Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Frequently Asked Question. . . Answered

As a marketer & photographer of watches I often get asked the question:

"Why is the time always set to 10:10 on all watch ads?"

The simple answer is "Because it looks good."

Why it looks good though is getting to the heart of the question. All the watch manufacturers photograph their watches this way but I don't know if there has ever been extensive focus group research or if that is just the way it has always been done. I did come across a brief article that attempted to trace the history of it among watch manufacturers.

So I'm not sure that there are any definitive answers but here are some of the more popular answers according to (which it identifies 10:08 as being the magical number):

  • The form of the hands has a positive effect on the viewer: the short hand pointing at 10 o'clock and the long hand pointing at 8 minutes is reminiscent of a check mark, which commonly means "ok" or "fine." Some observers further identify this appearance with a smiley face.

  • The position of the hands does not obscure the date on watches with a date-function at 3 o'clock or any other functions at 9 or 3 o'clock.

  • The position of the hands does not obscure the company logo, which is often printed under 12 o'clock.

  • The hands are nearly symmetrically balanced on the face of the dial at 10:08. The minute hand is 48° right of vertical, while the hour hand is 56° left of vertical. Exact symmetry would be achieved at 10:09:13.8. Other symmetrical times would not meet the needs above.

  • If a rectangle is drawn inside the circle touching where the hands are pointing the this will approximate the Golden rectangle which has been proven to be pleasing to the eye. Note: this is not exact and can be off by a few percent.

  • At 10 o'clock in the morning, the day is young. There is still time to accomplish many things.

  • 10 o'clock is the time at which people typically wake up if they are able to sleep in. 10:08 is thus associated with weekend, leisure and relaxation.