Subject: Re: UPDATE ON GOLD WATCH Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:47 pm
Tissot watches use the roman numeral IIII for 4
"IIII" on clocks
A typical clock face with Roman numerals in Bad Salzdetfurth, Germany
The Shepherd gate clock with Roman numbers up to XXIII (and 0), in Greenwich Clock faces that are labeled using Roman numerals conventionally show IIII for four o'clock and IX for nine o'clock, using the subtractive principle in one case and not the other. There are many suggested explanations for this:
Many clocks use IIII because that was the tradition established by the earliest surviving clock, the Wells Cathedral clock built between 1386 and 1392. It used IIII because that was the typical method used to denote 4 in contemporary manuscripts (as iiij or iiii). That clock had an asymmetrical 24-hour dial and used Arabic numerals for a minute dial and a moon dial, so theories depending on a symmetrical 12-hour clock face do not apply.
Perhaps IV was avoided because IV represented the Roman god Jupiter, whose Latin name, IVPPITER, begins with IV. This suggestion has been attributed to Isaac Asimov.
Louis XIV, king of France, who preferred IIII over IV, ordered his clockmakers to produce clocks with IIII and not IV, and thus it has remained.
Using standard numerals, two sets of figures would be similar and therefore confusable by children and others unused to reading clockfaces: IV and VI are similar, as are IX and XI. As the first pair are upside down on the face, an additional level of confusion would be introduced—a confusion avoided by using IIII to provide a clear distinction from VI.
The four-character form IIII creates a visual symmetry with the VIII on the other side, which the two-character IV would not.
Only the I symbol would be seen in the first four hours of the clock, the V symbol would only appear in the next four hours, and the X symbol only in the last four hours. This would add to the clock's radial symmetry.http://support.tissot.ch/?mod_faq
Why is the 4 o'clock roman number of my watch represented with 4 sticks (IIII) when the correct number is IV?
The correct roman number is IV, but the IIII is also applicable and accepted.
Several explanations are possible as to the reason for this interpretation of the roman figure.
One thing is sure: it has been like this for more than 4 centuries. One reason is because half of the numbers are upside down, since they follow the edge of the clock face round.
You can get IV and VI muddled up when they are the right way up. It is even worse when they are upside down.
Another, historical reason, is that in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, most of the population could not read their own language let alone a foreign one. Time was displayed mainly on public monuments like churches, temples and towers. It was then easier for people to count four sticks rather than make mistakes reading a strange figure.
Finally, it could also be seen simply to come from a decorative point of view as the IIII balances well with the VIII opposite.