Why Are Watch Palms Set to 10_10 in Photos_

Welcome to Additional Particulars, a recurring column the place we examine what function an oft-overlooked product aspect really serves. For this installment: the explanation watches are set a sure means in images.

In commercials and even lots of the extra professional-looking photographs on the likes of Instagram, you will reliably discover watch arms set to 10:10, or thereabouts. When you’ve by no means seen this earlier than, you will not be capable of unsee it now (go forward, browse our watch archives). In case you have seen it, you may need puzzled: why?

Does it have some cryptic which means or sensible function? Is the Illuminati exchanging coded messages someway associated to Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man? Many watches are, in reality, stuffed with little cues and deep-cut references of many varieties that may solely be acknowledged by hardcore collectors or skilled watchmakers. Setting the arms to 10:10 in footage, nevertheless, shouldn’t be certainly one of them.


Enter: science. Whereas it is not some kind of conspiracy, a 2017 research printed in Frontiers in Psychology does counsel the opportunity of subliminal shopper manipulation.

The speculation was that the ten:10 hand setting would produce a pareidolic impact — in different phrases, the mind’s tendency to see patterns or shapes the place there are none. Seeing faces is an particularly frequent and acquainted instance of this phenomenon, and you have little question skilled it your self. On this case, the arms’ upturned form was postulated to resemble a smile, leading to constructive reactions and elevated “intention to purchase.”

The research reported to bear out the speculation that the form was related to a smile, and furthermore confirmed the impact to be stronger amongst girls than males. Impartial (11:30) and “unhappy face” (8:20) hand settings confirmed no impact on take a look at individuals. (Sure, mother and father, that is the place your tuition {dollars} are going.)

Perhaps it additionally explains the recognition of so-called “panda dial” watches or chronographs on the whole, with their eye-like subdials. Perhaps.

DIY Watch Membership

Symmetry and aesthetics

However I do not purchase it. I do not actually see the smiley face nor a robust argument that that is the origin of the ten:10 setting’s recognition.

Symmetry is a much more believable cause. The ten:10 hand place merely lends the watch’s face — and the entire image — a extra pleasing visible stability. The V form frames the brand, which is often underneath 12 o’clock, and it attracts the attention downward in a pure means. The arms in any outdated random place can look messy and truly be a little bit distracting in a photograph.

Watch corporations and watch photographers have lengthy been doing this with none perception from psychology college students (although, curiously, it solely grew to become frequent in watch advertisements across the Nineteen Fifties, in response to Hodinkee). I prefer to take a watch picture myself, occasionally, and if I would like it to look extra polished (like for a evaluation) I am going to usually set the arms to 10:10 — and I am not doing so so as to promote any watches.

To be exact, most watches are set to simply earlier than 10:10, like 10:08 or so. That is in order that the minute hand would not overlap with the two o’clock index, permitting you to see each the hand and and the index clearly. When you see a smiley face and that helps watch corporations transfer marginally extra product, nicely, that is a bonus.

There are not any conspiracies or deep mysteries of the human thoughts in watch advertisements, simply the unassailable reasoning: as a result of it seems to be good.

Different watch settings for images

Why not set the arms to 1:50? The rationale 10:10 is extra preferrred is that it helps stability different parts on the dial, most sometimes the seconds hand and date show. You may discover that seconds arms are often positioned on the 9 o’clock aspect of the dial so as to compensate for the longer minute hand — to not point out the frequent 3 o’clock positioning of date shows. The purpose is for stability quite than strict symmetry as a result of a watch dial isn’t going to be completely symmetrical, anyway.

What in regards to the date? Although far much less standardized than 10:10, the eighth is a well-liked date for a lot of watch manufacturers. Sure, it is naturally symmetrical, however it additionally would not harm that 8 is taken into account a fortunate quantity within the massively essential Chinese language market.


Many manufacturers have standardized settings for publicity photographs: Seiko seconds arms are often set to round 47 seconds the place usually lengthy counterweights do not obscure some other dial parts; it usually units its date to Monday, the sixth. Rolex likes Monday, the twenty sixth. Oris units its watches to 7:53:07 (primarily the usual hand positions, however switched). Parmigiani promotional photographs set the arms to reference the time its founder was born: 7:08am, December 2, 1950 — visible stability be damned.

We have principally been speaking about analog watches, however does the identical apply to digital shows? Casio supplies constantly present its digital watches set to June 30, 10:58:50. No one is aware of precisely why, however it’s a fairly good wager that it merely seems to be balanced and helps showcase the watch’s options.