It's always a pleasure to hear about new A.Lange & Sohne releases. Indeed, this highly-prized watchmaker is always innovative, so their new timepieces often give us a look into what the future of watchmaking holds for us.
With so many watchmakers on hiatus due to COVID-19, A.Lange & Sohne surprised the watch community with 3 new releases for early 2020. Granted none of them are groundbreaking, they are still gorgeous pieces that will quickly fly off the shelves.
The first two watches released by A.Lange & Sohne in Q1 2020 are part of the Odysseus collection. This is a relatively new collection that was first introduced in 2019. Initially, the company put out a single model; the stainless steel version with the blue dial (363.179).
To some potential buyers, the €28,800 price tag and stainless steel case/bracelet weren't enough to satisfy their luxurious needs. In response, A.Lange & Sohne released the 363.038 (left) and 363.068 (right) models, which are both made of white gold, and come with a €39,500 price tag.
Apart from the new case material, another important difference is the strap. Instead of a steel bracelet like the original Odysseus, these two new models come on an integrated leather (038) or rubber (068) strap.
This kind of hybrid strap might be a new trend to look out for in the watch industry for the upcoming years. Not only does this layout look very distinctive, but it also gives you the best of both worlds; the solidity of solid end-links, and the comfort of leather or rubber.
If you're wondering if it's possible to retrofit the stainless steel bracelet from the 363.179 onto the new models, the answer is no. The only possibility is to swap the leather strap for the rubber strap, but you can't go from leather/rubber to steel (or the other way around).
While the dial remains untouched in its essence, there are a few tweaks that make the two new models stand out from the base model. The first obvious change is the color, which is now grey instead of blue. Additionally, the outer ring of the dial & subdial, which are textured like a vinyl record on the steel version, are now slightly fluted.
The rest of the specs are the same as the base model. This means that you get the tailor-made Calibre L155.1 movement that has the large day-date complication that changes instantly. Also, this movement beats at a 28,800bph frequency, uses 31 rubies, and has a 50 hours power reserve.
It's quite funny to hear A.Lange & Sohne boast about the 120m water resistance of the Odysseus (it's their first "Sporty-Elegant" watch). While it isn't that high of a figure, it's still rare to see water-resistant super-luxury pieces. If you're brave enough to take a swim with your €39,500 timepiece, you will be able to do it with complete peace of mind.
The other watch annouced by A.Lange & Sohne is a very exclusive piece that's part of the Zeitwerk collection.
This collection has been a hit for the watchmaker ever since its inception (it's been on the market for over a decade). The Zeitwerk is beloved by enthusiasts specifically for its peculiar mechanical-digital display. Indeed, the quickset hours and minutes display make the watch super legible, but also very distinctive.
It's important to note that the new (147.028) model is part of the Zeitwerk "Minute Repeater" line, which can be recognized by the pusher button at the 10 o'clock position. At the press of this button, the two stainless steel hammers will chime to announce the time, as explained in this video.
Yes, this feature is incredible, but it also comes with an incredible price tag. Indeed, this new Zeitwerk Minute Repeater is sold for €449,000 instead of the €76,500 price tag of the base model. Additionally, this new blue Minute Repeater (147.028) is limited to a 30-unit production run.
It's good to note that the 147.028 model is the second timepiece in the Minute Repeater line. Whereas the first iteration's case was made of platinum, the new model has a white gold case. Not only does this give a different feel to the watch, but it also makes the tone of the hammers a bit softer and warmer.
Although the price that accompanies this new Zeitwerk is out of almost everyone's reach, it's easy to daydream about the solid silver dial, rhodium-gold hands, and alluring deep blue dial of the 147.028.
Understandably, A.Lange & Sohne sells this timepiece only through their boutiques, so you better have very powerful connections in the watch industry if you want to even lay your eyes on one in person.
What's in store?
With the uncertainty created by COVID-19, it's hard to know if A.Lange & Sohne will release other timepieces for the rest of 2020.
While no official announcement was made by A.Lange & Sohne, the CEO (Wilhelm Schmid) mentioned in this interview that the company's operating as if most horology events will take place (virtually or in person.)
One event that really seemed important to Schmid is the 175th anniversary of watchmaking in Glashutte. He even said that events such as the 175th anniversary could very well be used to showcase upcoming A.Lange & Sohne models, but he didn't give more information on that subject.
Finally, he also said something interesting about E-commerce. For him, if the online demand for A.Lange & Sohne is strong enough in the future, he's very open to lean into e-commerce.
Let us know in the comment below which watch you're hoping to see in 2020 from A.Lange & Sohne!