During the lockdown, I bought a couple of Tissot watches, online, from Watches of Switzerland. Ironically, both had Milanese straps, both used the ETA 2834, and both were - exactly £299. Sapphire glass back and front, applied batons, enamel dials (One coBalt blue, one silver).
As you say, Hamilton - or Tissot - are more obvious comparators to Gevril than Omega, and if you choose carefully (TKMaxx also often has good online prices on both Hamilton and Tissot - and you can have a good laugh at the TKMaxx Swan and Edgar prices while you browse), then you can have either for a great deal less than Crawley was implying.
I just feel so sorry for anyone taken in by the IW brands into trying to build a collection. Most of their brands’ output, I would expect, won’t make it past their first service. That is, of course, if you can find anyone willing to service them.
Aside from anything else, they need a good waterproofing to survive the Peter Simon spluttering and spitting treatment!
TKmaxx are good for finding an odd good watch bargain, I picked up my Eterna 1939 reissue from them, was only £499.
Yeah totally agree, Hamilton, Tissot, Certina etc are all fairer comparisons to make, but i've noticed they do that all the time, they always try, or say they're not really comparing but, they always mention high end luxury watches, they never mention or compare with the everyday Swiss brands or even the cheaper ones like Wenger, Mondaine etc.