18 Roman Numeral-Dial Watches From Under $500 to $40,000
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18 Roman Numeral-Dial Watches From Under $500 to $40,000

In an era when the line between what is a sports watch and what is a dress watch have been blurred substantially, the presence of Roman numerals on your watch’s dial is one of the last reliable hallmarks that identify it as a timepiece meant for dressing up, not down; a watch designed with classical elegance in mind more so than robustness or even optimum legibility. Of course, Roman numerals in general are rarely encountered in most people’s modern lives, the annual naming and marketing of Super Bowls being the rare exception. Thus, watches with Roman-numeral dials are relatively rare in the horological wild as well, albeit still occupying an appealing niche embraced by many watch manufacturers as well as by an avid core of enthusiasts. Here, we’ve tracked down 18 that are on the market in 2024; as per our usual format, they’re spotlighted in ascending order of price and represent a wide range of price points.

Orient Bambino Day-Date

Price: $410, Case Size: 40.5mm, Thickness: 12.6mm, Lug to Lug: 46.5mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Crystal: Mineral, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic F6B22

Often under the radar of American watch consumers and overshadowed by its larger Japanese brethren, Citizen and Seiko (which with it shares a corporate connection through Epson), Orient has been making value-oriented watches in Japan since 1950. The Bambino, Orient’s dressy gents’ model, offers simple three-handed options and a handful of “quiet” complications, like the Bambino Day-Date. Its dial’s Roman hour numerals and railway minute track surround a pair of asymmetrically balanced subdials, a smaller one at 10 o’clock for the day of the week and a larger one at 5 o’clock with a 24-hour scale to indicate AM and PM hours. A date window at 3 o’clock and an Orient logo at 1 o’clock complement the unusual layout. The Japanese-made automatic Caliber F6B22 beats inside the steel case, storing a 40-hour power reserve.

Tissot Le Locle Powermatic 80

Price: $575, Case: 39.3mm, Thickness 9.8mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water-Resistance: 30m, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.111 

Named for the Swiss watchmaking town in which Tissot was founded (and where many other watchmakers still reside), the Tissot Le Locle is a classically elegant, automatic gentleman’s dress watch that comes in just under 40mm in size and under $600 in MSRP. Its round case has a polished finish and its dial hosts applied Roman hour numerals, swept over by leaf-shaped hands, along with a practical and unobtrusive date window at 3 o’clock. The “pyramid”-style textured finish in the center lends the watch an added layer of refinement, and the self-winding Powermatic 80 movement inside ensures that it runs reliably for 80 hours.

Bulova Classic Wilton GMT

Price: $875, Case Size: 43mm, Thickness: 12.7mm, Lug to Lug: 49.5mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Miyota 9075

Over its long history, Bulova has become well-known for offering mechanical complications at very accessible prices, and the Classic Wilton GMT, which joined the collection in 2022, is no exception. Priced under a grand, the Wilton GMT is the rare example of a “true” GMT — i.e., one with an independently adjustable local hour hand — that just about any enthusiast can afford. The watch has a brushed steel case at 43mm; a dial in either white or blue, with applied Roman numerals matching the case tone (with the notable exception of the Bulova tuning-fork icon at 12 o'clock);  a date window at 3 o’clock, and a world-map textured pattern on its surface that adds to its value proposition. The central arrow-pointed GMT hand indicates a second time zone on the bicolor 24-hour scale on the dial's flange. The automatic Japanese-made Miyota movement stores a 42-hour power reserve.

Hamilton American Classic Boulton Mechanical

Price: $945, Case size: 34.5mm x 38mm, Thickness: 11.2mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Manually wound Caliber H-50 (ETA 2801-2 base)

The quintessential American-heritage watchmaker (founded in Lancaster, PA, now based in Switzerland), Hamilton introduced its original Boulton timepiece in the 1940s, an era dominated by non-round watches and Art Deco design elements. Today part of Hamilton’s vintage-inspired American Classics series, the Boulton lives on in very period-appropriate form, with a hand-winding mechanical movement, a softly rounded rectangular case (which actually leans a bit into tonneau territory), and a dial defined by radially angled black Roman hour numerals and a railroad minute track. The leaf-shaped hands are blued and polished, the crown is knurled, and the sapphire crystal is domed to continue the curvilinear contours of the steel case. When fully wound, the movement boasts a weekend-proof power reserve of 80 hours.

