Ever wondered why the default time on all promotional photos of the Apple Watch is 10:09?
Oh, you never noticed, did you?
Here, take a look!
See? The time in every single photo of the Apple Watch is 10:09.
Now, let’s go back to wondering why they chose this specific time so that I can dazzle you with some useless trivia you can show off to your friends over a couple of drinks.
Turns out, it’s a long-standing tradition among mechanical watch makers, who’d generally set the time between 10:08 and 10:11. The practice was introduced by the Hamilton Watch Company in the 1920’s, after which it was adopted by Rolex.
What’s the reason, you may ask. Well, it’s not whim, eccentricity or superstition. In fact, there’s a clever bit of marketing and consumer psychology at play here.
As you may know, all watch companies place their name and logo directly below 12 on the face of the watch. Positioning the hands at 10 and 2 helps frame the logo symmetrically. It also prevents other information, such as the date (usually placed near 3 or 9), from being obscured. Furthermore, setting the time to 10:10, or thereabouts, lends a friendly, even jovial, appearance to the watch.
What’s this got to do with the Apple Watch?
According to Johnny Ive, an essential step to designing the Apple Watch was a deep study of horology – the art of making clocks and watches. They even invited watch historians to speak at Cupertino. And although the Apple Watch is nothing like a traditional watch, it was crafted with deference to the art of traditional time-keeping.
Knowing all this, I can’t help but assume that in setting the time to 10:09 on all their promotional photos of the watch, Apple is saluting the unwritten law that bound watchmakers around the world. And the sentimental fool that I am, I quite like this gesture. It won’t persuade me to buy the Apple Watch, but I do respect the nod they’ve given to the time-honored art of watchmaking.