eBay bidding tricks #3 – historical prices

Posted by Harry Bishop on Jan 31st, 2008
Jan 31

In my recent postings about AuctionSniper and bidgroups, I spoke about getting bargains, and used an example of a watch with a lot of eBay listings – the Seiko Orange Monster.

Here’s a question – how do you know what to bid?

You know you want a bargain, but you also don’t want to wait forever. It might be okay for you to keep bidding for up to two weeks to get a good deal, but no more than that.

Thankfully eBay has a tool to help with this, as part of their “advanced search” feature.

First, click advanced search. In this example, enter the following term to be searched for, which will find most Orange Monsters for sale.

seiko (“orange monster”,skx781*) -”watch band”

In case you don’t know what these eBay search options mean …

  • Put multiple terms in parentheses if you want to find a listing with any one of these terms.
  • Add an asterisk after a word to mean anything starting with that (for example skx781* will also find skx781k1 etc).
  • Put quotes around multiple words to search for a phrase (“orange monster” finds just that phrase, not just the word orange and the word monster anywhere).
  • Put a minus sign in front of a phrase to exclude listings with that phrase (in this example, you want to just find watches, not watch bands for orange monsters).

Then, select the “completed listings only” button, and click search. You’ll get a listing of most of the Orange Monsters sold in the last 30 days. Use the “sort by” box to order the list by price. Here are the high bids in this example:


and the low bids:


Prices in red means it didn’t sell. Prices in green did. Looking at the prices that sold in this example, they were between $88 and $148. Actually not too bad of a spread this time, I’ve certainly seen much worse! It seems like you could bid $97 and expect to win one fairly easily. If you bid under $90 I might be bidding for a while

Good luck with the auctions!

eBay bidding tricks #2 – bid groups

Posted by Harry Bishop on Jan 30th, 2008
Jan 30

You just HAVE to buy a Seiko Orange Monster, but there’s no way you’re going to spend $200. You want to be one of those people who get a BARGAIN on eBay, and want to spend max $90 before shipping.


So how do you do it?

One way of course is to live on eBay, never sleeping, eating pizza and coke over your keyboard, until one of your low-ball bids succeed.

First, get a life. :-)

Second, use bid groups.

Although eBay has some minimal similar functionality, it’s nowhere near as nice as the bid groups that are part of the AuctionSniper system I posted about yesterday.


Here’s the concept … click the “manage bid groups” button on the right hand side of your Auction Sniper listing page. Then set up a Bid Group. Call it something meaningful, say, “Orange Monsters”. Set it up with a “bid until win” of 1. Then start making snipes on every single Orange Monster you can find on eBay, with a maximum bid of $90. Make sure you flag every one of them for the “Orange Monster” bidgroup.

Then AuctionSniper will start making last-minute bids for you, until it wins one of them in this group, then it will stop. Voila!

And if you’ve got a $200 budget, and want to buy 2 $100 watches, but have 10 possibles? Set up a bid group where it stops after winning 2.

eBay bidding tricks #1 – AuctionSniper

Posted by Harry Bishop on Jan 29th, 2008
Jan 29

You’ve put in a bid for a watch you really want, you’re the high bidder, and then 5 seconds before the auction ends, out of nowhere there’s a flurry of additional bids, and you’ve lost the auction.

What happened?

Let’s say you’ve bid a maximum of $50 on an item. But then you see somebody else has bid $52. Guess what, you’re probably going to up your maximum bid to $55 or $60.

It’s human psychology … even if you think you’ve bid your absolute never-go-over maximum, if you SEE that somebody else is going to bid slightly more, if you’re like most people you will then go ahead and raise your maximum bid anyway. There’s always “just a bit more room”. The way to avoid this is to have all the maximum bids invisible until the end. So why doesn’t eBay do it that way? Simple, they make more money this way!

There is an alternative … use a bidding service to place your bids for you at the last minute, when it’s too late for other bidders to change their bids in reaction to yours. This type of system is often called a “sniper”. Those are the last minute bids you saw when you lost your auction.

The one I use personally is AuctionSniper.


It gives you a few free snipes to begin with, then charges 1%. So if you buy a $70 watch, you pay 70 cents. Guess what, the amount you’ll save compared to the up-bidding if you did it the straight eBay way covers this and a lot more.

You’ll need to sign up – your login and password must be the same as your eBay ones, that’s what it uses to bid on your behalf. You’ll then need to deposit some money into your AuctionSniper account to draw from … stick in a few dollars and you’re off.

I usually open AuctionSniper in one tab, and eBay in another. Then when I find an item I want to snipe, cut-n-paste the item number from one into the other, along with my max bid. You can also purchase insurance on AuctionSniper, but only from selected countries, so I never bother.

Fossil Frank Gehry GH-2017

Posted by Harry Bishop on Jan 28th, 2008
Jan 28

I’ve been wearing this watch a few times this past week, so time for a quick review.


Hard to recall where I first saw a picture of this watch – probably either Brandish or uncrate late in 2006. In any case, as soon as I saw it, I wanted one, quartz or not. Instead of the typical digital display, time would read as “10 til 5″ (above example), or “20 past midnight”, or “half past 3″, or simply “10″.



