail, perhaps collectors might turn to pieces like the Odysseus.
Also, it's a bit more affordable than the other Lange day date watch, the Lange 1 Daymatic ($59,500)—albeit with a retrograde day rather than outsized day, and cased in gold.
Might being one of the early adopters pay off in the future? It’s hard to be certain—think about the “controversial” Lange 1 launched in 1994—but not at all impossible.
6 other day-date watches to consider
Day-date watches aren’t as ubiquitous as other watch categories such as the chronograph or the dive watch. But they’re arguably more useful on a daily basis—especially when you’re filling out the parking app on your phone.
Here’s six more to consider adding to your collection.
The quintessential day-date timepiece, Rolex’s presents the day in full, and its window arches across the dial 12 o’clock. Also it switches instantaneously at midnight, while the date is magnified through the Cyclops lens.
Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 40 in white gold, $50,500
A preppy daily beater with little vintage throwbacks such as the historical Montblanc logo which has a small mountain between the words Mont and Blanc. Its dial offers several different textures, and it has the day spelt out in full, plus a date display at 6 o’clock.
Heritage Day-Date in stainless steel, $3,850
Yes, it’s an annual calendar but we’ve thrown this into the mix because it displays the day and the date (plus the month) so neatly, clearly and prominently. All three elements occupy the top position, so it’s distinguished and easy to read.
Portugieser Annual Calendar in stainless steel, $29,900
Gold plated hands and indexes contrast against this black dial where a top display prints the day in full while a date at 6 o’clock completes the watch. Options on leather strap or metal bracelet, which is the ultra-recognisable Navitimer bracelet with slanted links.
Premier Auto Day Date in stainless steel, from $5,850
Here’s a dive watch with day date function—very rare—and the distinct 70s styling stands it apart from everything else in this list. Measuring 43mm, it has a ceramic bezel insert with numbers and markers in Liquidmetal. We just love the smoky brown dial and gilt indexes.
Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date 70s in stainless steel, $17,600
Here's one that offers superb value for money. Expect the signature Master aesthetics: Arabic numerals, barleycorn guilloche pattern, classic steel case delivered on a brown strap. But the two windows at 3 o’clock displaying the day and the date tell you it's not just a simple watch.
Master Big Date in stainless steel, $3,200