Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dialing by the Numbers: Times New Roman times XII




Do you have a wristwatch with Roman numerals marking the hours?  Have you wondered about the variety of font styles available for a dial designer to use for the markings?  Actually, with our word processing and graphics programs today, it’s easy to select a font style for Roman numerals to use on dials  since they can be created using letters (e.g. “I,” “V,” “X”).

One of the typical conventions that you’ll find on dials with Roman numerals is the use of “IIII” instead of “IV” to mark the fourth hour.  Although there are wonderful speculations in the horology community about why this is done, the most sensible one seems to be for reasons of optical symmetry. All numerals on a dial’s face are in balance with each other except for four and eight if they are expressed as “IV” and “VIII.”  “VIII” becomes the heavy weight to the lighter weight “IV.” To restore a pleasing, facial balance, “IIII” becomes the solution.  
  
Since I use Microsoft WORD 2010, I’ve selected eleven other fonts along with Times New Roman to demonstrate a small selection of possible Roman numeral dial “eye candy.”  As you can see, some are much more visually digestible than others! 

Times New Roman:  I, II, III, IIII, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII.
  
Ar Blanca:  I, II, III, IIII, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII.  

Ar Cena:  I, II, III, IIII, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII. 

Blackadder ITC:  I, II, III, IIII, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII.
   
Book Antiqua:  I, II, III, IIII, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII.

Castellar:  I, II, III, IIII, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII.
   
French Script:  I, II, III, IIII, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII.
  
Informal Roman:  I, II, III, IIII, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII. 

Lucida Calligraphy: I, II, III, IIII, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII. 
  
Niagara Engraved: I, II, III, IIII, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII.  

Veranda:  I, II, III, IIII, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII

Vladimir Script:  I, II, III, IIII, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII.  

If you are really a font aficionado, check out Da Font which has over 23,600 of them!

Do you have a favorite Roman numeral font or a photo of a wristwatch face with Roman numerals you’d like to share?  If so, send it along as a comment.