It is my happy chance I’ve had a few opportunities to hang around with few enlightened art admirers. I have applauded heartily at their taste and astuteness and tried picking up bits and pieces but they didn’t really teach me how to mould one’s taste into another. I’ve seen them praise their stuff vociferously yet look into yours (unless it’s a downright digital plebeian) with equal gusto, so ‘this?’ or ‘that?’ kinda questions – I believe – is best avoided.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a TAG Heuer or an Oris you are wearing if you have enough money and flushing some of it down the toilet (or burn it) will not make any huge difference. $1,000 to $3,500 is a very slippery range and it has plenty options to let your trust fund go astray; there are a swath of watches in that range that come with little or no merit. Some of the under-$1,000 watches wind up better in the long run; if you are paying that much, make sure you get back three times (at least) of your investment. The range is vaster and choice much easier.

After spending some time with the few abovementioned, it was clear that many in the $1,000 to $3,500 range are not timepieces of very high complications, but then again, they do not also claim to be. They are better than the fashion jewelry with moving hands or high-tech digital ones in lumpy plastic that sell under the name of dress and sporting equipment posing as serious timepieces, It’s hurting that the mass is already glassy-eyed with their garish dials and the dinner-plate sizes; some with their trendy belt straps. It’s offensive to see the trumpeting of false pedigrees and flimsy lineages; barring a few exceptions, rest use identical movements cranking inside unimaginative cases, assembled somewhere and mass-produced. Marketing and watch-making should have a balance.

So when you are buying a TAG Carrera or an Oris Classic, you are paying for the name on the dial and the esthetics; but with a Patek Calatrava or an A Lange Saxonia you are paying all it’s worth with your money. Everything from their designs to their movements are unique; if you can stick to that prime point, you won’t be taken for a ride in the $1000 to $3500 range.

One, for example, is the Seiko MarineMaster Professional 1000M Diver. Near to USD 2,000 it is superior to brands like TAG and Oris. Its movement is home-grown in Japan, inside Seiko labs. It lacks TAG’s fancy decoration (that’s an ETA, btw; found in most of the entry level Swiss luxuries though nothing wrong with it) but guess what, even the TAG cal.1887 (that which runs the Carrera) is a re-engineered Seiko 6S37. Now, that’s another story.