Is it just a coincidence that most ads and product photos for clocks and watches show the time at 10:10? Not so. Clock makers have good reasons for positioning the hands at 10:10. There are four:
1. The Happy Clock
It’s instinctive to be attracted to things that make us happy. That’s why people would rather see a smiling face instead of a frowning one. And so it is that at the time of 10:10, the hands on the face of a clock bring to mind the smiling face of a person. Of course, when we see the 10:10 time, we don’t say to ourselves “this clock is smiling at me and it feels good,” but we’re likely to get the cue sub-consciously. And because feelings play such a big part in our buying decisions, many clock makers follow the same unwritten rule, and that is: photograph the hands at 10:10 to make the timepiece look happy.
The happy-photo-rule has not always been the norm in the clock industry. Just check some vintage print ads on websites like www.adclassix.com and www.vintageadbrowser.com, and you’ll find that during the 1920’s and 30’s, clocks and watches were almost exclusively set at 8:20. But during the two decades that followed, consensus had it that the downward pointing hands at 8:20 were undesirable as they resembled a frown, and eventually the 8:20 position for photo ops passed out of favor in clock ads.
At the 10:10 position, the dial clock hands create a perfect visual symmetry; one hand points to ten o’clock and the other to two o’clock, putting both at the same angle. Clock makers know that the human brain tends to appreciate symmetry and orderliness and that the 10:10 setting in their ads makes their timepieces that much more appealing.
3. Logo placement
The perfect center spot on the clock face, just under the 12, is an ideal place for the manufacturer’s logo. And with the hands at the 10:10 setting, the logo is clearly visible and nicely framed.
When the hands are placed at 10:10, extra features such as date windows or secondary dials, are clearly visible.
Now the next time you see a clock ad and the hands at 10:10, you’ll know why.
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