Roman numerals are mostly reserved these days for movie sequels and Super Bowls, but they can still add a hint of

elegant classicism to a watch dial, as in the five timepieces we showcase here.

BLANCPAIN VILLERET ULTRAPLATE

Blancpain’s Villeret series, named for the Swiss village where the manufacture was founded in 1735, is distinguished by

classical design elements of earlier eras. The three-hand-date version of the Ultraplate embodies this historically

inspired aesthetic with its double-stepped bezel; hollowed-out, sage-leaf-shaped hands; central seconds hand with “JB”

counterweight (evoking the initials of founder Jean-Jacques Blancpain); and also applied Roman numerals at each hour

position on the blue sunray dial. Its 40-mm, 18K rose-gold case is just 8.7 mm thick and also its sapphire caeeback

affords a view of the movement, Blancpain’s self-winding Caliber 1151, whose notable features include two series-

coupled barrels, storing an impressive 100-hour power reserve, and an engraved gold rotor with a honeycomb motif.

Price: $19,400 on leather strap, $38,900 on Milanese-style gold bracelet

When in Rome: Five Watches with Roman Numeral Dials
Blancpain Villeret Ultraplate 6651-3640-MMB – bracelet

BREGUET MARINE 5517

Combining a sporty aesthetic with Breguet’s legendary luxurious detailing, the gold-cased models from

the maison’s maritime-inspired Marine collection are mounted on bracelets that have been designed to continue the

smooth lines of the case and also caress the curves of the wrist. Like the cases, notable for their fluted sides, sculpted

lugs and fluted flanks, the bracelets are also enhanced with alternating polished and satin-glossed facets. The engine-

turned dials have crested-wave patterns that also add to their nautical character; applied Roman hour numerals with

luminous five-minute markers; and faceted, moon-tipped hands with polished finishing. Seafaring visual motifs are also

found on the movements (self-winding Caliber 777A in the three-hand-date version pictured), like the special côtes de

Genève on the bridges echoing the look of a ship’s wooden deck, and also the rotor, shaped like a ship’s steering wheel. Price: $49,100.

MONTBLANC STAR LEGACY AUTOMATIC DATE

Montblanc describes its Star Legacy family as inspired by “the spirit of classical watchmaking,” with recent updates to

the contemporary line featuring historical details echoing those on early watches by Minerva, the

Swiss manufacture that the penmaker-watchmaker acquired in 2009. The Star Legacy Automatic Date also has a

pebble-shaped stainless steel case offered in two sizes — 39 mm and 42 mm, each water-resistant to 30 meters and

also sporting an onion-style fluted crown — and dials with vintage-inspired, black-printed Roman hour numerals and a

subtle date window at 6 o’clock. The dial’s blued hands harmonize with the watch’s blue sfumato leather straps, made

at Montblanc’s own pellleteria in Florence, Italy. Inside, beating behind a sapphire caseback is the Sellita-based,

automatic Montblanc Caliber MB 24.10, which also stores a 42-hour power reserve. Price: $2,675.

Montblanc Star Legacy Automatic - angle
Montblanc Star Legacy Automatic – angle

SEIKO PRESAGE ARITA PORCELAIN DIAL LIMITED EDITION

Designed to visually showcase the Japanese tradition of Suigetsu, a celebration of the beauty of the moon reflected in

water, this artisanal model from Seiko’s Presage collection of automatic dress watches uses Arita porcelain for its

delicate white dial. The material also takes its name from a small town in southwest Japan that has been renowned as a

porcelain producer for more than 400 years. The special process used also to make the dial finishes with a clear glaze

that enhances its natural whiteness, intended to evoke the moon’s watery reflection, which provides a sharp contrast

with the bright blue of the hands, the Roman hour numerals, and also the subdials at 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock, which

display the analog date the status of the 45-hour power reserve, respectively. Seiko’s high-performance, automatic

Caliber 6R27 is also on display behind the watch’s exhibition caseback. Price: $2.050, limited edition of 2,000 pieces.

When in Rome: Five Watches with Roman Numeral Dials

CARTIER BALLON BLEU DE CARTIER

Roman numerals have long been a staple of many of Cartier’s most iconic and also enduring models, like

the Tank and Santos. A more recent addition to the portfolio is the Ballon Bleu, a luxurious timepiece named for the

hallmark blue sapphire cabochon in its crown, which is also guarded by a gracefully curved arch. For this year’s Ballon

Bleu timepieces, the King of Jewelers introduced a new 40-mm case size in a variety of materials and also colorways,

including the rose-gold model pictured. Like their predecessors, the watches host a ring of Roman numeral hour

markers bordering a railtrack-inspired minute circle, an oval-shaped date window at 3 o’clock, and also the Cartier-

signature blued sword hands. However, the watch contains the Cartier manufacture Caliber 1847 MC, (the numeral

represents the year of Cartier’s founding), which features anti-magnetic nickel phosphorus components and also a 40-hour power reserve. Price: $15,100.

When in Rome: Five Watches with Roman Numeral Dials

By Victoria E.I

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