A fun morning tidbit for you: Some old-school watch history.
The other day, I was looking up some promotional Apple Watch photos and the watch faces caught my eye. Since the very first Apple Watch, the company has always had its default watch faces display 10:09 as the time — and I had no idea why.
So I turned to Google. Unsurprisingly, what I found was actually pretty interesting: 10:09 isn't an Easter egg release date or an Apple in-joke; it's actually a long-held tradition in mechanical watch marketing. Engadget had a pretty great deep dive on this a few years ago:
The reason behind this practice boils down to marketing, with just a dash of consumer psychology to boot.
Because a watch company's name and/or logo often resides directly underneath the 12, positioning the hands at 10 and 2 ensures that the company brand is not only visible, but framed in a symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing manner. The 10:10 time also has the added benefit of making it appear that the watch is smiling, albeit mechanically.
Now, most Apple Watch faces aren't mechanical — or even skeumorphically so — in nature, but it's not hard to believe that Apple wanted to pay tribute to watch makers of yore with a little hat tip to design. So that's why the Apple Watch faces are set to 10:09. Neat, huh?