Wednesday Hump Day Fun Fact # 39 !!!

Posted by Daubin Barshtak on December 11, 2013.

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why isn’t the Roman numeral at "4" right on my watch?”

On a watch or clock face, Roman numerals run in the correct order ‘I’, ‘II’, ‘III,’ until we get to the numeral for ’4. It should read ‘IV’, but more often than not, it doesn’t. The reason for this can be attributed partly to the king of France, Louis XIV, a man who really should know his Roman numerals!

When a celebrated clockmaker had designed and built a special clock for the king, the monarch insisted the numeral ‘IV’ was wrong. No matter how much advice the king received to the contrary, he was insistent. For this reason, the clock was changed to suit the king. Of course, the truth of the matter is that clocks with the numeral ‘IIII’ have existed long before the reign of Louis XIV and it’s believed that it’s actually more to do with aesthetic balance on the clock face.


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