10:10 (am or pm). Matt Soniak at Mental Floss explains why 10:10 is the default setting. The arrangement of the hands is symmetrical and non-overlapping. Customers can see the manufacturer’s logo, which is framed by the hands, plus other features like a calendar window or secondary dial. And then there is this great tidbit:
According to the folks at Timex (who set their products at 10:09:36 exactly), the standard setting used to be 8:20, but this made the face look like it was frowning. To make the products look “happier,” the setting was flipped into a smile (occasionally, you’ll still see the 8:20 setting on some clocks or watches where the manufacturer’s logo is at bottom of the face above the 6).
Hat tip: Phil Maymin
Tags: default rules