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Face Off: Arabic Numerals Vs. Roman Numerals, The (Roman) Empire Strikes Back | Quill & Pad

Face Off: Arabic Numerals Vs. Roman Numerals, The (Roman) Empire Strikes Back | Quill & Pad

When Rome fell on its knees in the fourth century, India met people’s high expectations and gave the world what the Roman numeral framework didn’t: the number zero!

Gauging the raw potential in the zero’s simplicity, Arab scholars and mathematicians sent India’s zero to their finishing school, making it full and healthy before presenting it to Europe. And in a matter of moments, the Roman numeral framework based on the decimal foundation was decimated, making the youthful and happening Arabic numeral framework the new overall number representation standard.

Even in Rome today, a digital watch doesn’t welcome you in Roman numerals, which is a bit of a slap in the face thinking about how long the Roman numeral framework was the accepted standard before the Arabic numeral framework allured the world with its zero.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Alarm Travel Time Reference 5520P with fulsome, radiant Arabic numerals

Even however both numeral frameworks are the offspring of gradual advancement and inspiration from preceding civilizations, Roman numerals kept the accounts straight and fiducial through their definitive stems (the vertical/diagonal strokes of letters), which held in them a ceremonial design of maturity and transcendent gracefulness — as if arranged by a higher power.

The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 25th Anniversary Edition Reference 191.066 gracefully combines Roman and Arabic numerals

When something needs to stand the trial of time or hold a light down the uncertain passages of history, Roman numerals take precedence. That is the reason, despite its commercial defunctness, the Roman numeral framework has experienced a resurgence in architecture, literature, art, ecclesiastical endeavors, and anything that is designated to last for generations.

Meanwhile, the revolutionary and more neat Arabic numeral framework was chosen as the ambassador for timekeeping in watches gave to individuals from the armies, navies, and air forces during the important wars at that point drastically changing the world map.

That features exactly how genuine the Arabic numeral framework is.

The splendid, radiant dial with Arabic numerals of the F.P. Journe Élégante in titanium

Unlike its Roman counterpart, the Arabic numeral framework is worked for extraordinary functionality. Its characteristic dishes (the shut, adjusted part of a character), descenders (the portion of a character that drops beneath the imaginary horizontal line on which the character sits), counters (the negative space inside a character that is open toward one side), and apertures (negative space in almost shut characters) bear declaration to its Terminator-like specific target: to read a clock without any strings attached.

The Arabic is a numeral framework without a soul. That is the reason in World War I and II the ones who put their necks on the line were given pocket and wristwatches with Arabic numerals, while the attendants who kept an eye on their injuries were given watches with Roman numerals.

The original Arabic numeral font created for Hermès on 2017’s L’Heure Impatiente

The current world would collapse without Arabic numerals. Similarly as Steve Jobs persuaded the smartphone generation that the human eye couldn’t recognize a higher goal than 300 DPI, with its sexy pouts, bends, and drops Arabic numerals have earned the confidence of the world for doing math and telling time.

In the summum bonum pursuit of pushing the envelope in haute horlogerie, watchmakers, apart from being entangled in their customary wheels-inside wheels configuration process, have one more abhorrent choice to make: regardless of whether to go with Arabic or Roman numerals – or perhaps even contemporary time markers like hashes, spots, and even nothing.

Schwarz Etienne’s Fiji Floral Seconds with one prominent Arabic numeral and 10 exquisite applied teardrop-shaped markers

Unlike the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (C.O.S.C.), the official Swiss chronometer-testing foundation that tests the precision of chronometers in Switzerland, there is no official authority to figure out what watch dial or numeral framework displays time most efficiently.

Perhaps it is time we had such an organization. Or on the other hand, perhaps, not. It is what is within that matters, right?

On the one finish of the spectrum, the technological habitat that we have breast fed ourselves into has defamed the primordial concept of a wristwatch, while on the other think-spectacularly-out-of-the-case spectrum we have watches like the HL Sphere and the Skull from path-breaking top of the line watchmakers Hautlence and HYT redefining the fundamental definitions of a watch’s purpose and function.

Jaquet Droz Grand Seconde Skelet-One in red gold

Jaquet Droz’s latest tagline, found with regards to its advanced Skelet-One , puts it aptly: “A few watches read a clock, some tell a story.”

It is no uncertainty that Roman numerals are blue-nosed egotists that many cradled in the epoch of digital renaissance absolutely love to hate – to the point that they would prefer to have their wrists cut off than sport watches bearing these good old numbers.

The fact that Roman numerals can add value to something that you in any case cannot add value to not just makes it an invaluable numeral framework, it also makes your precious second invaluable.

It is certifiably not a unilateral insinuation that Arabic numerals are bad or automated or callous. If anything, Arabic numerals are the new wine in the numeral framework, preordained to improve with age.

The Jean Daniel Nicolas Two-Minute Tourbillon by Mr. Daniel Roth sports classic Roman numerals as it ought to (photo kindness Guy Lucas de Peslouan)

We have to consider the fact that Roman numerals have been in presence any longer than Arabic numerals, and as such they will undoubtedly have an air of rarity and edification that can come uniquely with time.

That is the reason it is so easy for Roman numerals to be roman-spasm. Yet, that doesn’t mean the infectious charisma of Arabic numerals and their overwhelmingly idealistic stature for everyday unexceptional and extraordinary uses can be overlooked.

Hublot’s Big Bang One Click Rainbow would look completely different (and unwell) with Roman numerals

While the Roman numeral framework is based on class and lineage, the Arabic numeral framework is based on a combatant sass to attract the masses of all ages.

It is simple. If you want functionality, and it is durability you look for, you would put your hard-earned cash on a G-Shock rather than having your heart put resources into a Jacob & Co Astronomia Tourbillon.

Jacob & Co Astronomia Baguette

I am not saying that you have to wear the Astronomia Tourbillon to a special occasion, as wearing that watch itself is an astronomical occasion, yet I will put it all on the line to say this: it is smarter to wear your not-so-favorite watch with Roman numerals on significant occasions than your favorite watch with Arabic numerals. Roman numerals mark history.

Armin Strom Dual Time Resonance Sapphire: the ultimate special occasion watch

The Arabic numeral framework is the populists’ way of polishing the earth, while the Roman numeral framework is the connoisseur’s way of sparkling the moon. Take your pick. Be that as it may, for me all roads lead to Rome.

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