How to sort through ebay?
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  1. #1
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    How to sort through ebay?

    I really like finding deals on old quartz and mechanical watches. I recently got back into watches and it seems like every brand is flooded with crap from India. I've bought two watches from India in the past, and both stopped working after wearing them only a few times so I won't buy from there any more. How can you find decent vintage watches when it seems every watch on the site is out of India?

  2. #2
    Member mkws's Avatar
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    Re: How to sort through ebay?

    Ahhh... You've bought some Bombay Specials. The only way to find a good piece is to browse the listings patiently. Take your time, don't get discouraged by Bombay Specials, they're not 100% of what's on eBay. Well, that's unless you want to buy a Favre-Leuba- get ready for some 99.9% of them being sold from there.
    Stay away from watches from South America as well. Maybe not from all of them, but think of it this way:
    1. Vintage watches rarely were or are waterproof.
    2. Warm and humid climates tend to have a bad effect on dials and movements.
    3. These effects end up in the necessity of redialling, and the movement of such a watch might not function properly.
    4. Avoid the watches sold from places that have such a climate.
    5. Check out the rest of the listings. But redials will still be out there.

    So, apart from patience, there is no method. There is no "anti-Bombay-Special" search filter on eBay.
    And personally, I would advise visiting some flea markets. That's where I buy watches- but the risk of buying a fake or franken isn't exactly lower. Risks are similar everywhere.
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  3. #3
    Member bsshog40's Avatar
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    Re: How to sort through ebay?

    I have my own methods for trying to weed out the junk.
    1. I always sort for either US Only or North America. I might miss something overseas but with shipping times, I just think its too much time wasted. JMO
    2. I usually only bid on watches that have movement pictures. Exceptions are low bid wins and something I don't consider a loss of money if it turns out bad.
    3. I always zoom the pics so I can see if theres any corrosion issues or rust that has been cleaned or polished down.
    4. I always check sellers feedback for any negative and positive comments and what they are.
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  5. #4
    Member ceanag's Avatar
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    Re: How to sort through ebay?

    eBay can be great for bargains and finding good vintage watches but the key is research and patience.
    It is also a good idea to set up email alerts for a specific search (this comes to your inbox once a day) eg. if I want to find a bargain or interesting vintage watch on eBay AU first narrow your search parameters eg Watches,Wristwatches,Men's,Used,Australia only,etc
    (I usually stick to Australia only as the postage costs are much,much cheaper than overseas).
    Then put in terms you don't want to see ...here is one of my exclusion lists, -ladies -kors -guess -armani -lorus -pulsar -women's -womens -womans -jag -diesel -sandoz -casio -nautica -ripcurl -swatch -dolce -d&g -nixon -cardin -cole -dkny -kate -pink -mimco -gucci -oakley -weil -fashion -kitty -billabong -bling -hill -marc -curl -elite -ice -nike -adidas -timex -fossil -dior
    This gets rid of a lot of the more popular fashion watches and ladies watches.
    If you don't want Indian watches try -HMT,-Sandoz,-Favre -Leuba etc etc
    As I work from home a lot I leave this search open and set to Newly Listed and refresh the page when I have some extra time to browse.
    This gives you an opportunity to see all the newly listed,used men's wristwatches in Australia minus all the other crap that you have excluded.
    Using this method I have snagged quite a few bargains on BIN items which were poorly or incorrectly described but also before any purchase I check out as much as I can about the seller.
    What is his feedback like,what else is he selling,is he a regular watch seller (which I usually avoid if looking for bargains) or is this just a watch that the seller has owned or come across and thinks he can make a few bucks from it on eBay.
    Then if it is a watch I am not overly familiar with I do more research to try and compare other examples and selling prices.
    This whole process takes time but can alert you to not only bargains but lots of other interesting watches and also those on your particular shopping list or in your area of interest.
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  6. #5
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    Re: How to sort through ebay?

    I feel your pain. I also learned the hard way about Bombay Specials. I purchased a Seiko Bullhead on July 4th. I don't think the seller knew not to have an auction end on that day so I DID get good deal. But still the listing said it had been serviced and what I received definitely wasn't what was in the pictures. Glass was completely scratched up and the bezel was a wreak. Worse, I went to set the time and yep – stem pull outs. All in all after having it repaired I ended up being at a price I could have spent for a US based seller and would have most likely had a better experience.

  7. #6
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    Re: How to sort through ebay?

    To eliindetroit, doesn't eBay offer you buyer protection so that you could return the watch and/or receive a refund? I thought that if what you buy is not what the seller describes, you would not suffer a loss (except, perhaps, for the cost of shipping).

  8. #7
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    Re: How to sort through ebay?

    Now why would we tell you our secrets and create competition for them treasures? lol

    Honestly though many of the suggestions are dead on. You can limit the location of the source. You should only look at watches where they show the movement, otherwise be prepared for any risk you assume yourself. If you find one you are interested but they don't have a movement pic, ask them if they will send you one through the eBay messenger. This will also give you an idea of what level of communication the seller is working at. No response...move on. Look for signs that the seller has at least done the minimums of winding, setting, basic time keeping, and notes any issues. If they are not willing to tell you any of this in the listing and then not through questions...move on.

    The seller are your hands. They can do the things you would do if you were art a NAWCC show. Ask them how it winds. Is the tick loud or soft. Does there appear to be a scrape noise when the watch moves (rotor scrape). Does the date change right at 12. The key is to ask questions. No questions you assume the risk.

    I have taken a risk on a few "Non Running" "Needs Work" watches. Chronos to be exact. All they needed was a clean and oil. One needed a screw. So risk is not always a bad thing but you have to depend on your experience, knowledge, and communication skills to limit it.

  9. #8
    Member bsshog40's Avatar
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    Re: How to sort through ebay?

    Quote Originally Posted by ag134 View Post
    To eliindetroit, doesn't eBay offer you buyer protection so that you could return the watch and/or receive a refund? I thought that if what you buy is not what the seller describes, you would not suffer a loss (except, perhaps, for the cost of shipping).
    This is very true and most times they will have the seller pay return postage. I've only had 2 problems with watches not described correctly or claims not correct. Both times I have contacted the seller and both times the seller reimbursed some of the money to compensate and was suitable for me. The latter option works well as both the buyer and seller can reach an agreement and both get positive feedback.
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  10. #9
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    Re: How to sort through ebay?

    I can really not understand what you mean by saying 'every watch on eBay'. To the contrary, the vast majority of watches generally offered there are NOT from India. On the other hand, there are certain watch brands with a higher percentage of sellers from that place.

    And, 'old quartz and mechanical watches', anything accross the board, is a too general description. Do you have any specific things in mind or everything which comes along, pocket- or wristwatches, as long as they are old, which is also a term that can mean anything for a mechanical watch, back into the 15th century?

    Speaking of India and the crap offered from there, you most likely mean vintage wrist watches, correct?
    Last edited by Border-Reiver; December 1st, 2015 at 19:44.

  11. #10
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: How to sort through ebay?

    Speaking of India and the crap offered from there, you most likely mean vintage wrist watches,
    Personally I am against these type of "motherhood" statements and the poor use of the English language.

    Call me old fashioned!
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