A. Lange & Söhne CEO Wilhelm Schmid reckons one of the biggest challenges in the development of Odysseus, their recently launched steel sports watch was the fact that that they had no historical references to lean back on. Schmid made this revelation whilst in town to formally open the brand’s renovated flagship boutique at The Dubai Mall.

“In the past we could always refer to what we had done earlier, like pocketwatches and so on. Now for the first time, we don’t have any historical guidance during product development and that in itself created a challenge. The fact that we chose the name Odysseus is on purpose because it reflects this great Greek warrior’s journey back home, it was a bit like our journey from ideas to what I’m wearing on my wrist today,” said Schmid.

The luxury steel sports watch is the hottest commodity in the watch world now. It’s been more than 40 years since Audemars Piguet broke the mold with Royal Oak, but there has been no slowdown in demand for a more casual timepiece from a haute horology brand. Such has been the influence of the Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus that brands that foray into this category often end up creating timepieces that took a page out of the Gerald Genta playbook.

The Odysseus is the first steel sports watch from Lange

But surely, entering a hotly-contested segment means there would be obvious comparisons with the big two that dominate this category, the Nautilus and the Royal Oak. Was the product development team conscious of these comparisons? “Our benchmark is always our own brand DNA and not some other product. Of course we look at what’s in the market, but it doesn’t give you any guidance because if you follow somebody, the best thing you will get is a “me-too” product,” he said.

Watch the full interview on our YouTube channel.