"The brand is the key differentiator now, making it very much like the perfume industry."
Possibly more like the wristwatch industry?
In the days before quartz regulated watches I bought an expensive self-wind Omega Seamaster Cosmic. The need was for something that would reliably remind me of the day and date when the fog of 24/7 working descended. Good jewellers still sell the same model and year, second-hand, for about £1K.
Unfortunately it has now become too expensive to have it repaired regularly at over £200 a shot - and is reserved for rare formal "dress" occasions. A plastic electronic watch from the charity shop rummage box cost £2 - and fitting a new battery myself was cheap too.
If I have a new leather strap fitted then the jeweller sees "Omega" - and charges £25 for exactly the same strap that would be at most £10 for the plastic watch. No doubt it would probably be even cheaper to buy a new complete plastic watch.
My Omega was never as accurate as I had expected - and my cheap quartz one beats it hands down.
A firm on the Isle of Man hand-crafts very expensive mechanical wristwatches - at least an order of magnitude more expensive than an Omega. The company owner was interviewed on the radio. He said that good as they were - if you wanted accuracy over a reasonable period then a cheap quartz watch was a better bet.