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There is a good reason things have been quiet around here lately: I’ve spent the last two months building something very special for the watch community. Today, I am excited to finally be able to show you what I’ve been working on.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent a lot of time online looking for new pieces to add to your collection. The hunt is part of the fun, and getting a great deal on a hard-to-find piece can be really rewarding. There are a few ways to do that online now, but the experience leaves a lot to be desired.
Enter WatchPatrol: a new web and mobile application designed to make exploring the pre-owned watch world a little bit easier. Check out a couple of screenshots below.
Screenshot: Masonry Style View
Screenshot: Grid Style View
The Problem with Social Commerce
Pre-owned watches can be bought and sold many different places online. There are major channels like Ebay, Chrono24, and other private marketplaces. And then there are the watch communities, where tens of thousands of enthusiasts buy, trade, and sell watches through community forums. Forums are an excellent place to buy watches, this is where you find the best deals and the most passionate collectors.
The problem? Forums are designed for discussion, not commerce. Data is not structured in a way that allows filtering or searching. Browsing listings does not include imagery, forcing you to click through individual posts to view photos. On top of all that, the buying experience is fractured across dozens of difference domains.
This is where WatchPatrol comes in. WatchPatrol actively monitors all of the major forums for sales listings, scrapes important data (like price, contact info, etc.), and stores it locally so you can quickly discover great deals on your favorite models. On top of that, WatchPatrol allows you to save searches, alerting you as soon as a new listing matching your criteria comes online.
Search and Filter
Find the perfect pre-owned watch using price, source, brand, and much more.
Save a search and get real-time updates when new listings appear.
WatchPatrol adapts to your mobile phone, tablet, and web browser.
Take a closer look at a listing without interrupting your existing search.
Prices are automatically compared to model averages, allowing you to find the best values.
Keep a running list of the listings you’re most interested in revisiting.
This is the first release of WatchPatrol and it will be actively improved upon based on feedback from the community. Although it currently only draws from a handful of sources, new communities will be added shortly. In order to enjoy some of the advanced features of WatchPatrol, you need to create a free account.
Here are just a few of the ideas I will be bringing into WatchPatrol in upcoming releases:
- Map and location based searching
- User reputation tracking
- Email / SMS Alerts
- A Pricing API
WatchPatrol is built with the following technologies:
- Python / Django
- Scrapy (a Python web scraping library)
- FuzzyWuzzy (a fuzzy string matching library open-source by StubHub)
- Implicit (a collaboritve filtering system for implicit data)
- Amazon Web Services (S3, Cloudfront, and Lambda)
- Heroku (a phlatform as a service)
If you have ideas for improving WatchPatrol, or run into any bugs or issues with the software, please don’t hesitate to post a comment here or email me directly using the contact form. I hope you enjoy the software as much as I did building it.
A great start.
Congratulations on the foresight and energy to create what in hindsight many will say was an obvious, long overdue web site.
I can see this site developing even further from user input in the not to distant future.
Mike, this is fantastic. Been using it for a while since you mentioned it over on Quora. It really fixes a huge number of quirks around watchrecon. Great work, it is my default site for late night scrolling and dreaming.
Thanks Ethan! Hopefully my incessant daily tweaks aren’t ruining the UX for you 🙂
Mike, WP is a lot of fun to explore, and it looks fantastic! Love to be able to see the pics without having to own the thread – awesome idea. Long time user of WR tho, so I’ll need some time to get used to it. But like what I see so far. Any chance of an Android app in the future? Great job man!
Thanks a lot Dave! I’m a long time user of WatchRecon myself, so I definitely took some inspiration from that app. There were a lot of things that bothered me with the UX, so I tried to address those issues with WatchPatrol. Also, I’ve got some ideas for integrating the blog here with the app using pricing API’s to create some real-time pricing guides and what-not.
If you’ve got any suggestions for improvements, feel free to email me directly at email@example.com, I’d love to hear any ideas.
As far as an Android app, I will probably do an iOS app first — but native mobile is definitely in the long-term roadmap.
I just came across watchpatrol.net.
It is great tool to scan the watch community for the latest offerings.
This article is really helpful and interesting. Thanks for the information.