01/25/2024
 4 minutes

Three Great Audemars Piguet Alternatives for Less

By Donato Emilio Andrioli
2-1-Top-3

Audemars Piguet is one of the most sought-after and pricey luxury watch brands. Always lusted after an AP? Wallet can’t handle the price tags? Don’t fret, I’ve picked out three great Audemars Piguet alternatives for different budgets.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
Check out these three great Audemars Piguet alternatives!

Up to $2,000: Royal Oak of the Future

When it comes to more affordable alternatives to the famous Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, a lot of fans immediately think of the Tissot PRX. It’s not that surprising, considering the relatively inexpensive all-rounder has long been an industry favorite. It’s high quality standard, popular Genta look, and sub-$1,000 price point make it a hot favorite. All that aside, I actually want to recommend a different Royal Oak alternative. While this watch is nowhere near as popular as the Tissot PRX, it has it all. I’m talking about the Formex Essence. Not only does this timepiece come in a pleasant 39-mm size, it’s also available in 43 mm, offering something for every taste and wrist size. The design of this underdog has industry-chic and futuristic vibes, making it almost like a Royal Oak from the distant future. While there may be the odd vague reference to the iconic AP watch here and there, the Formex Essence is completely its own and has very little in common with the Genta legend. This timepiece definitely looks of a certain quality, and it is. The well-made case measures just 10 mm thick and stands out with alternating polished and brushed surfaces. The band and clasp likewise shine. The absolute highlight here, however, is the watch’s sunburst dial, which features a horizontal line pattern. The dial pops and will have your eyes trailing back to it again and again. The Formex Essence is powered by the Sellita SW200, which offers top performance and even comes with COSC certification, so no need to question its accuracy. You can view the movement at work at any time, as the watch features a sapphire crystal both on its front and reverse sides. The timepiece is water-resistant to 100 m (328 ft), making it an ideal daily wearer. Priced at $1,590, the Formex Essence is massively more affordable than the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and offers a lot in terms of both technology and quality for less than $2,000.

Die Formex Essence wirkt wie eine Royal Oak aus einer fernen Zukunft
The Formex Essence looks like a Royal Oak from the future.

Under $5,000: Royal Oak Offshore, but Different

While there are plenty of attractive alternatives to the classic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, those for the Offshore variant are rather lacking. After a long search, I finally landed on one I was happy with. What do you think about the Breitling Avenger Chronograph? No, I’m not looking at the latest generation, which only recently made its debut, but rather the former model. The older watch still bears the famous winged logo, and while it admittedly has very little to do with the Genta design, if you look closely, there are certainly some parallels. At a stately 45mm, and given the subdial arrangement, the Breitling Avenger Chronograph is more similar to the AP Royal Oak than you’d initially expect. Both timepieces have a large wrist presence (to say the least) and are more beastly than your average watch. If these attributes are your cup of tea, you could probably pick any variant of the Avenger and be satisfied, but since I’ve always considered the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore to be quite an experimental watch, I’d like to focus in on the “Night Mission” variant of the Breitling Avenger. With its lightweight, black titanium case and Arabic numerals, this version of the pilot’s watch is particularly reminiscent of the AP. You can find examples in new condition for right around the $5,000 mark, making the Breitling Avenger Chronograph “Night Mission” a very interesting, more affordable Royal Oak Offshore alternative.

Ist der Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore auf dem zweiten Blick ähnlicher, als man denkt: die Breitling Avenger Chronograph „Night Mission“
The Breitling Avenger Chronograph “Night Mission” is more similar to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore than you initially might think.

Under $10,000: Doesn’t Have to Be a Royal Oak

If you read this article I wrote some time ago, you’re well aware that Audemars Piguet is more than just the Royal Oak, namely they also have the Code 11.59 series. The brand’s newest collection only debuted in 2019 and, in the words of Audemars Piguet itself, marks a new chapter in the manufacturer’s history. The Code 11.59 has a much more elegant look than the Royal Oak and could rightly be called Audemars’ sporty dress watch. However, there is a catch: you’ll still need to fork over $25,000 for the (rather unspectacular) steel version of the Code 11.59. Don’t worry, I know a cheaper and nicer alternative: the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris. This elegant sports diver can be found for $9,550 mark and stands out with its fine looks and outstanding quality. With a diameter of 41 mm, the watch looks great on almost any wrist. The fact that this is a genuine Jaeger-LeCoultre is evident as soon as you catch a glimpse of the stunning movement through the display case back. That said, the true highlight has got to be the dial. It features numerous finishes and textures, giving it an astounding look, especially when the light hits it. If you can push your budget a little higher, be sure to check out the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date, which is available for $11,100, though it’s a rarity on the open market. That sum will get you a watch with an intense blue or green dial, a feature that means it can really hold its own next to an Audemars Piguet.

Günstiger und schöner als die Stahlvariante der Audemars Piguet Code 11.59: Die Jaeger LeCoultre Polaris
Cheaper and better-looking than the steel Audemars Piguet Code 11.59: The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris

Doesn’t Always Have to Be the Best in Class

It’s not without reason that Audemars Piguet is one of the most sought-after watch brands of all. However, you don’t always have to go for the best in class. With these three more affordable options, even the most die-hard AP fan will be satisfied. The world of watches truly does offer something for every taste and budget.


What do you think about this article?


About the Author

Donato Emilio Andrioli

With the purchase of my Tudor Black Bay 41, I discovered a passion for mechanical watches. I am particularly drawn to iconic watches with long and exciting histories.

Read more

Latest Articles

Rolex-Datejust-Mother-of-Pearl-2-1
04/05/2024
Watch Guides
 5 minutes

5 Beautiful Luxury Watches With Mother-of-Pearl Dials

By Sebastian Swart
Audemars-Piguet-Royal-Oak-Blue-Dial-2-1
04/03/2024
Watch Guides
 5 minutes

Homage Watches: Viable alternatives or just poseurs?

By Tim Breining
Cartier-Tank-Louis-2-1
04/02/2024
Watch Guides
 6 minutes

5 Things to Know Before Buying a Cartier Tank

By Thomas Hendricks

Featured

ONP-929-Donatos-Uhrensammlung-2024-2-1
Watch Guides
 5 minutes

The Best for $24,000: Donato’s Perfect 2024 Watch Collection

By Donato Emilio Andrioli
10-best-watches-under-2000-1-1-2-1
Top 10 Watches
 5 minutes

10 Best Watches Under $2,000

By Donato Emilio Andrioli
Jorg’s $24,000 Watch Collection
 4 minutes

The Best for $24,000 in 2024: Jorg’s Perfect Watch Collection

By Jorg Weppelink
ONP-929-Donatos-Uhrensammlung-2024-2-1
Watch Guides
 5 minutes

The Best for $24,000: Donato’s Perfect 2024 Watch Collection

By Donato Emilio Andrioli
10-best-watches-under-2000-1-1-2-1
Top 10 Watches
 5 minutes

10 Best Watches Under $2,000

By Donato Emilio Andrioli