Thanks for the clarification.
I guess I'm still left with a question, though: what is "better"? Stronger, faster, more reliable, ...?
In my experience, good custom wheels can be stronger - but I've had custom wheels from very highly regarded builders that gave nothing but trouble, and I've had stock wheels from (I'm ashamed to admit) Performance that apparently are going to last forever.
Faster? I dunno. I doubt that a wheel built by hand from top-quality components is going to be any faster than a wheel built by machine with the same parts (assuming such a thing exists). I'm also completely unimpressed by things like ceramic bearings and carbon spokes. I've seen convincing evidence that those bits make zero on-road difference to times/speeds, and the only contrary evidence I've come across has been so obviously biased and/or unscientific as to be laughable.
And the "..." part? Sure. If folks want to drop big dollars on wheels because they think they look cool or the builder is a personal friend or because that's what was used to win the Tour last year, then more power to them, right?