Jan 25, 2018887 views

The (maybe not-so-stupid) Question Thread


This post was inspired by one of my colleagues asking me why a watch used IIII to represent four on a dial instead of the "correct" IV.
We who have had the fortune of falling into this rabbit hole know that the world of watches has a lot of strange quirks and talking points. We also know that there is an innumerable amount of questions that can be asked, from the mundane to the overly complicated. What differentiates a column-wheel chronograph and a cam-actuated chronograph? What would anyone use a moonphase for? Why are these dang things so freaking expensive?
I feel our community is special in that it has not only a vast store of knowledge shared between the members but also a willingness to teach and learn.

So, I hereby announce with great pride "The (maybe not-so-stupid) Question Thread"! Post anything here that you'd like to learn more about or that keeps you up at night regarding watches. Also, the "maybe not-so-stupid" means that any and all questions should be treated with equal respect. Everybody started their enthusiasm somewhere. And for the most important question: why do people like watches? You have to figure that one out for yourself.

Some quick links if anyone was curious about the questions I posed myself:
Watchmaker's Four:
Column-wheel vs cam-actuated:
They look darn cool!
Duncan, Joe Hayes, and 13 others

why watches are called "calibers"
also explains the history of watch size measurement.
Awesome, I've never seen this before. Thanks for sharing!
Maybe we can end up taking some of these questions and making a Jeopardy board for silly prizes.
I have read that old yarn about using IIII for Roman numeral 4 as a way of balancing the display too many times. It does not balance the 5 and 7, or 11 and 1. I personally just believe it was local custom during the period and region of early clock making to make a Roman 4 with "IIII" and it stuck as masters taught apprentices.
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Thanks for your informed input!
AFAIK the tradition comes from actual process of making metal parts for big clocks: I II III IIII V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII so: 4xX, 4xV, 20xI a cast for VIIXIII -> used four times. That means using one mold, and no part wasted.
Question for some of you that may not know. Do you know the difference between date (or triple date), annual calendar and perpetual calendar?
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Fun fact, the annual calendar is a younger complication developed by Patek in the mid 90's (I want to say 1996?) to present a more affordable alternative to the perpetual calendar, which predates it by around 70 years.
That is a very interesting fact.
How many watches is too many?!?
Asking for a friend.
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I did a quartz clean out but to be honest there's room.in most collections for a few, I have a small watch box w 4 slots and have 3 quartz there, I had dispensed of all but 1 but quickly found having a rough and tough beater like my luminox for gym swim and yard work was more practical, and the West end watch Alexandria was too beautiful and priced too good not to buy, and that one w no seconds hand is impossible to know it's quartz, a manual wind that thin would have taken me to Piaget, I'm just not at that level yet, someday though Just saying don't write off little quartzes for good, or consider bulova moon watch chrono w their very special high frequency oscillator 😊
After reading your post I started thinking that you know what everybody needs a couple of nice quartz Plus I'll never get my money out of them what I paid for them .So, you're right a couple will be fine. I mean I did buy them 4 a reason.
What is the obsession with alligator embossed leather straps? I strongly dislike these, but they are so prevalent. Why pretend to be something else?
I believe it is just that they provide the more dressy look of a genuine alligator strap at a fraction of the cost.
If you are asking why people like the look of alligator straps as a whole; that, like so many things in this hobby, is up to personal preference.
I understand the sentiment. Obviously I have some as well, pretty much unavoidable as oem. I guess my frustration comes from the fact that,every time I look for a leather strap, I have to swim through an ocean of these dang alligator embossed ones. I find one I like, but upon closer inspection ...
Frankly, I don't have any (stupid) questions. Yet. But I'm gonna lurk around this thread and hoping that I could learn a thing or two from the questions here.
The thing about "IIII" vs "IV" actually sounds pretty interesting. Definitely going to read up on those two links you provided after this.