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If you're thinking it says IIII instead of IV, that is very common for Roman numerals on a clock.

Apparently a result of a King deciding that IV didn't look right. I forget which one - might have been Henry V but I'll have to look it up.

EDIT: Nah it was that frenchie Loius.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_numerals#IIII_on_clocks
 

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If you're thinking it says IIII instead of IV, that is very common for Roman numerals on a clock.

Apparently a result of a King deciding that IV didn't look right. I forget which one - might have been Henry V but I'll have to look it up.

EDIT: Nah it was that frenchie Loius.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_numerals#IIII_on_clocks
Really, I didn't know that. That seems strange to me, but I did just find this. Thanks for the information.

Kem

"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
 

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I've seen it often and occasionally wondered about it when I had nothing better to think about.
 
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Well Prop. That statement puts a couple hundred thousands of us in our place. I am rushing out now to find this "wiki article clock". I don't want to be one of "those people".

Just where are these clocks sold?
 

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IIII is how the Romans themselves wrote it. Many of the conventions for Roman numerals are actually fairly modern, using the I before another number to indicate "one less than" is one of them. The Romans also wrote 9 as VIIII.
 

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I have a grandfather clock with the IIII instead of the IV. Being taught at school that IV was 4 still makes me prefer that way to IIII.



Rosewood with German clock movement.

Here's one more different. A French watch with Chinese Zodiac signs, this year it's the Year of the Dragon, symbolised by the characters at the 5th position.

 
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