Factory pipes are like cars, as you go up in price you should expect a better fit and finish, and the less likelihood of a lemon but it's not guaranteed.
With an artisan pipe as you increase in price you are paying for craftsmanship, uniqueness, and should expect a high level of quality.
I recently had the chance to inspect an estate Peterson that was a pretty rare pipe. Brand new it probably cost $300, and the drilling on it was Basket Pipe quality. So just because you pay a premium price does not indicate a premium product.