Ever wonder why timepieces always look so happy? And is it just a coincidence that most watch ads that we see feature the hands set at exactly 10:10? In case you hadn’t noticed, just turn to the second or third page of the NY Times (or most magazines) and there you will see more than just a couple of happy watches, just sitting there, in their square little advertising space, with a big smile on each of their faces. It’s actually rather funny because they all look the same way, exactly posed. The answer, as told to me by one with an even more discerning eye for design than I is actually quite simple.
The 10:10 (ie. ten to or after ten) is an aesthetic. And has, over time (sorry, that was a slip of the tongue) proven over the years to be the most effective marketing idea for watch manufacturers. Retailers worldwide all began to watch (couldn’t refrain) what was happening and began to use this universal sales technique to sell their own goods and, as often happens in life, what started out as a phenomenon, quickly became the norm. Selling a smiling hour keeper was made easier by just opening the hands on the face so their brand name was easier to read, front and center. and according to Timex “…the standard setting used to be 8:20, but this made the face look like it was frowning. To make the products look “happier, the setting was flipped into a smile”.
And that is all the time I am going to spend on this one.
Here are a few of some new classic & happy faces that I purchased this summer. I cheated just a wee bit when taking these photos, and posed them using the very same 10/10 aesthetic. And you know what? I’d buy each of them again.