I have about 30 belts from different makers. There is a world of difference between a good belt, and a lesser belt. Apart from the quality of the leather, there is the quality of the edging and stitching, the design of the buckle (and I'm not talking about logo buckles), etc... This is not to mention, for jeans belts, special leather treatments, etc... There is a
Speaking to more traditional belts first, my Borrelli (retail $350) in pebble grain leather is leaps and bounds better than the Martin Dingman belt I had to pick up at Nordstroms ($89) for an emergency. The leather is visibly more supple, with better finishing. The buckle is of a better quality, the stitching more even and better considered, etc...
I have several Engineered Garments belt that was made by an English traditional maker, and the bridle leather ages to become extremely supple. A bridle leather belt made by Leather Goods Connection, which makes very decent belts, has not aged nearly as well.
Here is a picture of one of my favorite jeans's belts:http://www.contextclothing.com/item.php?id=887
The buckle is hardforged. The shape apparently does not lend itself well to a mold.
I've been doing a forum collaboration to make a jeans belt, which will feature a handforged buckle, and the cost of that alone is $38/apiece. Not to mention that we've gone through about 10 iterations of leather treatments. All of this development takes time and money.