I've read suggestions that the English brown leathers tend to look better/richer than, say, an Alden. On the other hand, I can get Aldens for ~$100 cheaper and finding a good fit on C&Js makes me nervous. *sigh*
The leather on a tan C&J Handgrade shoe will probably look richer than the leather on a tan Alden shoe, but that's not so much because of the quality of the leather (although the C&J Handgrade leather is probably better quality) as because of the finishing that C&J gives to the shoe. It's antiqued, so there are darker and lighter spots on the shoe. The effect is beautiful. The Alden shoe, however, does not come with an antiqued finish and will consequently look flatter out of the box. In time, if you take care of them, Alden shoes can acquire more dimension: I have a pair in walnut that's beautiful. C&J Handgrade shoes are higher quality than Alden shoes are. Whether they're $100 better per pair is something that you'll have to decide for yourself. FWIW, I've bought any number of shoes significantly more expensive than Alden, but my Alden shoes still form an important part in my shoe wardrobe. If you're worried about fit and you decide to buy C&J, you need to go with a source that will allow you to return them if they're not the right size. The same goes with Alden, of course, but you'll probably find more places to try Alden on than you will C&J Handgrade.