Plus it was designed by (and engraved on back of titanium case with signature of) modern architect Frank Gehry. I’m a sucker for “different looking” and “artist created” so this one hit the buttons.


I probably waited too long, when I decided to pick one up on eBay early last year, pickings were somewhat slim. I managed to get a brown version for $74, which is about half what I would have paid in a store here in Ontario. There are a few other color schemes available, and was initially looking for black/silver, but could not find one on the bay when I was looking (these 2 images are from vendors, the rest are my pics).


Having said that, I’m fairly pleased with the look, especially the brown strap, which looks much warmer and better than the black one. The strap seems, for lack of a better term, fairly “macho” … thick, wide, semi-distressed leather, with slots rather than round holes. The way the lugs slant from the case, holding the strap firmly at a specific angle, is different that most watches, but also adds to the cool factor.


So what do I think of it, after having it almost a year now? Pretty cool, with just three issues.

The first, and the only major problem, is that this watch switches between positive and negative LCD display at 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM. That sounds good, except the negative display, which is what shows during the day, is a pain to read. And there is no backlight to help. And you can’t change this setting, other than swapping AM and PM, which looks stupid when your watch says “10 to midnight” right before lunch. So what do I do? Wear it at night!! :-)


The other item is minor, and something that anybody who owns n uncoated titanium watch has learned about … titanium scratches easily. Here’s a second “signature on the side of the case, plus a few desk diving scratches.


The third item is the quartz movement is uses is not that accurate, I expected better. But it’s really easy to set, so has never bothered me.

Bottom line, I still really love this watch. I’m disappointed I can’t manually set the positive/negative display for what best suits the lighting I’m in, if Fossil had added this feature, this would be a high in my wearing cycle. As it is, it still gets worn regularly. Definitely recommended.

Oh yes, it’s also my wife’s favorite watch in my entire collection.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Navigator’s Mark 11

Posted by Harry Bishop on Jan 27th, 2008
Jan 27

I’ve reviewed a lot of aviator’s style watches on this blog. Not the “technical” type ones, with wind scales and slide rules and chronographs and other complications. Rather, the types with simple, clean, easy to read and easy to use dials and shapes.


The JLC Mk11 is one of the best, if not THE best, vintage examples of this style of watch. They were designed and manufactured to strict military specifications, including one of the earliest wristwatch anti-magnetic shieldings, and +/- 4 seconds/day variance (in other words, chronometer grade time-keeping). These watches were issues primarily to navigators in the RAF and RAAF (British and Australian Air Forces respectively, for those not into military acronyms). It was one of the few chronometer-grade manual wind watches of the era.


Only 2,950 Mark 11′s were produced between 1948 and 1953. This low production number and timeframe certainly support the level of mystique and collectability associated with this watch.


If you’re interested in more information about the Mark 11, an amazing site is the tracking page for this watch (all pics on this page are from them, not me). I’m in awe at the amount of work that must have gone into this page by so many interested people … it provides not only many more details about this watch, but has managed to track down specifics and pictures of many of the actual watches – 130 to date. Great reading for anybody interested in this style of watch, in watches in the military, or in general watch history.

Bucket o’ eBay #4

Posted by Harry Bishop on Jan 26th, 2008
Jan 26

Why two auction reviews in a row?

Yesterday I showed you some listings that sold for more than expected and made the sellers happy. Today is BARGAINS! The ones that made the buyers happy!

(yes, all amounts are Canadian$. And yes, these are all comparatively inexpensive vintage watches … I’m not going to be buying a Patek Phillipe on eBay!)

Seiko 6118-7010 -$2!!!

A price like this is not abnormal, I quite often see some vintage 6xxx Seikos going for minimal bids. This one however is in much better shape than most of the bottom-feeder stuff you see going cheap, and as well it is the much rarer 6118 movement. The 6118 the same as the common 6119, except date only.

This specific one is not the prettiest watch in the world, but is okay (much better than a later 700x model for example, there are lots of those that sell on eBay for $0.01 plus shipping), and everything seem to be in reasonable condition. Somebody got a reasonable 1975 Seiko automatic for a song here.


Seiko 6119-6023 – $11

A reasonably good 6119, with a cushion shapd case, clean black dial, nice “sports” look with an internal rotating bezel. Back is a bit worn, the case and crystal obviously a bit polished not in fully original condition. Having said that, I’d consider this a good”wear it” watch. These models don’t go for high prices, but certainly more than this, good deal for this buyer.


My Bidding Mistakes

The next 4, are watches where I had done a snipe group of”what the heck” low bids (budget constraints post Christmas), forgot about them, and ended up being bidder #2 behind the eventual winners, all at well below what they have typically sold for on eBay in the last year. I have to learn the hard lesson – if you want a watch, put your true top bid in!!

Seiko 4205-014B diver – $49

One of the smaller size automatic divers, and other than a new replacement bezel and hands, it seems mostly original and in quite good shape. This went for about half what I expected it to.


Seiko Sportsmatic 7625-8200 – $44

Whimper. When I looked at this again after it had sold, I kicked myself. It’s a great looking older watch, and I really like the elegant dial on this one. This one sold for less than half what I expected it to sell for.


