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Friday, November 30, 2007

Going Wild on eBay with New Bidding Stategy Works...but at a Price!

Being "between jobs" right now, I have a lot of time to waste on-line. I'm a time fanatic. I have atomic clocks all over my house so that I know the EXACT time. I always arrive early to meetings because I respect the time of those I'm meeting with and get a little peeved when people meeting with me are late because my time is valuable too.

I've been looking at atomic wrist watches for over a year now. Casio is the lead player there but others make them as well. Jungens makes a solar-powered black ceramic analog atomic watch with a ceramic wristband that looks fantastic. What bothers me about it is the price seems to fluctuate between $699 and $1100; Jungens features it on their home page but if you look through their current line catalog it's nowhere to be found. In fact, the only place you can find it is eBay and the very few vendors who advertise it hint that their competitors are selling used or knock-offs or something unsavory. Besides, I have a couple of nice, expensive dress watches. I needed an everyday watch and I wanted atomic.

Most of the offerings from companies other than Casio are pretty ugly. Casio has a lot of ugly ones too. There was only one I was in gunmetal gray, but the display was not the easiest to read with my poor eyes.

Then an entrepreneur in Japan started advertising Casio watches that are not sold in the USA yet. The above pictured really caught my eye. It's unique, solar powered, atomic time set, and it doesn't have a metal band which can irritate my wrist during the humid Texas summers.

The seller was new: when he started out, he had zero feedback. So I put some "play" bids in around the low $100's and of course lost. Someone won big when I and no one else bid on one and got it for $93!

By now, he was putting one up every other day and the price range rose to $145 to $175. I kept bidding and kept losing.

A friend told me about Auction Sniper, I service that automatically makes up to your maximum bid as little as 3 seconds before the end of the auction. It worked like a charm but I lost every time because my maximum bid was too low....I was bidding under $200.

Now I was like a crazy man on a mission. I HAD to have that watch, regardless of cost, regardless of effort!

eBay also came out with a new tool called "Countdown". It gives you real-time bidding info and a real-time countdown until the auction ends.

My opportunity came when two of the Casio's (it's a 4343 but goes by a much longer model number on eBay. It's also hyped and emblazoned on the back as a "GIEZ". I have no idea what that means: is it the designers name? Is it G-Shock in Japanese? Does it mean "Stupid American? I don't know but it looks cool. ) came up for bid.

The first auction went off at 11PM and the second at midnight. I was determined to win one of them. Countdown gives you two options for bidding: placing the maximum amount of money you are willing to bid or bidding $2.50 higher than the previously high bid.

If you place your maximum bid too early, it will bid you up thus telling other bidders you are there and a serious buyer. Conversely, if you're going to bid at the last second and choose the $2.50 higher and someone has a higher maximum bid, you won't have time to bid again.

So here was my strategy: at 10:50PM the winning bid was $245. I knew there were people waiting in the wings so I put $270 as my maximum bid but didn't hit the submit button. I was going to submit at the last possible second.

About 10:55PM, I started getting nervous and upped my maximum bid to $285. Then I waited. The countdown was coming to an end....5...4....3...2....I hit "submit maximum bid"...1...Auction Over....And I had $280, the highest price paid for that watch yet. But the bidder right behind me was $277.50 so if I hadn't bid high, I would have never had a chance to bid again. And since he/she was willing to bid so high, I didn't feel cheated; although I did think back to that lucky bastard who got one for $93.

I paid immediately by PayPal (I ONLY use PayPal on eBay) and only 4 days later, the watch made it from Japan to San Francisco, cleared customs, and arrived at my door! I can't get a letter to New Jersey in 4 days.
The watch was very well packed against damage and came in an attractive box wrapped around a little pillow. The watch also came with Japanese instructions but there was a link on the auction page to Casio's English translation. I will admit that the instructions, while seemingly clear, did not seem to motivate the watch to do what I wanted. Twice, I was switched to Tokyo time and I still have no idea if the atomic calibration signal from Fort Collins, CO was picked up by the watch last night, as the hand which is supposed to illustrate that is pointing at something that I have no idea what it means.

But the time matches my home atomic clock so I guess it worked. In any event, it's a beautiful and tough everyday watch guaranteed to turn heads, and you won't find it in any US store yet.

If you'd like one for yourself, it's listed as a CASIO G-SHOCK GIEZ Atomic Solar GS-1000BJ-9AJF JAPAN. I just checked eBay and the seller I bought it from and recommend, kodai_2008, doesn't have one up....I guess they're pretty rare in Japan too. There are models in the same style but in all black or (very ugly) gold with a blue face. You can put the above item number in your eBay "Watch For" file and eBay will send you an email when one like mine is available. Or you can check kodai_2008's eBay store.

Other Japanese have picked up on kodai_2008's success and are now marketing the Giez-series Casio's too, but I can't vouch for any of those as I've never done business with them. Like buying anything on eBay, check user feedback. If it's a new merchant, cross your fingers.

The moral of the story is Auction Sniper is a great tool if you don't want to stay up late or will be unable to be available when bidding closes. The Countdown tool from eBay is great if you are up and willing to go with that last second bid. But in all cases, decide how bad you really want the item and how much you're willing to pay for it. Then use your max bid. Trust me, there is nothing more frustrating than losing by $2.50. Happy shopping and Merry Christmas!

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1 comment:

Mr. UnloadingZone said...

You're "between jobs" and bidding on watches? Get a job, you bum!

Signed, Mrs. Unloadingzone

Mrs. Unloadingzone

Mrs. Unloadingzone
"The Girl of my Dreams"