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The Elegance of Roman Numeral Dial Markings Continues to Captivate

By Amanda Evans    |   4 minute read

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Dial marking across both men’s and women’s timepieces vary with the most prevalent markings being batons, Arabic or Roman numerals on either a plain or diamond set dial. Over the last five years we have observed the most consistent choices throughout our customer’s buyer behaviour to conclude which are the most favoured markings.

Within men’s timepieces, batons retain their evident popularity, perhaps due to their clarity and minimalist appearance. This is perfect for sports style watches where an uncluttered dial is crucial for legibility and safety. Although baton dials are also desirable amongst women’s watches and present an understated look, we see Arabic and Roman numerals used frequently, with Roman numerals seeing a steady increase in popularity across the years to become the most sought-after dial marking next to diamonds. With Roman numerals being the preference of luxury brands such as Rolex and Cartier, this could reflect elevated aspirations and a movement towards these brands. Of course, this is merely speculation but such is the preference of Roman numerals by Cartier, that the luxury brand has adopted it as a signature dial execution.

Our Senior Buyer, Lisa Broun, and International Senior Buyer Faye Soteri, share some key pieces that illustrate Roman numeral dial markings on timepieces that we have seen from some of our luxury brands.

TUDOR Royal Date

Refined aesthetics and uncompromising affordability…

The TUDOR Royal range is a collection of automatic sports-chic watches with integrated bracelets. The name ‘Royal’ was first used by TUDOR in the 1950s to indicate the superior quality of its watches. Underpinned by this heritage, the TUDOR Royal Date presents uncompromising affordability.

The distinct notched bezel is a recognised characteristic of the TUDOR Royal, and the dial, featured here in blue, radiates the sunray motif from the centre. With appliqued Roman numeral hour markers and a date window, this elegant timepiece harnesses refined aesthetics and cutting-edge performance.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos Classic

Iconic elegance for the home…

The Atmos clock was fashioned back in 1928. This revolutionary clock is powered by variations in temperature which cause the mixture of gases within the sealed chamber to expand and contract and consequently power the mechanism of the clock without any human intervention. It comes as no surprise that this iconic, high precision collection has been the official gift of the Swiss Federation for many years.

The complexity of the perpetual movement can be viewed from all angles within the rhodium plated brass cabinet and the grey-lacquered dial is an execution of timeless elegance with its vivid blue Roman numeral hour markers.

Cartier Santos De Cartier

Where beauty and precision harmonise effortlessly…

With exposed flat-headed screws and a square design that revolutionised watchmaking, the Santos de Cartier is an iconic watch that has inspired numerous reinterpretations.

Powered by Cartier’s 1847 MC automatic movement, the aesthetic attention to detail is simply superb. The steel case with interchangeable bracelet enables the wearer to switch between a steel or calfskin bracelet according to preference or occasion. The 7-sided crown is set with a faceted synthetic spinel and the silvered opaline dial features the signature blued-steel sword-shaped hands. As with many Cartier watches, the hours are marked with Roman numerals, enhancing the elegance of the watch. The Roman numerals themselves have become a signature feature of Cartier with many Cartier watches, including the Santos, incorporating a secret signature of the word ‘CARTIER’ spelt out in clear text, within either the 10 o’clock or 7 o’clock Roman numeral markers.

Longines DolceVita 20mm Stainless Steel Ladies Watch

Vintage-inspired elegance…

Launched in 1997, the DolceVita collection from Longines is a contemporary collection inspired by classic Italian style.

This 20mm watch with stainless steel case and bracelet is powered by a Calibre L178 Quartz movement. Delicate in its form, yet water resistant to 30 metres, it features a vintage-inspired silver dial with painted Roman numerals and blue steel hands.

Longines DolceVita 21mm Ladies Watch

Timeless elegance with contemporary detail…

This 21mm watch from the Longines DolceVita collection features the signature rectangular silhouette with the addition of eye-catching contemporary details.

Presented on a two-tone bracelet and water resistant to 30 metres, the stainless-steel case hosts a unique dial featuring a detailed wave-like pattern and bold Roman numerals.

Longines DolceVita 27mm Ladies Watch

Effortlessly elegant…

The typical rectangular silhouette reflects the beauty of the Italian lifestyle in this 27mm stainless steel case.

The steel case hosts an automatic movement, water resistant to 30 metres. The sophisticated silver-tone dial features blue steel hands, a date display window at 6 o’clock and elegant Roman numeral hour markers. The elegant black Alligator leather strap presents comfort and sophistication, and a bold alternative to some of the bracelet designs.

Blancpain Villeret Quantieme Complet GMT

Timeless elegance anchored in tradition…

The Blancpain Villeret collection is the most classical of all the collections. Named after the village of Blancpain’s birth, the models preserve the emblematic aesthetic codes and remain firmly anchored in tradition. The collection has been subtly reinterpreted over time, embracing contemporary aesthetics whilst maintaining the attachment to traditional watchmaking values.

The Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet GMT 6676-1127-55B is an ode to complications. Housing a self-winding automatic movement with complete calendar and moon phase complication, double time-zone complication and an impressive 72-hour power reserve. The 40mm double stepped stainless steel case is presented on a black Alligator leather strap secured with a deployment clasp. The sapphire crystal glass shields the crisp white dial with its minimalist silver-tone Roman numeral hour markers that echo its timeless elegance.

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