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Friday 26th August 2016
Max 25°C | Min 18°C

Why is 4 on clocks written IIII?


I need an horologist. The Roman Numeral for four is IV, so why is it displayed on a clock as IIII?
Cameron, Harrow (Aged X)


** Definitive **
Name: Keith, West End
Qualification: I'm a horologist!
Answer: The dial dates back to King Louis XIV of France. It's purely aesthetic reasons, because it looks good. If you start at 12 and go to 4 o'clock, all the bars are ones. If you go from 5 o'clock to 8 o'clock, they are all Vs and from 9 to 12, they are all Xs. So the clock is split into three sections. It looked unbalanced with IV as four.