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03/26/2024
 4 minutes

Affordable Gems: Audemars Piguet Watches Under $10,000

By Aaron Voyles
Audemars Piguet Watches Under $10,000

Audemars Piguet Watches Under $10,000

At the top of every watch collector’s list of must-haves lie three revered brands, the holy trinity of watchmaking: Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet. Given these watchmakers’ esteemed craftsmanship, iconic designs, exceptional engineering, and incredible brand cachet, one would be excused for assuming these watches demand exorbitant prices on the secondary market. In truth, they usually do, but bargains can be found if you know where to look. We’re shining a light on some of the cheaper watches from Audemars Piguet that we think offer the brand’s quintessential elegance, luxury, and craftsmanship, all within a $10,000 budget. Let’s get started.

Vintage Tank-Style Dress Watches

While the brand may be better known today for the Royal Oak and its related collections like the Offshore and Concept, there was a time when AP exclusively produced dress watches. One style of dress watch that is plentiful on the vintage Audemars Piguet market is a rectangular dress watch similar to the Cartier Tank, but with an avant-garde twist that spices them up a tad.

A wristwatch with an extremely rare case design by Audemars Piguet.
A wristwatch with a rare case design by Audemars Piguet.

Housed in small rectangular precious metal cases – which are very much in vogue at the moment – paired with unique and interesting dials, and powered by finely-finished mechanical movements, these watches offer exceptional value for money at anywhere from $300 to $5,000. While they usually top out at around 23 mm wide and 30 mm long – the same size as a Cartier Tank – they make for wonderfully wearable delights for anyone who can look beyond their slightly more petite silhouette and appreciate the vintage aesthetic.

These watches are nice examples of the breadth of AP’s design language. If you delve into the world of quartz, you have even more, and cheaper, options to choose from.

Skeleton ref. 5214

Much more rare than a vintage Tank-style watch is the Skeleton ref. 5214. Famed for their expertise in open-working, as it’s called in the biz, Audemars Piguet’s skeletonized models span all of their collections and are some of their most popular timepieces. This ref. 5214 offers exceptional value thanks to its high level of craftsmanship and esteem within AP’s catalog. While it is small at 32 mm, it benefits from long lugs that ensure it fills the wrist more than one might expect at first glance.

Classic Day-Date “Owl” ref. 25574

The first of our stand-alone collections from AP with more affordable pricing on the secondary market is the Classic Day-Date ref. 25574. Priced from $6,000 to $9,000, these traditional dress watches feature a 33-mm stepped 18K gold case with an enamel dial and case-matching dial furniture. Powered by an automatic movement, the ref. 25574 combines AP’s vintage dress watch styling with modern technology, making it a perfectly legitimate daily wearer.

The Classic Day-Date “Owl” ref. 25574 is a traditional dress watch and a perfect daily wearer.
The Classic Day-Date “Owl” ref. 25574 is a traditional dress watch with daily wearer potential.

Thin and functional, the Owl, as it is known thanks to its eye-like subdials, has enjoyed a rise in popularity over the last 12 months or so, especially as watches continue to shrink – you could be ahead of the trend with this one.

Classic Day-Date Moonphase ref. 25589

Sibling to the ref. 25574, the Classic Day-Date Moonphase ref. 25589 is another good value vintage offering from AP that provides even greater complexity in an equally svelte 33-mm 18K gold case. However, the addition of a moon phase complication does mean the ref. 25589 will set you back around $9,000 to $10,000, but it’s worth the money if you want to go for the whole hog and explore what Audemars Piguet is all about.

Breathtaking: The Classic Day-Date Moonphase ref. 25589
Breathtaking: the Classic Day-Date Moonphase ref. 25589

Edward Piguet ref. 15015

Named after one of AP’s founders (as you might have guessed), the Edward Piguet collection brings a touch of modernity to the same Tank-style rectangular cases that we examined before; this time with softer lines, a rounded shape that wraps around the wrist, guilloché dials, and somewhat modern automatic movements. Given that they hail from around the 1990s, the watches are also significantly larger than more historic rectangular models, coming in at around 27 x 45 mm. Of course, this all comes at a price – literally.

Edward Piguet ref. 15015
Edward Piguet ref. 15015

Available for around $9,000+ in 18K white gold, the ref. 15015BC is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a large neo-vintage AP dress watch without breaking the bank.

Huitième Chronograph ref. 25644

Finishing off our list of cheap Audemars Piguet watches is the most expensive model of them all, but it still remains just shy of our $10,000 budget: the Huitième Chronograph. A slightly eclectic precious metal dress-watch-style chronograph (a time-only version is also available), this model boasts a large 40-mm case and unique double-stepped bezel that together ensure the Huitième Chronograph wears with an exceptional level of modernity.

It slightly exceeds the budget of $ 10,000: the Audemars Piguet Huitième Chronograph
It pushes the $10,000 budget: the Audemars Piguet Huitième Chronograph

Powered by an automatic movement and boasting a date window positioned beneath a cyclops lens, the ref. 25644 is unlike a lot of other APs, but that’s what makes it so fun. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the ref. 25644 has enjoyed a steady increase in popularity over the last year, so it’s unlikely to feature in lists like this one in the not-too-distant future – and for good reason!

The Allure of Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet watches are more than time-telling devices; they carry centuries of historical legacy, iconic design, and artistic craftsmanship, but they don’t have to come with eye-wateringly high prices. Sure, if you want to spend the money on a vintage tropical dial Royal Oak ref. 5402, you certainly can, but there are also a large number of AP models that are readily available for less than $10,000. All you have to do is look beyond the typical model names and references and dive down the Audemars Piguet rabbit hole to find them. And if you do take the leap, you’ll be surprised with what is out there for the taking.


About the Author

Aaron Voyles

I love everything about watchmaking, from the artistry of their design to the engineering hidden within their movements and the history that breathes life into their stories.

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