Seiko Crown – $72

With a better pic, and/or from a more well known seller, this should have gone for $150 or so. On this one, I thought I had a chance on with a low bid of $70, given the poor quality of the pics from the seller. But alas, it was not to be.


Seiko Unique – $51

Whimper, whine, and whimper again. Having just seen one of these in crappy condition go for $150, this is the one I’m really kicking myself on. The seller lists it as circa 1947, which could very well be correct for this model. It’s got a few dial marks, but all considering is in very good condition.


Bucket o’ eBay #3

Posted by Harry Bishop on Jan 25th, 2008
Jan 25

We all like to find those unique, interesting “wow” watches. Even if we can’t afford them! This post contains a few such “big buck” items I’ve viewed these past few weeks.

1925 Model 2 Dudley Masonic Pocket Watch – $3,424

A friend sent me a link to this first auction, and I had to blink a few times. Okay, it’s a pocket watch. And fine, it’s from 1925. But then look at the movement … various parts of the movement have been designed in the form of Masonic symbols … okay, now that’s different!



I did a web search on the history of this watch, and found quite a bit of info from the Phoenix Masonry Museum, and the WatchuSeek forum.

William Dudley, a Canadian by birth, after working in the US watch industry for many years, formed his own firm in Lancaster PA in 1920, at the young age of 69! This was after patenting his design of a watch with its bridge plate in the form of Masonic symbols. His production went through three variations: Model 1 was a 14 size, 19 jewel, 14kt. solid gold watch. Faced with dwindling sales and heavy competition, he switched to Model 2, a 12 size, 19 jewel, 14kt. gold filled watch. Model 3 was similar to Model 2 but with some design changes and masonic symbols printed on the dial also.

These were not just for looks, they were also good watches – adjusted to 5 positions and temperature.

At it’s height, the firm employed 20 people, mostly skilled ex-Hamilton watchmakers. Unfortunately the company was not competitive, especially after the introduction of the new-fangled “wristwatch” into the market, and was declared bankrupt in 1925. Less than 2,600 Dudley watches were ever made.

Seiko 6159-7010 – $1,030

One of the older “professional” Seiko divers, with 600M water resistance, manufactured in June 1975, titanium shroud, very good shape (original lume has aged). Was listed a few times before it made the reserve, sold this time.


Seiko 4522-7010 Grand Seiko – $926

A reasonable example of a 1970 GS – still a bit of a premium price paid for this, in my opinion.


Seiko KS 5626-7041 Chronometer (automatic, 1973) – $438

The first of a number of King Seikos which have sold over the past few weeks, all at reasonably average prices for these particular models. This was is from when Seiko was still allowed to use the word “chronometer” on the dial, before the COSC and the Swiss watch industry took that onto themselves and forced Seiko out into using their own (actually slightly more stringent) certification program.


Seiko KS Vanac, 5246-6070 (automatic, 1973) – $418

Groovy, man.


Seiko KS 44-9990 (manual wind, 1958) – $329

Very nice, this is my favorite of today’s list.


Seiko KS 5626-7100 (automatic, 1971) – $324


Seiko KS 5626-7000 (automatic, 1971) – $263

This one was purchased by the same friend who showed me the link to the Dudley above… he’s happy to get this at the lowest cost for the bunch!


Truthful Branding in Web 2.0 – it takes effort!

Posted by Harry Bishop on Jan 24th, 2008
Jan 24

Lessons continue, that social media has accelerated communication to where if you don’t act true to your brand, you’ll be found out and trashed online far quicker than your firm can react. Firms are being forced to be truthful to their brand, and not advertise/market false or misleading messages.

A number of posts I’ve read lately, add a very important point to this discussion …

Truthful branding takes effort and work.

You can’t just sit back and expect to be truthful and people will believe and understand. Be a warrior! Champion your brand! Champion it’s truthfulness!

Brand Autopsy

… This belief that authenticity can be created is what gets companies in trouble. Authenticity comes from evolution, not from creation. No magic pill exists and no big bang will cause a company to become authentic …

A Human Voice

… Imagine that – making something your customers will LOVE …

Brand Autopsy

… ideas to get you beyond thinking differently but doing differently …

Online Spin

… 10 key principles that should guide brand strategy. They’ve become top-of-mind in my own brand situation, but they certainly apply to all. Sure, some are obvious, but too many are forgotten or omitted.

1. Transparency: To be honest and transparent is the only way to go. It builds a stronger brand foundation, and prevents awkward scenarios where new market forces inevitably expose hidden truths.
2. Authenticity: …

Brand Autopsy

… I couldn’t help wondering if maybe there wasn’t something else at play here, something Wall Street never seems to take very seriously. Maybe, just maybe, taking care of customers is something worth doing when you are trying to create a lasting company. Maybe, in fact, it’s the best way to build a real business — even if it comes at the expense of short-term results …

Tom Peters

… I was purposefully engaging in an ADRE -Act of Deliberate Relationship Enhancement. While I fully buy “If you aren’t sincere, it won’t work,” I nonetheless urge you to develop some similar ritual …

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