I guess since I founded ThePuristS, which is the forebear of PuristSPro, it falls on me to answer your "historical" questions.
ThePuristS.com , as a "community site," was launched on May 30, 2001, with AP as its first brand forum. At that time, there were no dedicated AP (or VC) forums on the net or elsewhere, I had good relationships with the brand(s) since I had been a supporter of the brands since the 1970's, and with their blessing (specifically AP) I launched the first, independent, but brand recognized online discussion forum dedicated to AP. At the same time, our Wine and Food Forum (WFED, pronounced Well Fed) was launched to cover my other lifelong passion, pairings of great wine and great food, hopefully without the intimidating snootiness and "attitude."
The site was successful, and we grew into one of the largest (and some would argue best, but that's not for me to say, other than that I am proud of what it became) sites of its kind in the world, but the burden of running the large and ever-growing site proved to be too much for me to underwrite and manage, even with a wonderful team of volunteer moderators (with deepest, sincere thanks!)
Thus, in 2006, after more than a year of exploring possibilities for viability and self-sustainability (our problem was not "too little traffic" but too much! especially give our standards for content, quality of participation, etc.) PuristSPro.com was spun off, with new principals, new capitalization, and a new management team. All moderators are now compensated (with, at this point, one exception) but none are selected if their only interest is to be paid, personal aggrandisement, or to have access to whatever perks one may think come with a "recognized role" within the industry. First and foremost, all moderators must exhibit a genuine love and passion for the subject, and a commitment to the community. My hats off to the great moderator team, which continues to grow and evolve...
How the brands were selected for having their own dedicated brand forums - this is a complex "secret sauce" formula, and involve a number of internal and external considerations, including, but hardly limited to,
a. whether we have a REAL (not self-proclaimed, not "gee, I like the brand, even if I know nothing about it, let me see if I can leverage that into free watches and press access") interest, even expertise, in the brand, among our moderator team (or among the general community, with a potential for solid moderatorship) who can be a brand champion, even if not a blinded fanboy (please, NOT a blinded brand fanboy!)
b. whether we could do as good, or better, a job as already available on the net and elsewhere; I didn't believe in reinventing the wheel or doing something already being done, better, by someone else.
c. whether we had good access and relations to the brand such that, even without explicit support or recognition from the brand, there was reliable, and mutually respectful, access and dialog with the most senior levels of the company, as well as field and regional offices.
d. whether we (in the earliest days, basically I) had any real passion or respect for the brand, regardless of whether they were already recognized or established, as a brand, in the minds of the general public. In this case, I really took a chance with Jaquet-Droz and Harry Winston, and their success today as watch brands is a vindication of sorts for those who thought I had lost my mind to support those brands even when they were dismissed by enthusiasts as "what? jewelry brands on ThePuristS?!?"
And many, many other considerations.
Today, the balance of considerations and exact decision making process is slightly different, understandably, and decided by the executive team, rather than by me individually, of PuristSPro, but I hope the basic underlying standards of excellence remain the same.
IWC did not, and to my knowledge, to this day, does not, meet some of the more important, to us, administrative considerations to have their own brand forum. It had nothing to do, in the past, with the quality of their products or the merits and legitimacy of their history. Certainly on these two counts I have the utmost respect for them as a brand, and in fact, we are quite friendly with the regional offices and even up to their executive offices in Schaffhausen. But as mentioned above, explicitly or by reference, there are a number of reasons that make it nonsensical to have an IWC forum here, at this time; I hope these factors will change at some time in the future.
Welcome to PuristSPro, Mo, and if you like AP (which remains on the old ThePuristS.com platform and is still personally moderated by me, as the original and founding brand forum for ThePuristS - afterall, even though the kids grow up and move out and into their own world and lives, they don't have to kill or disown their parents - be sure to check out the AP forum (linked by the drop down menus at the top, under the A-M brand alphabetic tab, or from ThePuristS.com homepage)
Thanks for your interest and for asking!
By the way, even though IWC doesn't have its own dedicated brand forum on PuristSPro, doesn't mean it can't be discussed on HoMe! IWC (or any other brand without its own brand forum here) are happily and easily accomodated here. Who knows, if enough IWC threads appear, regularly enough, on HoMe, with solid participation from the general community, it might justify us revisiting the issue.
As it is, though we get somewhat regular "requests" or questions about IWC and a dedicated forum, we notice that they are far from regular or well supported enough to justify a change in our decision. Remember, actually RUNNING and justifying a dedicated forum is vastly different from wishing for one, passively...