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I'm curious why Apple uses the 10:09 time as a default when changing your Apple Watch face. I've seen this even in their marketing content. Is it the best time to be displayed for marketing purposes? Because it's somewhat symmetrical? The date stays consistent to the day.

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This is a solid style convention about clocks in advertising

It serves to both:

  1. Show company logo (usually on the top of the watchface) clearly and
  2. Create a psychological feeling that the clock is "smiling" (\ /) rather than sad (/ \) or on another meaningless position.

There's also this very good article on The New York times covering the issue


It can also have a golden rectangle-related effect

MONZINGO further says that the aproximation with the Golden Rectangle also helps the visual appeal (altough he also says that the 8:18, or "sad face", is also close to the golden ratio).

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    Other interesting article: mentalfloss.com/article/22461/… – dr01 Apr 18 '16 at 10:24
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    14:50 is also used for the same reasons – Andrew Martin Apr 18 '16 at 15:58
  • @AndrewMartin, interesting, but something made me feel unease about this arm position – CliveL Apr 18 '16 at 17:39
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Through history, the advertising convention for time in clocks was 10:10. Nobody disputed that, in any case some watch makers used different positions for the seconds: Rolex has a preference for 10:10:31; TAG Heuer sets its wristwatches to 10:10:37; Bell & Ross displays time at 10:10:10. Timex is one example of someone deviating from the norm: they set the time at 10:09:36.

As for Apple, there's not an official release, more like speculations:

By setting the Apple Watch to 10:09, Apple is able to pay homage to the long lineage of mechanical watches that preceded it. It's also Apple's way of declaring that the Apple Watch is, despite all of its advanced digital components, a bonafide timepiece that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as more traditional watches. From Apple's vantage point, the Apple Watch isn't a smartwatch. On the contrary, it's a modern watch that just happens to be extremely smart. The difference is subtle, yet distinctly important.

Apple has never once referred to the Apple Watch as a smartwatch. For a company as detail oriented as Apple, this is no coincidence. Apple is effectively saying that the Apple Watch doesn't belong in the same category as the Galaxy Gear (itself set to 12:45) or the lazily named Sony Smartwatch 2. The Apple Watch, Apple is telling us, is an elegantly designed device that is as much about fashion as it is about advanced technology. The Apple Watch, Apple is telling us, is a modern take on a traditional watch, not a geeky smartwatch meant for a niche audience. Setting the time on the Apple Watch to 10:09 is arguably a reflection of this mindset and underscores Apple's own understanding of what the Apple Watch is and who the intended audience is -- everyone. From: Why is time on Apple Watch promotional ads set to 10:09?


Apple has a history of choosing a display time that has some significance, famously setting the time on all of its iPhone promotional materials and images to 9:41, the approximate time of day when Steve Jobs first unveiled the iPhone to the world back in 2007.

So why 10:09 for the Apple Watch? Apple appears to be making a statement about being ahead of the curve when it comes to smartwatches, and the facts back this theory up. From: Here's why the Apple Watch always shows the time as 10:09 in advertisements


I think this is more about symmetry, about attention to detail, than about being ahead of the curve. At 10:10, the hour hand will be 1/6 of the way between the 10 and the 11 on the watch face. If the minute hand is precisely on the 2 (as it would be at 10:10), the minute and hour hands would not be symmetrical. At 10:09, the hands would be much closer to symmetrical perfection. From: Why Apple Watch shows 10:09 in all its ads

However...

As you may see, it's all speculation, the only real fact is the classic 10:10 time, where 10:09 is really close, so one could also speculate this has some marketing reasons, but it could also be (and as a matter of fact, probably is) a slight difference that tested better than 10:10

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