Raymond Weil Toccata Gent

Price: $975, Case size: 37.25mm x 29.6mm, Thickness: 6.4mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Swiss quartz

Raymond Weil is an independent Swiss watch brand founded in 1976 and its collections take their names from the eponymous founder’s love of music and musicians. The Toccata family (from the Italian “toccare” for “touch,” referring to a composition on a stringed instrument) evokes a more elegant, lyrical era with its slim, rectangular case (in steel or two-tone steel-and-gold), clean white dial with radiating Roman hour numerals surrounding an angular minute track, a small date window at 3 o’clock, and a pair of thin Dauphine hands for the hour and minute. Slim, curving lugs fasten the case to a calf leather strap, and a grooved crown with an “RW” emblem sets the time. A Swiss quartz movement hums away inside, bringing harmonious life to this musically inspired timepiece.

Nomos Ludwig Neomatik

Price: $1,380 - $4,000, Case Sizes: 33mm/35mm/38mm/41mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic DUW 3001/Manual-wind DUW 4101/Manual-wind Alpha/Alpha.2

One of the four original product families from value-oriented Glashûtte brand Nomos, the Ludwig is an elegant, round-cased model with Roman numerals at six of the 12 hour positions, which distinguish the model from its siblings with Arabic numerals like the Tangente and Orion. As per historical tradition, Nomos uses “IIII” rather than the more traditional “IV” for the 4 o'clock hour; if you’re curious as to why both versions of this numeral are correct, click here.) The thin, recessed bezel is another decidedly vintage-style feature, as are the long, thin lugs reminiscent of the wire lugs on some of the first wristwatches. Smaller Ludwig watches run on the hand-wound Alpha and its offshoot, the Alpha.2; the largest models are Neomatiks, with the self-winding Caliber DUW 3001.

Longines DolceVita

Price: $1,775, Case size: 27.7mm x 43.8mm, Thickness: 10.1mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Longines Caliber 592

Longines has been a longtime supporter and timing partner of equestrian events worldwide, and the Swiss brand’s DolceVita watches — originally intended as a ladies’ collection, but expanded to include some more masculine sizes as well, like the Automatic model pictured — have long been associated with that heritage thanks to their understated elegance. The softly curved rectangular steel case frames a sharply designed sector dial, with printed Roman numerals around a rectangular railroad minute track, blued sword hands and a rectangular subdial for the small seconds at 6 o'clock. The self-winding ETA-based Caliber 592 does its work quietly behind a solid caseback engraved with the familiar Longines winged hourglass logo.

Tudor Royal Day-Date

Price: $2,575, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 10.6mm, Lug Width: 10mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Tudor Caliber T603 (ETA 2834-2 base)

Tudor founder Hans Wilsdorf introduced the watch that inspired the Tudor Royal way back in 1926 — predating the Oyster Prince Submariner that inspired the brand’s better known Black Bay models by decades. The Royal, which was first called by that name in 1950, is one of Tudor’s dressier watches while still fairly “sporty-chic” in its design, with its fluted stationary bezel and sunray-finish dial with Roman numeral hour markers. The largest iteration of the Tudor Royal, at 41mm, features a day-of-the-week display in an arched window at 12 o’clock and a small date aperture at 3 o’clock, a layout no doubt inspired by the original Day-Date “President” created by Tudor’s parent brand, Rolex, also featured here. The movement is the ETA-based Caliber T603, with a modest but solid 38-hour power reserve.

Frederique Constant Classic Moonphase Manufacture

Price: $3,395, Case size: 42mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Manufacture Caliber FC-712

Frederique Constant has been producing Swiss-made, complicated mechanical watches at eminently affordable prices since 1992, and the Classic Moon-Phase Manufacture — which, as its name suggests, contains an in-house-made movement — is a prime example of the Geneva-based maker’s expertise. Its dial hosts a ring of classical Roman hour numerals, hand-polished, leaf-shaped hands, and a moon-phase at 3 o’clock, balanced out by a hand-type date indicator across from it at 9 o’clock. The three-part steel case has a polished finish and includes a sapphire window in the caseback to showcase the automatic FC 712 caliber, which has an array of decorations, stores a 38-hour power reserve, and allows easy adjustments of the time, date, and moon-phase all through a single crown.

