Wednesday, 27 January 2010

IIII not IV


WA WA WA!!! I suddenly realised that on watches with roman numerals, the 4 is IIII, not IV!!! so i went on the net to search for famous clocks and the ones in Otaru and Sapporo are like this too!! WA WA WA!



however, big ben is not... hm...


chris and i were in Paragon that day so we checked out the (expensive) watches. true enough, almost all are IIII except Chopard which is IV.

There are various interesting stories behind this on the internet which i found. Here are the most common ones:

"There is a story that a famous clockmaker had constructed a clock for Louis XIV, king of France. The clockmaker had naturally used IV for four. When the clock was shown to the king, he remarked that IIII should have been used instead of IV. When it was explained to him that IV was correct, he still insisted, so that there was nothing to do but change the clock dial. This introduced the custom of using IIII for four. This is probably only a story, however, as IIII occurs long before the time of Louis XIV. And this same story is also told in connection with other monarchs. There is one reason why IIII is preferable to IV, and it may have caused the change. On the other side of the clock dial the VIII is the heaviest number, consisting of four heavy strokes and one light one, as it is usually made. It would destroy the symmetry to have the IV with only two heavy strokes on the other side. Thus IIII with four heavy strokes is much to be preferred. The change may therefore have been made for reasons of symmetry."

"It's said, that in Roman times, they didn't use IV for 4, because IV are the first two letters of the name of their king of the gods, Jupiter, Iupiter (IVPITER, as it was written). So originally IIII was used in place of IV, and it is only in more recent times that IV has become the standard."

Interesting! =D