Why Is 10:10 The Default Time Set On Clocks?

As anyone who has ever purchased an analog alarm clock, watch, or timepiece has likely noticed, the time is most often set to 10:10 as a default. There are many explanations for why that's the case, according to Mental Floss. None of the most common theories, though, actually prove to be true. The real reason clocks and watches are displayed like that is actually pretty straightforward. Nevertheless, once you learn the true story, you'll never look at a clock face the same way again.

First off, some say that 10:10 is when both Presidents Kennedy and Lincoln were shot. Others claim 10:10 is when the inventor of clocks and watches died. Other theories postulate 10:10 is when the Allies dropped atomic bombs on Japan in World War II, or even that it resembles the "V for Victory" salute from that era. But per Ethos Watches, the real reason why is something far simpler than that.

It's a frown upside down

The benefits of displaying a clock or watch set to 10:10 have even been studied by science, according to a paper published on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Scholars wanted to find out if there was a psychological response when timepieces were viewed with their hands set to that position, particularly in advertisements. What the study revealed is that 10:10 is the default simply because it looks best.

But the aesthetics of a clock or watch set to 10:10 is multifaceted, as Mental Floss reports. When a clock is set to 10:10 the hands can be seen clearly, and it creates some nice symmetry. Furthermore, logos and other important details on the face of the clock won't typically be obscured. More than anything, though, what researchers found out is that clocks set to 10:10 simply just look "happier" — or like the clock is smiling — and that has a quantifiable effect on consumers.