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Thread: So close to ordering a Stowa Marine Original, but I have questions. Help?

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  1. #11
    Member MarkieB's Avatar
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    Re: So close to ordering a Stowa Marine Original, but I have questions. Help?

    The use of Roman numerals is anything but pretentious, it's Arabic numbers that are pretentious: Originally the numbers on a clock dial were etched into a metal plate and filled with black wax to aid legibility. As you can imagine it's far easier to hand-etch a series of straight lines than it is fancy numbers. Further, straight lines are far easier to keep uniform giving better legibility and is more pleasing on the eye.

    Arabic numbers came to the forefront with the introduction of hand-painted dials (mainly on Longcase clocks) as this gave the dial artists freedom to show their skills and as anyone can paint straight lines, the Arabic number became a representation of skill. And with skill comes price, and the higher the price the more pretentious.

    Therefore Roman numerals hark back to the simple days when tools were simpler and flowing details much harder to achieve. So anything but pretentious and more about simplicity and form.
    Last edited by MarkieB; 5 Days Ago at 01:10.
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  2. #12
    Member soaking.fused's Avatar
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    Re: So close to ordering a Stowa Marine Original, but I have questions. Help?

    Quote Originally Posted by AFG08 View Post
    It does wear on the large size for a 41mm but as I recall it's not overpowering. I once owned the MO with Roman numerals. I had thought about that watch for months before ordering but once I got it I regretted it. The Roman numerals just seemed too dressy for my tastes. I now own a very similar watch, a Tourby Marine silver with Arabic numerals and I like it much better. Check out Tourby if you haven't , they make a very nice watch and I am very happy with the quality of mine.
    Stowa is great though. If you are concerned about size, look at the 40 mm Marine automatic.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Keen advice.

    Found the MO Roman the same when I owned one. Beautiful watch. Had purchased the MA on the same order back in 2013 (just before the logo change) for my father and I still remember unboxing and loving both. Still do.

  3. #13
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    Re: So close to ordering a Stowa Marine Original, but I have questions. Help?

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkieB View Post
    The use of Roman numerals is anything but pretentious, it's Arabic numbers that are pretentious: Originally the numbers on a clock dial were etched into a metal plate and filled with black wax to aid legibility. As you can imagine it's far easier to hand-etch a series of straight lines than it is fancy numbers. Further, straight lines are far easier to keep uniform giving better legibility and is more pleasing on the eye.

    Arabic numbers came to the forefront with the introduction of hand-painted dials (mainly on Longcase clocks) as this gave the dial artists freedom to show their skills and as anyone can paint straight lines, the Arabic number became a representation of skill. And with skill comes price, and the higher the price the more pretentious.

    Therefore Roman numerals hark back to the simple days when tools were simpler and flowing details much harder to achieve. So anything but pretentious and more about simplicity and form.
    If Arabic numbers are applied instead of painted, I would be all over it, even if that means it will cost more! Another thing about the current Arabic numbers that I don't really fancy is the font; I wish the font style is not as bold as the current one. Make it lighter/thinner then it would be perfect for me! My $0.02

  4. #14
    Member Iandk's Avatar
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    Re: So close to ordering a Stowa Marine Original, but I have questions. Help?

    Quote Originally Posted by commanche View Post
    If Arabic numbers are applied instead of painted, I would be all over it, even if that means it will cost more! Another thing about the current Arabic numbers that I don't really fancy is the font; I wish the font style is not as bold as the current one. Make it lighter/thinner then it would be perfect for me! My $0.02
    Given that the MO almost completely reproduces the design of the Stowa marine observeration watch from the 1940's, the font is likely one set out to meet particular German government standards for legibility at that time. I think the bold, functional look is fitting for what the original watch was designed for, if perhaps too conspicuous for some modern aesthetic tastes. Some of the offerings from Tourby and Dornblueth have a similar look with a thinner font, albeit at a different price.
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  5. #15
    Moderator at Large stuffler,mike's Avatar
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    Re: So close to ordering a Stowa Marine Original, but I have questions. Help?

    Talking about the font and why it is the way it is.....

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    Last edited by stuffler,mike; 4 Days Ago at 14:11.
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  6. #16
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    Re: So close to ordering a Stowa Marine Original, but I have questions. Help?

    ^Food for thought indeed!

  7. #17
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    Re: So close to ordering a Stowa Marine Original, but I have questions. Help?

    Thank you all for the additional insight, and to you saxon007, for the Speedy/Mo comparison photo. It was just what I needed in order to proceed comfortably. The Roman numeral discussion here was particularly informative. I tried but couldn't find the post in which someone called Roman numerals pretentious. It took me by surprise when I read it though because until then, the thought had never even entered my mind. As things stand at the moment, I am vacillating between the Roman numeral and the Arabic numbered dials. I like the Arabics for the authenticity with regard to the original, but I like the look of the Romans too. Maybe I'll toss a coin. It is said that at the moment the coin is in the air, your true wish becomes perfectly clear.

  8. #18
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    Re: So close to ordering a Stowa Marine Original, but I have questions. Help?

    Quote Originally Posted by P. Ortiz View Post
    I like the Arabics for the authenticity with regard to the original, but I like the look of the Romans too.
    If you are referring to authenticity with regards to the original Stowa models on which the MO is based, that's perfectly understandable. If you're referring to marine watches in general however, I don't think you can call roman numerals on a marine dial inauthentic? I'm no expert, but I read somewhere that early marine watches commonly used roman numerals, and that Arabic numerals on such watches only came into their own in the thirties or thereabouts. If this is the case, this would mean that romans are also historically accurate for marine watches (and as alluded to by MarkieB would then be anything but pretentious; they would simply hark back to an earlier period). Perhaps some of the forum gurus could provide some enlightenment?

  9. #19
    Moderator at Large stuffler,mike's Avatar
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    Re: So close to ordering a Stowa Marine Original, but I have questions. Help?

    You are right, Marine chronometers featured roman numerals as well. Here's the proof

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    Last edited by stuffler,mike; 3 Days Ago at 13:34.
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  10. #20
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    Re: So close to ordering a Stowa Marine Original, but I have questions. Help?

    Ugh! Just when I thought I had this sorted out in my mind!

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