Why Are Watch Hands Always Placed at 10:10 in Watch Advertisements?

Watch enthusiasts are extremely passionate about watches and notice and scrutinize every little aspect of a luxury watch. One thing that a true watch enthusiast picks up on is how the hands of a watch are always set to 10:10 in an advertisement. There are many rumors as to why watch brands do this, some make more sense than others.

  • One rumor that has circulated has been that the watch hands are placed at 10:10 because that was the time Abraham Lincoln died. However, Lincoln was actually shot at 10:15 pm and died the next morning at 7:00 am.
  • Another story states that the hands read 10:10 in honor of victims of the atomic bomb that was dropped in Japan. However, neither of the atomic bombs were dropped at 10:10, which disputes this theory.

However, the most realistic and practical reason as to why the hands are placed at 10:10 is for aesthetic purposes. When the hands read 10:10, the hands to do not overlap and can be viewed in their entirety. Also, if a watch has a date or any subdials, they are most likely located at 3, 6, or 9. If the hands read 10:10, then they will not cover up any of these complications. The hands at 10:10 also frame the brand name that is most likely stamped beneath 12 o’clock. It also provides more symmetry, which many people find to be more aesthetically pleasing in an advertisement. Plus, many people feel that it gives the illusion of a smiling face. Who doesn’t love a smile? So, although this reason is not nearly as exciting as the other rumors, this seems to be the most logical.

George Clooney OMEGA

The hands on this OMEGA watch read about 10:08. The hands are placed at this time so that they do not cover anything on the dial.


As I am sure some of you have noticed, Rolex watches in Rolex advertisements are usually set to 10:10:31. With the placement of these hands, the arms frame the Rolex logo, the date window is not obstructed, and all subdials are in plain view.

Rolex Ad W Magazine

Rolex Ad W Magazine


We decided to test out this theory with some of the different watches we have recently purchased. We placed the hands on each watch at 10:10 and then photographed the watch.

OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean

The date window on this OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean is easily visible because it is not blocked by the hands of the watch.

TAG Heuer Monaco

The sub-dials on this TAG Heuer Monaco are not obstructed by the hands that are placed at 10:10.

Ulysse Nardin Ulysse Chronometer

The two subdials as well as the logo on this Ulysse Nardin watch are easily seen because the watch hands read 10:10.

Rolex Air-King

The Rolex logo and crown on this Rolex Air-King are framed by the placement of the hands that read 10:10.


What do you think? Do you think that 10:10 is the best placement of the hands?


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