I prefer handwired whenever possible because the great techs in my area tend to not want to touch PCB amps. As has been said, they also many times use better components as they can charge more for the amp itself, keeping the profit margin in the upper range.
Most of my amps are handwired either vintage or boutique, but I do have a couple tubers that are PCB, one being the ac15c1. I wanted that amp for it's specific tone, and have been happy with it. I didn't even mess with changing the speaker as it sounds good to me stock. People who play through it love it as well. If an HW came up used locally for a good price, I would probably pick it up as I like the sound of the PCB version, so I assume I would like the HW. This way if something ever went wrong or I did want to mod it it wouldn't be a pain in the butt.
I never got to try out other versions of the ac15 (c2 etc), but just went off of the folks on this forum and others that recommended the c1 above them, at an affordable price. I paid $400 for the limited addition red tolex version, so not much to lose there, and it is purdy.
I may just be lucky, or maybe it's confirmation bias, but I love all my handwired amps, and haven't wanted to sell any of them. They usually just increase in value as well, so resale if I ever decide to do so will be profitable and easy.
A friend brought a Chi-com pcb version to the shop. I replaced the 12AX7B Chi-com tubes with a Tungsol in the first position and a couple of 12AX7A EH's. I also removed the three 10 pf caps in the input jack pcb, that sucked out air.
The rest inside is PCB parts, 1/4 or 1/2 watt Asian metal film resistors and some .1 uf 400V caps. Yes, you could rip it out and put in WIMA poly film, but why bother?
The amp sounds great with those tweaks. Better power tubes should be used.
How much of a difference really is there between a handwired AC15 and your normal run of the mill AC15...
When I was trying out new, stock ones in a store a few years ago, the HW was a little beefier. But as you say, the price difference was vast. I went with the basic Chinese, but only because I got an amazing deal on it elsewhere, and it was only going to sit in the studio. If I had planned to gig with it, I definitely would have gone for the HW.
I've had an AC15HW1 for about five years. Its a really nice sounding amp, and I have used it a lot to record and play clubs. If I had to do it again, I would by the standard AC15 with a Celestion Blue speaker. There may be slight tonal differences due to the cabinet size, but for gigs, the smaller size and built in reverb on the standard AC15 are better for me. I tend to grab my Fender Princeton reverb when I play out for these reasons.