We’ve always seen watches with high-end chronograph movements available in classy, precious metal cases with unique straps. However, high-end chronographs do exist in other forms besides steel sports timepieces on bracelets. Things were different before, but A. Lange & Söhne altered the established order on the first day of Watches and Wonders 2023 by launching the Odysseus Chronograph! Also, it’s the first-ever chronograph to join the brand!
We caught up with Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of A. Lange & Söhne to discuss this new release and more! Let’s see how the conversation unfolded.
A. Lange & Söhne, a jewel of the Richemont Group has been making one of the most handsome timepieces ever since 1848. While we expected to see some different releases, the Odysseus Chronograph has created quite a noise. What’s so special about this new release? Sharing his thoughts Wilhelm said, “The Odysseus has a very recognizable design. When building a collection and adding complications, you’ve to do so without destroying the face of the established design. With the new automatic chronograph, it’s very complicated. It took us three years to develop it; we began even before we launched the first Odysseus timepiece in 2019 in Dubai. Since the entire movement happens in the center, you’ve to create space for the seconds counter in a chronograph; all of this while working with the limitations we have.”
When talking about the Odysseus launch in 2019, there were mixed reactions from the entire watch community. And now, the Manufacture has come out with a novelty at Watches And Wonders 2023! Talking about this growth he said, “You cannot go back. A good design may not appeal to all. And factually, we do not produce a large number of pieces. We don’t only produce the Odysseus but continue to build all the families we are known for- Lange, Saxonia, Zeitwerk, and more! It’s great to have a watch that is creating discussion and yes, it’s a new re-interpretation of the watch. It’s A. Lange & Söhne, through and through.”
With 550 people working at the factory and producing 5000-6000 pieces, the growth for the brand is slow but it’s created some stunning timepieces. Recently, A. Lange has changed the way the brand is portrayed. What we mean is, they’ve shifted to fewer retail stores and more boutiques and lounges. Does that mean we will see more boutique-edition watches? “What we sell even today, is through boutiques. The fact is, if we don’t have enough production, we need not have more points of sale. The better a brand understands its customers and the easier it is for customers to access the brand, the better it is for both! It’s all about fulfilling the promise and keeping it under control. The last element is finding competent salespeople.”
Where can we expect to see the next boutique of the brand? Maybe, India? Well, while the brand promises to continue launching more pieces this year, watch the full interview here.