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Roman numeral dials... IV, or IIII??

  1. madjestikmoose

    madjestikmoose Nov 30, 2018

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    Hi all

    I have a question that's been bothering me for a while... I'm hoping someone in-the-know will be able to help... why is it that some watch/clock dials with Roman Numeral markers use IIII for 4 o'clock, as opposed to (the correct) IV? Does anybody know the reason?? I've seen both around, on all sorts of watch brands.Thank you :)
     
  2. ConElPueblo

    ConElPueblo Nov 30, 2018

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    Dial balance. Pure aesthetics.
     
  3. MRC

    MRC Nov 30, 2018

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    Depends on the age of the watch and where it was made: pre 400AD in Rome - IIII, Medieval and later anywhere - IV. :whistling:

    In my days of learning Latin we were told that the IV, IX etc were a medieval invention. All that is now left is that I can read the date in movie credits.

    In Real Life it's just a stylistic choice.
     
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  4. madjestikmoose

    madjestikmoose Nov 30, 2018

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    Ahhh ok, I didn't realise the Romans actually used IIII themselves at one point.... thanks
     
  5. Doc Savage

    Doc Savage Nov 30, 2018

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    I didn't realize this until recently, either.

    Huh? The "IIII" makes it unbalanced-looking, imo. "IV" would be better.
     
  6. Vitezi

    Vitezi Nov 30, 2018

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  7. ConElPueblo

    ConElPueblo Nov 30, 2018

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    "IMO" indeed :)
     
  8. bubba48

    bubba48 Nov 30, 2018

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    On the contrary the balance is perfect: four hours with I, four hours with V and four with X ;)
     
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  9. Canuck

    Canuck Nov 30, 2018

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    An English clockmaker, Joseph Knibb, devised a strike system for his clocks that saved power. He called it “Roman striking”. This system used a high pitched bell, and a low pitched bell. A tinkle meant 1, and a tang meant 5. His clock dials used the IV version for 4, I believe. Most other makers used the IIII, seemingly because it leant a balance to the chapter ring. But the IV for 4 might have resulted from Knibb’s clocks. What did the Romans consider correct?

    On Knibb’s clocks:

    1:00 was a tinkle.
    2:00 was 2 tinkles
    3:00 was 3 tinkles
    4:00 was tinkle tang
    5:00 was tang
    6:00 was tang tinkle
    7:00 was tang tinkle tinkle
    8:00 was tang tinkle tinkle tinkle
    9:00 was tinkle tang tang
    10:00 was tang tang
    11:00 was tang tang tinkle
    12:00 was tang tang tinkle tinkle.

    I don’t know how popular his Roman striking clocks were. Confusing!

    This topic has surfaced before on this MB.

    https://omegaforums.net/threads/dearest-omega-forum.69248/page-2#post-871401
     
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  10. Doc Savage

    Doc Savage Nov 30, 2018

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    It's a size issue. It seems unbalanced symmetrically. On the contrary - having IV right before V, followed by VI, looks a lot smoother.

    Just another example of how differently people see things :D
     
    Edited Nov 30, 2018
  11. Professor

    Professor Nov 30, 2018

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    s-l1600 (8).jpg
    This Pobeda has the IIII marking. Perhaps it has something to do with the influence of the Greek/Russian Orthodox Church.
    Notice how the numerals are oriented radially so at the bottom of the dial the V's are upside down.

    On the Tissot examples the V is rightside up.

    Personally I don't much care for Roman numerals since the tip of long thin minute or second hands get lost among the I's.
     
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  12. Pvt-Public

    Pvt-Public Dec 1, 2018

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    This one gets hard to read, when the numbers get hidden in the shadow ::facepalm2::
    IMG_0768.JPG
     
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  13. dennisthemenace

    dennisthemenace Hey, he asked for it! Dec 1, 2018

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    I never knew they had watches back then. Learn something new everyday.
     
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  14. MRC

    MRC Dec 1, 2018

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    They even had GMT clocks!

    P7030048m.JPG
    And it is telling the right time, assuming noon at the top.
     
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  15. bubba48

    bubba48 Dec 1, 2018

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    Ok, but that isn't my opinion, but the explanation of some producers. ;)
     
  16. S.H.

    S.H. Dec 1, 2018

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    Dial symmetry, writing 4 as IIII allows a nice grouping:
    - 4 digits using only I: I II III IIII
    - 4 digits using V: V VI VII VIII
    - 4 digits using X: IX X XI XII
     
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  17. Omega Baby

    Omega Baby Mar 26, 2020

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    ConElPueblo is correct, it's aesthetics. I have a vintage Omega with Roman numerals and 4 o/c, which is lV would upset the balance at 8 o/c displayed as Vlll. On my watch the dial looks perfectly balanced with Vlll on one side and llll on the other.
     
  18. Canuck

    Canuck Mar 26, 2020

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    This topic has been gnawed to death on this message board, before. Search the archives and you’ll likely find people with opinions, but no experts. A clock maker named Joseph Knibb invented a system of striking on his clocks called Roman striking. His clocks had two bells. One higher pitched, and one lower pitched. On his clocks, the I was denoted by a high pitched bell, and the V a low pitched bell. A ting for an I, and a tang for a V. So at four, the clock struck ting tang. At five, a tang, at six it struck tang ting. Ten was tang tang. Eleven was tang tang ting. Twelve was tang tang ting ting. His dials used the IV, not the IIII. All this to preserve power when the clock struck the hour.
     
  19. madjestikmoose

    madjestikmoose Mar 26, 2020

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    I was just curious. But thanks.

    [ends]
     
  20. OMEGuy

    OMEGuy Mar 26, 2020

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    Let's end it with stars and stripes :)

    [​IMG]