Why Are Watch Hands Always at 10 and 2 in Advertisements?

Movado Watch advertisement

Have you ever noticed that watch advertisements always seem to show the hands at 10:10–that is one hand at the 10 position and the other at the 2 position? An old myth says that this is in honor of the time of day when President Lincoln was assassinated (but he was actually shot at 10:15 pm). The real reasons are readily understandable. Consider the following:

  • this is the perfect position to frame a company's logo
  • it creates the appearance that the watch is "smiling" (emotional marketing)
  • aesthetically it's the best place for the hands to reveal the face
  • it keeps the hands clear of signatures, subsidiary dials, and date windows
  • it's been the industry marketing standard since watches went mainstream in the 1920s
Categories: Movado, Swiss Watch Tips & Trivia.

Comments (9)

  1. I find this to be an interesting and fantastic phenomenon. There are however a few brands who always stray from this trend. One of them is Lange & Sohne whose hands (still point at ten and two) always say 1:51.

    I like to celebrate this great phenomenon on 10/10 each year, the day we celebrate Synchronize Watches Day.

  2. Doesn’t it also match the supposed correct driving hands position? As in, we’re used to seeing it so it looks normal for us?

  3. Yes, I use both the 10:10 or 1:50 while photographing vintage watches for my website http://www.vintagewatch.ca, mostly to show the name on the dial and details of sub-dials but I have tried other hand positions – this just seems to be what works best!

  4. that’s the first i’ve heard of the lincoln reference. and to take it to an ocd level … i actually try to take photos when my watches are unwound and at 10:09 (not 10:10). that way the hands are an exact mirror image. of course it’s not always possible to photograph your watches unwound. unless of you don’t mind waiting a couple of days.

  5. Swiss Watch Wire

    Bahama Watch Exchange – maybe we are dense but why wouldn’t the hands be an exact mirror image at 10:10 as well?

  6. they are very close. when the time is 10:10 the hour hand is actually slightly past the 10. so when the minute hand is set to the 9 minute mark, it is in the same position. if you look at most of the stock pictures from any of the big brands, you’ll see the minute hand closer to the 9 minute mark than the 10. this is hardly worth mentioning and why i said “take it to an ocd level”. lol. all the best!

  7. Richard Yew

    This position shows that the watch has a happy face and smiling at you. A happy face has a positive energy which will make you happy. When you are happy you will buy a watch.

  8. @blue_jar_mantel

    @swisswatch : most of time.. to see the branding. 2nd.. maybe cause it looks “happy”. vs. 8 and 4. frown.

  9. Pingback: Ever Wonder why hands are always at 10 and 2 in advertisements? - Watch Freeks

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