Why Are New Watches Always Set to 10:10?

Why Are New Watches Always Set to 10:10?

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If you’ve ever bought a new watch, seen a watch commercial, or looked up a photo of a clock on Google, you’ve likely noticed that they’re almost always set to 10:10. This may leave you to wonder, why in the world do watch manufacturers all set their new watches to this specific time? 

New watches are almost always set to 10:10 for aesthetic purposes. In this position, the minute and hour hands are symmetrical, which is pleasing to the eye. Additionally, when the hands are in this position, they don’t block the brand’s logo or other clock features, such as the calendar.

In this article, I’ll go over the main reasons why new watches are almost always set to 10:10. We’ll also discuss whether or not the placement has any historical significance. Moreover, we’ll look at why Apple sets their watches to 10:09 instead! 

Reasons Why New Watches Are Usually Set to 10:10

There are four main reasons why watch manufacturers may set their watches to 10:10. I’ll discuss these in detail below. 

Makes Them Look Symmetrical

Having one hand on the 10 and the other on the 2 makes the watch look symmetrical, which is very visually pleasing. Therefore, setting a clock to 10:10 looks great in ads.

However, symmetry isn’t the only reason why setting a clock to 10:10 is visually pleasing! 

They Look Like They Are Smiling 

Another reason has to do with Pareidolia, which is the science of how people see faces in everyday objects. 

Many scientists think we evolved this trait as a survival instinct. It permitted us to quickly identify faces in our environment to determine whether they were friend or foe. Additionally, it helps us quickly identify others’ emotions to decide whether they are happy, sad, angry, etc. 

Since our brain is programmed to be so good at finding faces, it often mistakenly identifies facial features in inanimate objects, which is why we regularly see faces in our foods, household objects, cars, and more. 

Watch manufacturers were likely aware of our innate ability to find faces in inanimate objects when they decided to set their clocks to 10:10. 

You see, when you look at a clock set at 10:10, the hands form an upward v-shape, reminiscent of a smiley face. However, if you set the clock at another time, such as 8:20, it looks like the clock is frowning. 

Therefore, setting clocks at 10:10 is a way to subconsciously make the watch look friendly, resulting in more positive emotions! Pretty weird, huh? 

Shows Off the Brand’s Logo 

Many clock manufacturers put their brand’s logo in the middle-upper portion of the clock, usually right underneath the 12. 

Because of this, they often position their clock’s hands in the 10:10 position because they won’t block their logo. 

Additionally, the clock hands “frame” the logo, which draws the viewer’s eyes directly to the brand’s name, which is ideal for advertising purposes. 

Doesn’t Hide Additional Watch Features 

Many watches don’t just have hands and numbers. They also have other helpful features on their display, such as a calendar, date box, or moon cycle feature. 

Often, these additional features are located near the 3 on the clock. Therefore, when they put new watches in the 10:10 position, they don’t block these features. 

This puts all of the watch‘s features on full display so that potential watch buyers will be able to see everything it has to offer! 

Does 10:10 Have a Deeper Historical Meaning?

Some people have speculated that the real reason watches are set to 10:10 is to commemorate the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln or John F. Kennedy. 

However, Ab Lincoln was shot at approximately 10:15 PM, and John F. Kennedy was shot at 12:30 PM, so setting the clock to 10:10 to commemorate these historical figures doesn’t make sense. 

Even if historical figures have died at exactly 10:10, setting a bunch of watches to the time of their death is a strange way to honor them, don’t you think? 

So, as far as anyone knows, there’s no historical significance of setting watches to 10:10, just aesthetic ones! Sorry, Honest Abe.  

Why Does Apple Set Their Clocks to 10:09? 

Apple is one of the few companies that doesn’t set their products to 10:10. Instead, they put all of their apple watches to 10:09. 

Apple sets their clocks to 10:09 for a couple of reasons. The most practical reason is that setting watches to 10:09 actually makes them look even more symmetrical than 10:10. However, some believe that it’s Apple’s way to distinguish itself from the watchmakers of the past. 

You see, Apple is well known for its innovative products and is often seen as a trendsetter in the technological industry. 

Therefore, there are some people who believe that they set their clocks to 10:09 as a subtle way of saying, “we aren’t the same as all those other watches. We are better.” 

So basically, it’s a way to show that they respect the watchmakers of the past while also demonstrating that they’re ahead of the competition! 

While Apple hasn’t explicitly confirmed this theory, it does seem like something this young, confident company would do! However, for now, all we can do is speculate and appreciate! 


New watches are usually set to 10:10 for aesthetic reasons since it makes the clock look symmetrical. Also, the hands form a smiley face, which subconsciously makes us think the clock is good. 

Additionally, the hands don’t block any important features such as the logo or calendar while in this position. 

While some believe that watch manufacturers set their clocks at 10:10 to commemorate historical figures, there’s no evidence of this.

One of the only companies that don’t set their watches to 10:10 is Apple. They put them at 10:09 instead!