Sunday, March 18, 2007

IWC Ranked Top Watch Brand In Exclusive Luxury Survey

2007 Luxury Brand Status Index(TM) Survey of Ultra Luxury Watches Places IWC Ahead of the Competition

NEW YORK, March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- In the 2007 Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) IWC was ranked as the number one luxury watch brand by affluent consumers in the US familiar with the brand. IWC was selected out of a highly competitive group including Patek Philippe, Breguet, Rolex and sister brands Vacheron Constantin and Cartier.

"This is an incredible result -- it reflects the tremendous work we have done over the past 3 years in North America," says Benoit de Clerck, President of IWC NA. "Actually, this result doesn't really surprise me considering the unique character of the brand. Our heritage, products and standard of quality separate us from our competition. Not only are we the only Swiss watch brand founded by an American but we are also the only Swiss manufacturer based in the German-speaking part of Switzerland."

As the first place winner in the overall LBSI, IWC surpassed benchmarks across all indices including quality, exclusivity, social status and self- enhancement.* In total, 80.9% of the brand familiar respondents declared that they would recommend IWC to people they care about versus a category average of 48.4%. "This astonishing figure positions IWC ahead of our competition and proves that we have a bright future ahead of us!"" adds de Clerck.

IWC has been setting standards in technological development and highly complicated precision watch-making since 1868. As the "engineers of fine watch-making," the brand solely produces men's watches. The pieces incorporate intelligent designs in a timelessly classical style and are further distinguished by their superb user friendliness. The "Probus Scafusia" seal that appears on every watch promises good, solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen and reaffirms the brands commitment to the future. Respondents in the survey noted:

"The timepieces made by IWC are secrets shared by only a very few in the world; their workmanship and quality is unquestioned, their craftsmen are artisans of time itself."
"Quite simply, it is the ultimate in a watch, not garish or gaudy. Only you and a select few will really know it costs more than a pair of Mercedes."

For the engineers at IWC, pleasure in watches is more than pleasure in the accurate time. It is enthusiasm for an amazing idea, the interplay between precision and a creative solution. Accordingly, for more than 138 years, IWC has been devoting a tick more time to watches. The collection offers both horological specialties and traditional timepieces, all of which distinguish the brand for their innovative thinking and timeless, yet understated design. In the segment of horological specialties, watch enthusiasts praise IWC for its creative engineering art in pieces such as the Grand Complication (one of the most intricate mechanical wristwatches in the world that consists of 659 micro components). Pilot's watches, Aquatimer, Portuguese and Portofino fall under the more traditional watch/timepiece category. With their sporty, yet practical design and stainless steel or titanium composition, they are the daily companions of active people.

"Overall, we are incredibly happy with the outcome of the 2007 LBSI and the increasing brand awareness of IWC. It's virtually unbelievable to realize that a brand could grow so fast in such a large and sophisticated market," concludes de Clerck.

About IWC:
For more than 138 years, IWC Schaffhausen has been producing precision products of complex functionality and outstanding user-friendliness for watch connoisseurs who expect more from their watch than just having an accurate timekeeper. Since its foundation in 1868, the International Watch Company has built up a reputation as a long-established Swiss watchmaking firm with a passion for inventions, innovative solutions and technical refinements. Today the brand is more successful than at any time in its history. IWC uses this strength in a program of corporate social responsibility initiatives at home and abroad.
About the Luxury Brand Status Index:
As the only quantifiable measure of value and equity within the luxury segment of the US market, the LBSI stakes its claim as the leading authority in this arena. The defining factor of the survey is its objective perspective on the marketplace -- all ratings are done by the consumers themselves and are independent of marketing strategies. Consumers compared IWC to other top luxury brands across a variety of key attributes in order to verify its position as the leading luxury watch brand.
About the Luxury Institute:
The Luxury Institute is the uniquely independent and impartial ratings and research institution that is the trusted and respected voice of the high net worth consumer. The Institute provides a portfolio of proprietary publications and research that guides and educates high net-worth individuals and the companies that cater to them on leading edge trends, high net worth consumer rankings and ratings of luxury brands, and best practices. Publications include the monthly Wealth Report, the Luxury Brand Status Index surveys, the Luxury Best Practices surveys, the Luxury Consumer Experience Index surveys and the Luxury Website Effectiveness Index surveys.
Luxury Brand Status Index: The LBSI is the average of the four individual indices as measured by the questions for Quality, Exclusivity, Social Status and Self-Enhancement presented on a 0-10 scale.

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