Why Arabic Numerals?

 

To learn a language is to learn the world from a different perspective. You see the world through a different lens. It gives you an understanding of a culture, its people, and it paints a picture of where societies came from and where they may be going next.

 

Today, the Arabic language is spoken by over 300 million people around the world. It’s the official language of 22 countries and it’s one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

 

English, Spanish, Italian, German, Croatian, Hebrew, Persian, Malay, Portuguese, and many other languages have all been influenced by Arabic and use many words derived from the Arabic language. From around the 8th century until the 14th century, Arabic was the lingua franca of the world. The most important educational centers of the world used Arabic as their language, writing books on math, science, astronomy, medicine, arts, and other topics in the Arabic language. It was a hub of innovation and education that drew people from around the world to learn and take back home, to benefit their own countries and societies.

 

Some people relate to the Arabic language through culture and society. Some relate to it through religion or a language learned. Others may have traveled through Arabic speaking societies and built an appreciation for it first-hand. And many of us still benefit from the progress and innovation of a once-Arabic centric world, building on what we’ve learned and using it a stepping stone to move forward.

 

North Accent began with a mission to show how bringing together different cultures & societies can inspire innovative ideas and create cultural revolutions. We take Arabic-script numbers and combine it with modern and minimalist style wristwatches as a representation of bringing worlds together, paying ode to one of the most influential languages in world history.

 

Here are a few times in which the meeting of two different created revolutions and helped shaped the world we live in today.

 

- The world’s favourite drink: coffee. It actually comes from the Arabic word ‘kahwa’. Though some say its origins are East Africa, it was certainly popularized in Arab lands and introduced to the rest of the world through Europe by the Arabs. (Weinberg, Bennett Alan; Bealer, Bonnie K. (2001). The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular Drug)

- The first ever secular university established was in Fez, Morocco by Fatima al-Firhi. It was the basis and structure for all modern-day universities, granting degrees and teaching a variety of streams. It’s currently the longest standing and currently operating university in the world. (Encyclopedia Britannica, Ranker)

- Modern chemistry and medicine were sourced directly from Arabic texts from over 1000 years ago. One of the most important medical works to be translated was a book by Ibn-Sina, who was known by name ‘Avicenna’ is Europe, called The Canon of Medicine (1025). It was translated into Latin and then disseminated in manuscript and printed form throughout Europe. It remained a standard medical textbook in Europe until the early modern period, and during the 15th and 16th centuries alone, The Canon of Medicine was published more than thirty-five times.(Eric John Holmyard, Alchemy, pp.134-135)

- Modern math and algebra were brought to the world from Arabic texts written by Al-Khwarizmi. Most early algebra works in Europe in fact recognized that the first algebra works in that continent were translations of the work of al-Khwärizmï and other authors.(Katz, Victor J., ed. (2007), The mathematics of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, India, and Islam: a sourcebook, Princeton University Press)

- The Book of Optics was an Arabic text by Ibn Al-Haytham, the first to propose the modern intromission theory. It’s also noted for its early use of the scientific method, its description of the camera obscura, and its formulation of Alhazen's problem. The book extensively affected the development of optics, physics and mathematics in Europe between the 13th and 17th centuries. Smith, A. Mark, ed. (2001), Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society.

- Excavations and digging in London revealed artifacts with Arabic inscriptions dating back to earlier 1200-1300, showing the trade of luxury goods and arts between Arabia and Europe.

- Renaissance Europe’s experience of one of the largest technological transfers in world history, acquiring methods of new growing crops and maximizing on farming, came from the teaching of the Arab world and the Orients. "History of Europe". Britannica.

 

Great things happen when ideas come together. And our collection of Arabic-numeral wristwatches are our small contribution to fashion and to the world.

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