Here’s the news from the Luxury Institute:

The Luxury Institute reported today the top-rated luxury watch brands in
the 2009 Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) survey, which identifies the
top brands that exhibit true luxury in numerous categories based solely
on the independently verified ratings of wealthy and ultra-wealthy
consumers.

Ultra-high net-worth consumers rated IWC the “Best of the Best” among 33
luxury watch brands. IWC is the top-ranking brand for three out of four
components of the LBSI. IWC also swept highest scores as the luxury watch
brand that wealthy consumers consider to be most worthy of a price premium
and are most willing to recommend. Consumers who rated IWC number one
described the brand as “rare and exceptional,” “the standard” and having
“unique design and classic looks.”

The LBSI asks high net-worth consumers to rate luxury brands by category
across four equally weighted components: Consistently Superior Quality,
Uniqueness and Exclusivity, Making the Customer Feel Special across the
entire experience and Being Consumed by People Who Are Admired and
Respected.

The “Best of the Best” are: (LBSI score out of 10)

— Luxury Watches
— IWC-7.87
— Patek Philippe-7.65
— Vacheron Constantin-7.52

“In the U.S., IWC is a luxury brand that stands out beyond their
product history, great design, quality and craftsmanship,” said Milton
Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. “It is a brand that seeks to create
seamless customer journeys while other brands struggle to deliver
disconnected customer experiences. It is a brand that cares deeply about
customer feedback and is among a few luxury brands that have active
collector communities. At a time when many luxury brands are having
identity crises in the midst of an economic crisis, IWC knows exactly who
they are, what they offer, and who they serve. They are a true 21st
century luxury brand, as rated by the ultimate brand constituents:
consumers. Additionally, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin are
consistently rated among the top luxury watches by ultra-wealthy
consumers. The ability of these brands to be rated so highly year after
year makes them brands that deliver the luxury value consumers look for
universally.”

The proprietary Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) survey is the only
unbiased measure of the prestige of leading brands among wealthy and
ultra-wealthy Americans. A national sample of 1,013 ultra-wealthy
American consumers, with minimum investable assets of $2.0 million, and
median investable assets of $4.1 million, was surveyed online. Survey
results are weighted to match demographic and net-worth profiles of the
same audience according to the latest Survey of Consumer Finances from
The Federal Reserve.