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Science & Technology

It's 10:10. Do You Know What Time That Is?


It's been about two weeks since Apple announced it was entering the watch industry. CEO Tim Cook slyly unveiled the new Apple Watch.


TIM COOK: We have one more thing.



And while others pick apart the new watch's features, we were intrigued by something we read on the news website Quartz about the design of the ads. Say, you open a magazine, and you see a glossy picture of this new watch. It says the time is 10:09, and that is no random time. Apple is joining a long history of watch ad design.

GIORGIO GALLI: Well, usually it's 10:09, but it could be 10:10, 10:11. But it's always around 10:10 - you know, those numbers, and it's been always like this for a hundred years, basically.

BLOCK: That's Giorgio Galli. He's design director for Timex. Rolex does it, too. So do Fossil, Citizen, Bell and Ross, Omega, but why?

SIEGEL: Well, Galli says, it's about symmetry. Picture 10:10 on a clock. The hour and minute hands form a wide V. Some say, watches are set this way in ads because it looks like a smiley face. But Galli says...

GALLI: No. For me, it's just the best way to see the entire look of the dial in the best way. So it's not really a smiley face.

BLOCK: So it's not really a smiley face, Galli says. He has been in the watch design business for more than 20 years. And even before he knew about the industry standard, 10:09 is the time he drew.

GALLI: It actually came naturally. When - the first time I designed a dial, I positioned the hand in that position, just even without knowing that it's supposed to be in that position.

SIEGEL: And that intuitive design, Galli says, has become watch advertising tradition.

GALLI: The watch industry is made out of small details, you know. So every detail really counts a lot.

SIEGEL: Right down to the second. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.