Because the clocks show 10:10 in the ads

When you look at advertisements for wristwatches in magazines, on billboards in cities or on the Internet, it is easy to see that traditional ones with dials and hands mean 10:10 in most cases. This is an aspect that usually gets little attention, but it has been a common practice for some time among sales promoters at watch companies. In fact, the idea that this arrangement of hands gives more meaning to the brand of a watch and generally creates more symmetry, an element appreciated by customers on a subconscious level, is known and widely shared and respected.

10:10 is thus considered the standard time in watch advertisements, mainly for marketing reasons, although various urban myths have been circulating over the years, especially in the United States: that it was e.g. a way to commemorate the deaths of famous people in American History like Abraham Lincoln. John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Martin Luther King (none of them died at 10:10, however). Other versions mention the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima (which, however, took place at 08:15) or the atomic bomb on Nagasaki (which took place at 11:02) during World War II.

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In addition to getting more aesthetics and emphasizing the branding that is usually engraved under the 12th dial, choosing to set the hour hand to 10 and the minute hand to 2 avoids overlapping and thus appreciates. appetizers. It is also a suitable choice to show more clearly each decorative element placed on the dial at 3, 6 and 9. “It’s kind of an unwritten rule everyone understands, shooting of watches stopped at 10:10”, confirmed in 2008 by Andrew Block, vice president an executive at US luxury watch company Tourneau, talks with New York Times.

Before 10:10 a.m. became the common standard, starting in the 1940s, 8:20 a.m. was the most common time in advertisements for watches from the 1920s and 1930s: it respected the symmetry criterion and also allowed it not to cover important parts on the clock face. However, several marketing studies conducted by watch companies showed a more favorable predisposition of customers to models of watches stopped at 10:10. It was a time with the same advantages as 08:20 but in addition it made a kind of stylized smile as they said New York Times both Susanne Hurni, marketing manager of the Swiss luxury watch company Ulysse Nardin, and Klaus Peter Mager, spokesman for the Swiss company Swatch.

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In 2017, a group of researchers from the departments of psychiatry and neuropsychiatry at the University of Tübingen and other institutes in Germany, Egypt and the United States published in a scientific journal Limits in psychology the results of a study involving 46 people placed in front of the images of watches. The photos, sixty in all, showed different clocks with fixed times at 10:10, 08:20 and 11:30.

The first experiment was to ask participants both to rate their emotional response to seeing each of these watches in a photo and to indicate the likelihood of buying each watch. The results showed a clear preference of participants for watches with the time set to 10:10, both in terms of emotional response and willingness to buy, especially in the female sample (because the research group associated this with the results of other studies that show a greater ability of women to recognize facial expressions related to with emotions).

Two Rolex watches on display at Baselworld 2013, one of the world’s leading watch markets, in Basel, Switzerland on March 13, 2012 (The Image Gate / Getty Images)

In the second experiment, the research group explicitly asked the participants to rate to what extent setting the time on the clocks in the photos each time outlines the facial expression on a scale of 1 to 10. The similarity between clocks with hands set to 10:10 and a smiley face, and between clocks clues at 08:20 and a sad face.

Although the sample size is limited, the study supported the hypothesis suggested by the watch company research. The research team found that using a time setting similar to a smiling face can positively influence the emotional response of observers and their subconscious judgment of the clock without people having to realize that setting the time is causing it. effect.

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Not all companies choose to show their watches precisely stopped at 10:10 in advertisements: there are exceptions, usually related to the desire to stand out from other companies and be recognizable. 10:09:36, for example, is the default time for timex watches from the American company, even for digital models: thus, the 36 seconds hand does not obstruct any other element located low and the central dial. The watches are shipped and have a set time already to save batteries and allow sellers to display them immediately in the windows, he explained to the representative New York Times Adam Gurian, president of the company.

Finally, Apple’s choice to show 10:09 as the default time on their Apple Watch is also known, which some interpret as a way of saying the company is always ahead of its time and competition in the smartwatch market. .

apple watch

Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about Apple Watch at an event in Cupertino, California, March 21, 2016 (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

In the past, long before the launch of smartwatches, many customers and fans of Apple’s products talked about the company’s choice to report 09:42 on the iPhone screen during a presentation. In that case, as Apple’s current vice president of marketing, Bob Borcher, said, confirming one of the different theories that had emerged among fans – the timing was the exact time that the first iPhone was unveiled by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in 2007.

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