Cartier Tank Française

Price: $3,700  - $32,800, Case size: 25.7mm x 21.2mm (Small), 32mm x 27mm (Medium), 36.7mm x 30.5mm (Large); Thickness: 6.8mm (Small), 7.1mm (Medium), 10.1mm (Large), Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Quartz (Small and Medium), Automatic Caliber MC 1853 (Large)

Louis Cartier created the Tank watch in 1917, deriving its curvilinear case shape as well as its name from a French military vehicle used during World War I. The Tank, with its emblematic dial framed by rectangular-oriented Roman hour numerals, has been a coveted style object and the flagship of Cartier’s portfolio ever since. Introduced in 1996 but carrying on the spirit of some of the earliest Tank models from the 1920s, the Tank Française is distinguished by the more rectangular aspect ratio of its case compared to the squarish shape of the original Tank, its more angled and pointed lugs that extend from the brancards, and its integrated bracelet with similarly angled, pointed links. It was the first watch in the long-tenured Tank collection specifically designed to be mounted on a metal bracelet. The “Large” (men’s) version of the watch houses the Sellita-based Cartier automatic Caliber MC 1853, while the more feminine “Small” and “Medium” versions range from 25.7mm to 32mm and contain quartz movements.

Louis Erard Excellence Émail Grand Feu II

Price: $4,290, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 12.25mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Sellita Caliber SW261-1

Independent watchmaker Louis Erard plunges into the realm of artistic metiers d’art with its Excellence Émail Grand Feu II. Émail, for the non French-speakers out there, refers to enamel, not electronic communications, while grand feu (literally “big fire”) refers to the specific type of enamel used for the elegant dial, in which fine powders, one for each of the colors used in the dial’s ensemble, are fired in a kiln at 800 degrees Celsius to achieve a long-lasting brilliance; in this model, it’s the gleaming white of the dial (with Louis Erard’s signature tree-shaped hands), the bright blue of the hour markers and delicate Roman numerals, and the rich red of the 12 o’clock numeral. The steel case measures 39mm and houses an automatic Caliber from Sellita.

Blancpain Villeret Ultraplate

Price: $10,200, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 8.35mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Caliber 1150

Blancpain’s Villeret collection is named for the Swiss village where the historical manufacture was founded in 1735, and distinguished by classical design elements of earlier eras. Now comprising a large collection with a host of complicated models, the Villeret finds its most classically simple execution in the Villeret Ultraplate, notable for its elegantly thin 40mm case. This three-handed watch features all the hallmark Villeret design details: a double-stepped bezel; openworked sage-leaf-shaped hands; a central seconds hand with a “JB” counterweight (those are the initials of brand founder Jean-Jacques Blancpain); and applied Roman numerals for the hours on the sunray-finished dial. The movement, visible through a sapphire caseback, is Blancpain’s automatic Caliber 1151, whose two series-coupled barrels store an eye-opening 100-hour power reserve, and whose gold rotor is engraved with a honeycomb motif, another Villeret hallmark.

Chopard Alpine Eagle

Price: $14,800, Case Size: 41mm, Case Thickness: 9.7mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Chopard 01.01-C

Chopard’s Alpine Eagle combines the design DNA of its first sports watch, the 1970s St. Moritz, with a modern, organically textured dial motif that evokes the iris of an eagle’s eye. Other avian touches include a seconds-hand counterweight in the shape of a feather, and a multi-textured finish on the case inspired by the sun falling on snow-capped glaciers. The thick, applied Roman numerals at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock are aligned with four pairs of visible screws that add a tool-watch character to the overall luxurious package. The original Alpine Eagle was in Chopard’s proprietary Lucent steel, an alloy designed to be extra hard as well as extra brilliant. Subsequent models have used titanium or Chopard’s ethically sourced gold for their cases. The case measures 41mm and the self-winding Caliber 01.01.C inside that case is made in-house by Chopard, boasting a chronometer certification and a 60-hour power reserve.

Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Dual Time

Price: $12,000, Case Size: 44mm, Thickness: 11.4mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber UN-334

Paying tribute to Ulysse Nardin’s origins as Ulysse Nardin’s origins as a provider of chronometers to navies in the 19th and 20th centuries, the classically designed Marine Torpilleur wristwatch takes its name from a historical type of torpedo on battleships. The steel case and marine-blue dial are evocative of a vintage sea captain’s chronometer, with Roman numerals, ornate hands, and a stacked subdial arrangement. The dial on the Dual Time model pictured here has a large date in a double window at 2 o’clock, a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock, and an indicator for its traveling wearer’s home time (in 24-hour format) in a round window at 9 o’clock. User-friendly “+” and “-” pushers on the side of the polished steel case adjust the hour hand forward or backward to quickly change the local time on the hands. Ticking inside is the automatic Caliber UN-24, with a decorated gold rotor and a power reserve of 42 hours.

Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar

Price: $20,900, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 12.4mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Caliber 36-12

Glashütte Original’s Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar sports an assortment of delicately balanced displays, combining indications for the time, weekday, month, and leap-year with the German luxury watchmaker’s own meticulously engineered moon-phase display and its hallmark Panorama Date. The 42mm case has discreetly placed correctors in its sides to make easy adjustments to the weekday, month, and moon-phase displays, along with a  “universal” corrector to set or change the day, date, and month simultaneously. The steel case is water-resistant to 50 meters; the galvanic silver dial hosts blue Roman numeral hour markers and blued hands. The movement is Caliber 36-12 — the base Caliber 36, introduced in the brand’s original Senator Excellence models in 2016, with an in-house-made perpetual calendar module.

Breguet Classique Extra-Thin 5157

Price: $22,100, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 5.4mm, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Caliber 502.3

Breguet offers a timepiece that’s both notably slim in proportion and historically elegant in design with the Classique Extra-Thin 5157, here in a stainless steel execution. The case combines a modest 38mm diameter with a very slim 5.4mm thickness. Its narrow bezel frames a wide, elegantly appointed dial, with blued Breguet hands (that’s right, the brand’s founder and namesake, Abraham-Louis Breguet, invented their distinct shape), subtle black Roman numerals for the hours, and a hand-engraved hobnail guilloché pattern. The movement inside is Breguet’s manufacture Caliber 502.3, with an off-centered solid gold rotor bearing its own eye-catching guilloché finish. In addition to a host of other high-end decorations, including côtes de Genéve on the bridges and mainplate, this self-winding caliber is noteworthy for avant-garde technical details like its magnetic-resistant silicon balance spring.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date

Price: $38,500, Case Size: 40mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Rolex Caliber 3255

The Rolex Day-Date, introduced in 1956, was the first wristwatch that displayed both the date and day of the week, hence ushering in the entire day-date genre to the watch industry. The original model, in a 36mm gold Oyster case, established the classic look that still defines the collection today with a fluted bezel, Roman-numeral dial, 3 o’clock date display with “Cyclops” magnifying lens, and the day featured in a curved window at 12 o’clock. The Day-Date is also known as the “President,” a nickname that it began earning in the 1960s when President Lyndon B. Johnson wore one regularly in office; the watch is still associated with heads of state and other powerful people today. Today, two sizes of the Day-Date are available: the 36mm version that carries on the spirit of the original, and the 40mm models aimed at larger wrists (pictured in 18k yellow gold); both are equipped with the ultra-modern Rolex automatic Caliber 3255.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1

Price: $39,900, Case Size: 38.5mm, Case Height: 9.8mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Manual wound Caliber L121.1

The now-iconic Lange 1 has been the modern flagship of the reconstituted A. Lange & Söhne brand since its introduction in 1994. (The original company, founded by Ferdinand Adolphe Lange in 1845, played a major role in the rise of the watchmaking industry in Germany.) The watch, now at the heart of an entire family of complicated models, has changed little in over a quarter-century, with an off-center subdial at 9 o’clock with hours and minutes indicated on classical Roman numeral appliqués,, a small seconds subdial at 4:30, a bold Grande Date display at 2 o’clock, and an analog power-reserve indicator at 3 o’clock. Inside the understated 38.5-mm gold case,ticks the manually wound manufacture Caliber L121.1, with a 72-hour running autonomy and a host of traditional Saxon decorations.

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