Franck Muller earns top billing among the wealthy

Franck Muller earned top honors as the most prestigious purveyor in the “ultra-luxury watches” market segment, as rated and ranked by America’s penta-millionaires (those with a household net worth of more than $5 million), according to a research firm that studies high-wealth individuals. Patek Phillipe placed second. Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, and Breguet tied for third place in a field of superstar brands.

“The results indicate that the top brands differ in perception along different dimensions of the pillars of a luxury brand, said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the New York City-based Luxury Institute, which recently released its Ultra-Luxury Watches Brand Status Index survey.

“It was a close ratings process overall, but with different winners in the individual pillars of luxury,” Pedraza added. “Patek was rated best in consistently superior quality, and as the brand that delivers the most social status. Franck Muller distinguished itself as the truly unique and exclusive brand and the brand that can make the acquirer feel special across the entire customer experience. It was also rated most worthy of a significant price premium.”

Seventeen brands were rated. They were (alphabetically): Audemars Piguet, Bedat, Blancpain, Breguet, Cartier, Franck Muller, Girard-Perregaux, Harry Winston, Hermes, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Rolex, Ulysse Nardin, Vacheron Constantin, and Van Cleef & Arpels.

The Luxury Brand Status Index measures the value and equity of leading luxury brands to wealthy Americans, based on statistical objective and independent data collected from wealthy consumers. The LBSI incorporates four main “pillars” of value: consistently superior quality, uniqueness and exclusivity, a measure of enhanced social status, and a measure of the ability of a brand to make a customer “feel special.” Seven point scale ratings are converted to a 0-100 scale. Franck Muller scored an 80 on the watch survey while Patek Phillipe scored a 79.

In addition to measuring age, gender, income and net worth segments among the wealthy, the survey measures a brand’s ability to merit a significant premium price and measures the correlation of price premium worthiness with the composite index of the four critical factors above, Pedraza said. Another metric of the research is a rating by wealthy consumers as to the brand’s erosion or enhancement over the past 12 months.

The survey measures a statistical sample of more than 400 households with a minimum of $200,000 in gross annual household income and minimum household net worth of $5 million (including home equity). Brands rated were selected with the assistance of leading industry experts including manufacturers, retailers, and journalists. The low awareness of many brands rendered them unable to be rated for lack of a statistical sample.