Anyone buy watches from overseas on ebay?
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  1. #1
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    Anyone buy watches from overseas on ebay?

    As a relative newcomer to watch collecting its become somewhat clear that most of the somewhat nicer watches on Ebay very quickly get bid way up- as in way more than I would care to pay. That said, I have noticed that there seems to be better prices on watches sold from places like Hong Kong, The Philippines, and so on. I'm a bit hesitant to consider watches from not in the US. However, perhaps maybe that's why they cost less because people like me are hesitant. So I'm curious if some of you on here have bought any watches from overseas and had a good result? Or is it purely luck of the draw?

  2. #2
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone buy watches from overseas on ebay?

    Well for me the US is overseas

    As a general rule you should not be nervous about buying from overseas, and certainly now there is a secondary market in the US and elsewhere reselling those cheaper watches in the US with all the problems that can go with them. So for me it's better to be aware of the issues and then make your own choices based on that knowledge, rather than thinking you are 'safer' by only buying watches from the US. I think that by now I've pretty much bought watches from every continent.

    That said, there are some issues, though as I say you face them too in the US market.

    Shipping costs can be much higher, which can rule out some 'bargains'. In my experience many US sellers way overprice their international shipping, and that stops me buying watches from them.

    Climate is a big problem with vintage watches - so hot, humid countries - India, parts of South America etc can kill watches. You need to know what you are looking for because there is also a big market in reworking watches in certain countries - like India and Argentina. The Ukraine does a lot of creative watch recasing.

    There have been a number of threads on here which discuss this sort of thing, which it might be interesting for you to work through. I can't comment too much on Hong Kong or the Philippines - I think you are interested in different brands to me - I suspect that the Philippines for example specialise in reworking Seikos, so I'm sure others will be able to comment more.


  3. #3
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    Re: Anyone buy watches from overseas on ebay?

    I've had good luck with the UK, Israel, Portugal, and Japan, bad luck with the Philipines and South America. I haven't ordered from a lot of countries so I can only speak of my experience.
    mrsnak likes this.

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  5. #4
    Member TheJohnP's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone buy watches from overseas on ebay?

    I've bought from and shipped to almost everywhere in the world. There are some countries I do avoid from too many "frankenwatch" sellers. But overall, mainly buy from the seller. If they have strong feedback. If they offer good descriptions and photos of the movement, then I tend to purchase from them. Nothing worries me more than a seller mentioning what is written on a movement and not including a movement picture.

    Also, take the claim of "recently cleaned/serviced" with a grain of salt.

    And to Mirius' point of US shipping being expensive, you can partially blame the US Post Office.
    First Class International is about $10, Priority Mail International Flat Rate is roughly $14, while regular Priority Mail International is almost $30 but it does give you overseas tracking.
    I try to give my buyers an option of shipping and let them choose what they would like to pay for.
    But since UK also charges for customs, VAT, etc, I can understand trying to avoid US auctions.
    I've got more Converse sneakers than watches, but it is a close race.

  6. #5
    Member Tick Talk's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone buy watches from overseas on ebay?

    Depending on where you live and what you collect, you don't really have a choice!
    Tick Talk says, "A watch in the hand is worth two on the wrist"

  7. #6
    Member AAWATCHES's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone buy watches from overseas on ebay?

    As always buy the seller, not the watch....Theres good people all over the world.

  8. #7
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    Re: Anyone buy watches from overseas on ebay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tick Talk View Post
    Depending on where you live and what you collect, you don't really have a choice!
    I am one of those. Almost my entire collection has come from overseas via ebay - mostly USA, UK, Germany and Australia. This is a symptom of my interests - American and Swiss, rather than regional bias.

    I have had some failures, I have had some wonderful successes. My worst failures were early on - amusingly so were a number of my best successes. Some countries to avoid have already been mentioned in the previous replies, due to the environment in which they were used (humidity etc is very detrimental).

    You must incorporate proportional risk into your bidding, based on your knowledge of the specific watch in question - and as Mirus said, provenance based on perceived origin is irrelevant in a global marketplace like ebay.

  9. #8
    Member DragonDan's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone buy watches from overseas on ebay?

    I've purchased and sold watches from/ to 'across the pond' before, without issues. I just purchased a watch case from a guy in Italy, let's see how the horror stories hold up on this shipment. I demanded insurance and tracking!

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  10. #9
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    Re: Anyone buy watches from overseas on ebay?

    It's certainly no guarantee, but I prefer to buy from home ( the UK ) these days. Mostly because I find it easier to form an opinion of the seller. Downside is I usually pay more, although save a little on shipping. But I over the years I've purchased from ( and sold to for that matter ) all over - Argentina, Spain, France, Germany, HK, India. I got stung only the once on a cheapo purchase from 'Spain' ( although the watch actually shipped from India! ), and I should've known better. I say 'stung' - it was actually a fairly accurately described and I paid virtually nothing for it so perhaps stung is a little harsh - it was a pile of junk though! Still, I've spent far more hours than is healthy trawling eBay since then and now I don't even bother opening auctions for kit located in India unfortunately, as they are almost all, well, not what what I'm looking for in terms of originality shall we say.

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  11. #10
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone buy watches from overseas on ebay?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheJohnP View Post
    And to Mirius' point of US shipping being expensive, you can partially blame the US Post Office.
    First Class International is about $10, Priority Mail International Flat Rate is roughly $14, while regular Priority Mail International is almost $30 but it does give you overseas tracking.
    I try to give my buyers an option of shipping and let them choose what they would like to pay for.
    But since UK also charges for customs, VAT, etc, I can understand trying to avoid US auctions.
    Yes, but it doesn't explain why some US based sellers can ship to the UK for less than $5 and yet some claim it's impossible to charge less than $30. On an expensive watch that is understandable but I'm often interested in parts watches worth only a few dollars. Now I could understand if they were trying to profit on the postage yet their US rates are low, so I suspect that other factors are at play (I understand the risk factors of shipping abroad).


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