The higher the price bracket of the watch you buy, the greater proportion of that price is spent on intangibles like brand prestige, history, aesthetics, and so on. "What you get" in a $1500 watch vs a $500 watch is really the same as what you get in a $150 watch vs a $50 one. The watch is probably built a little better, the brand might be a little more well-known or reputable, the movement is probably slightly more reliable or advanced, and the fit, finish, and overall aesthetic appeal is probably better. 3x better? Probably not, but that's simply how it works. If function is your only concern, buy a $50 G-Shock and be done with it. But most of us who call ourselves "watch guys" believe there is a lot more to a watch than its plain functionality. Things like prestige and sentimentality may be intangible, but that does not mean they are not real.

There is plenty in the $1000-4000 range that is worthy of interest. You've got Nomos, offering entirely in-house movements produced in factories next to A. Lange & Sohne and Glashutte Original for only a tiny fraction of the price of those haute horologie manufacturers. You've got Omega, which offers the venerable Speedmaster Professional as well as new watches like the Speedmaster Racing, equipped with a modern coaxial, chronometer-certified chronograph movement with silicone hairspring. Most of Ball's watches fall in this price range, and their watches are the only luxury watches equipped with radioactive tritium tube illumination for constant luminescence. Not to mention Grand Seiko, which produces some of the finest and most accurate in-house movements in the world.

Plus there are tons of vintage pieces available in this price range, including from well-known brands like Rolex.

If you can't find something to interest you in the $1-4k range, it's certainly not for lack of options.