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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am very close to pulling the trigger on this DJ below but have a concern, if you notice the roman numeral for 4 on the train track it reads IV instead of IIII which is commonly used by watchmakers and Rolex specifically. Is this legit or what?
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How in the world could they use "IIII" ??

You could never tell with 100% certainty from a picture, but yes......it looks legit.
 

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It is my understanding that intelligent Roman's used IV represent the numeral 4. This is technically the correct way to represent 4.

Those who rode the short chariot to school used IIII to represent the numeral 4, IIIII (5), IIIIII (6), etc.
 

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My guess is that it's a ref 16234 from the late 80's or early 90's. I've seen pictures where the IV is used there instead of the IIII. Seems to depend on year the watch was produced.
 

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It is my understanding that intelligent Roman's used IV represent the numeral 4. This is technically the correct way to represent 4.

Those who rode the short chariot to school used IIII to represent the numeral 4, IIIII (5), IIIIII (6), etc.
coffee just shot out my nose.... LOL!!!!

btw OP, that's not enough to base authenticity on. suggest you take it to an AD instead.
 

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My Tudor dial has the IIII configuration

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Excuse me while I retreat to the equivalent of the Roman Trailer Park...
 

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The AD Rolex dealer in my city said that Rolex uses the IIII instead of the IV to give the dial more balance aesthetically. The IIII gives more balance with the VIII on the opposite side. It's called a "watchmaker's four." So, there's the answer to the IIII as opposed to the IV. However, I don't know the authenticity of the watch you posted, OP. Have you tried bringing it to a Rolex dealer and asking them to determine the authenticity?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the replies, I will have it verified at the RSC before going ahead.

It seems like this anomaly is quite uncommon, through my research on the internet it seems no one has a definitive answer. I have also sighted a few pieces being sold by reputable dealers with the 'IV' dial and they are all from the late 80s to 90s but it is a head scratcher why Rolex would change the 4.
 

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How in the world could they use "IIII" ??

You could never tell with 100% certainty from a picture, but yes......it looks legit.
IIII is commonly used in watches and clocks.


c.mleok

c.WristReview

c.Hodinkee

Also, "short chariot" jokes aside...

"Roman inscriptions, especially in official contexts, seem to show a preference for additive forms such as IIII and VIIII instead of (or even as well as) subtractive forms such as IV and IX. Both methods appear in documents from the Roman era, even within the same document."

ref.Joyce Maire Reynolds and Anthony J. S. Spawforth, numbers, Roman entry in Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd edition, ed Simon Hornblower and Anthony Spawforth (Oxford University Press, 1996) ISBN 0-19-866172-X
ref.Kennedy, Benjamin Hall (1923). The Revised Latin Primer. London: Longmans, Green & Co.
 

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IIII is commonly used in watches and clocks.........
I understand that aspect and realize this fact. However, to me.....it seemed as if it would be difficult to use the 'IIII' in the minute track as it would appear the same as the minute track itself.

A picture has been posted showing me how this is accomplished within the minute track. My mistake.
 

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It is my understanding that intelligent Roman's used IV represent the numeral 4. This is technically the correct way to represent 4.

Those who rode the short chariot to school used IIII to represent the numeral 4, IIIII (5), IIIIII (6), etc.
first post on this forum, although I have been lurking for a little while. I have to say this is hysterical! I am still laughing. My kind of sense of humor....
 

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It is my understanding that intelligent Roman's used IV represent the numeral 4. This is technically the correct way to represent 4.

Those who rode the short chariot to school used IIII to represent the numeral 4, IIIII (5), IIIIII (6), etc.
Is it the subtractive nature of it that was confusing to commoners of the time? If that is the case, then wouldn't IX be IIIIIIIII or VIIII (the latter sounds more plausible, as one more I to the 8 numeral seems easier to apply in the real world, than using repeating I's by non-elite/educated Romans).


The AD Rolex dealer in my city said that Rolex uses the IIII instead of the IV to give the dial more balance aesthetically. The IIII gives more balance with the VIII on the opposite side. It's called a "watchmaker's four." So, there's the answer to the IIII as opposed to the IV.
Is it spacial balance? If that's the case, wouldn't the V and VII be more balanced with a IIIII? Visually, I can see how V is closer to VII in terms of how the V stands out a bit more, but in terms of how much space the numerals take up, the IIIII is closer to VII than V.


With those said, I reiterate that no one knows for sure what the reason of IIII's origin is. What I do believe, whatever the origins are, is that IIII is used instead of IV due to convention. Rolex, Patek Philippe, etc. may just as well use IIII because everyone else does it as tradition, and retroactively justify its use as being more symmetrical. If balance is truly desired as the manufacturer's intent, I would think Roman numerals wouldn't be used at all (unless, like the OP's Rolex example, it has a very discreet presence on the dial). If Roman numerals are used because there are those of us who prefer Roman numerals over Arabic numerals or nondescript hour markers, then maybe using the "proper" or correct IV would be appreciated more by Roman numeral lovers.

Whatever the case, why continue using IIII to this day at all if we know that IV is correct? It seems that some monarch, clockmaker, or whomever, through sheer preference alone, decided one day to use IIII instead of V. Why do we Americans stick with the feet instead of the metric system? Once a habit is learned, it's hard to change, especially for a trend that's been going on for so long.
 
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