Their criteria was just marketing.
Here's my proposed criteria NOT in order:
- Brand history for horological contribution in advancing time keeping (whether electronic or mechanical, more weight to the latter)
- International brand recognition
- Quality of materials used
- Level of workmanship and finish
- Reputation for consistent high quality over range
- Great after sales service
- Special history (ie Comex Sub, Speedmaster Pro, 50 Fathoms, etc)
Rule is they must still exist and sell watches and sell a significant amount of watches. That is, not boutique brands like Bathys or UTS.
Given these criteria, if a non watch lover asked me which brands are considered better or how brands rank, this is the list I've built up so far.
1. Audemers Piguet, JLC (Jaeger LeCoultre), Patek, A. Lange & Sohne
2. Vintage Rare Rolex, Breguet, Ulysse Nardin, Zenith, Blancpain
3. Contemporary Rolex, Omega, IWC
4. Fortis, Cartier, Grand Seiko, Breitling, Doxa, Hublot, Chopard
5. Ebel, Panerai, Sinn, Graham, Longines, Baume et Mercier, Bell & Ross, Tag Heuer
6. Oris, Hamilton, Tissot, Ball, Bulova
7. Orient, Seiko, Casio, Marathon, Swatch, Suunto, Timex
8. Citizen, Victorinox
9. Bulgari, Movado, Skagen
10. Wenger, Invicta
11. All the Fashion Watches (Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein, Nixon, etc)