As a very general statement, you can pretty much get an idea as to how long a bag will last based on the warantee it has. A 10 year bag will suffer through 7 years of abuse, a 5 year bag will last one or two, a lifetime bag will probably last a while. If I have it narrowed down to two or three bags, I always let the warantee come in to play.
My Tumi ballistic nylon luggage has held up quite well, accompanying me on a number of international trips. Before that I traveled with Delsey hard-sided luggage and it, too, served me very well on many long-haul trips.
You will find a lot of votes for Briggs & Riley. Lifetime warranty like Tumi, unlike Tumi it covers airline damage! It doesn't have the Tumi snootiness factor and costs at least 25-50% less in most cases. It's just good quality luggage.
After 2 years and several international trips, I finally had something break that needed repair - the zipper pulls broke, I think that someone clipped them to break the lock off (nothing of value inside, of course, so nothing taken). I took it to one of the two companies in Seattle that does warranty work for them, they replaced the zipper pulls in a few weeks (I told them it was no rush) and paid $15 for them to UPS ground it back to me.
I am amazed that the baggage handlers haven't destroyed my 3 suiter Zero Halliburton case. They have tried by dropping it to the tarmac many times. Only the wheels needed to be replaced on too many occasions. Otherwise it seems too secure for them to bust into!
The gold color turns many heads at the airport. Not many around!
The 4 suiter that came before is still around, but the hinges have given a little from the tarmac drops. The large size makes it easy to overpack. That makes it too heavy for easy handling by the destructive baggage crew.
IF you live into the Future as if it were the past, you will miss the JOY of the Present Moment!
I have had great service from a large, hard sided, wheeled Samsonite on many international trips. I swear by hardsided luggage. I have had everything from wine to framed artwork survive international travel when the hard side is packed well.
Tumi has done me well... One case is about 9 years old (500,000 + miles), and still has the original wheels, only the handle broke, which I fixed. Costly no doubt!, but worth it in the long run. I have tried others, and were satisfied, samsonite, eagle creek, etc. I will have to replace the samsonite sometime next year, and the eagle creek is doing okay (3 years old).
Personally I do not check bags and have not for at least 5 years. I carry Tumi when I take small domestic hops and an Eagle Creek back pack on my long international flights.
However, I worked for the airlines during college and I spent some time in the baggage service office. I have seen bags that were run over by a tug. It is not a pretty site. Briggs & Riley is the only company that I know of that will replace a bag from airline mishandling. The rest have warranties but that only covers wear and tear. Briggs & Riley have a life time warrantee for all damage.