Monday 24 February 2014

Bargain Watch lives !

I discovered the joys of buying LEGO from Amazon not long after emerging from my LEGO Dark Ages back in late 2008, and it soon became my main source of new sets, the combination of a wide selection, good discounts, convenience and excellent customer service quickly sealing the deal for me. I was soon perusing Amazon's pages on a regular basis sniffing out the best deals, and it was therefore a logical next step for me to add the Bargain Hunt ! page to Gimme LEGO and post some of the best deals that I'd found on there so that readers could also bag a bargain. I still have nightmares about the painstaking process of manually writing and formatting the links to each bargain one by one, however....

Set 8039 Venator-Class Republic Attack Cruiser - my first Amazon LEGO purchase....

What was needed was a way of checking Amazon for the best deals on a more comprehensive, systematic and regular basis, and this dream started to become a reality back in early 2011 when Huw from Brickset and I started work on an automated system for doing exactly that. After much discussion, experimentation, iteration, reiteration, testing, more testing and tweaking, the Bargain Watch system was launched in September 2011  In a nutshell, Bargain Watch analyses the LEGO sets currently available for sale on Amazon in a number of countries and calculates the level of discount on each set by comparing the Amazon price with the LEGO RRP. Sets are then ranked in order of discount and a listing is generated, complete with links so that you can click through and buy the set. Use of the LEGO RRPs to calculate the level of discount is important - some rival systems take Amazon's word for the RRPs when calculating the percentage discount, and this can be misleading as Amazon sometimes list an incorrect RRP. Also, where possible Bargain Watch factors shipping costs into the equation when working out the level of discount so that there are hopefully no nasty surprises when you decide to take the plunge and make a purchase.

Once home to a few hand-generated links, the Gimme LEGO Bargain Hunt ! page is now home to a subset of the Bargain Watch listings, namely ranked lists of the twenty LEGO sets across all themes available on and with the biggest percentage discount off RRP. You can see a screen grab of part of a sample UK listing below, or click here to view the actual live listings themselves. The listings were recently offline for a few days while Brickset moved to a new server and the Bargain Watch system underwent maintenance, but I'm delighted to report that the system is now back up and running and listings are once again being generated. The UK and US price data are currently updated every 4 hours, so if you visit regularly you should hopefully catch the best deals before they sell out.

Brickset hosts the bulk of the Bargain Watch listings, which capture, rank and list the best LEGO deals to be found on Amazon's sites in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Canada, as well as in the UK and US. These more comprehensive country-specific listings can be filtered in various different ways, for instance by theme. In addition, because Amazon ship overseas, there's also the facility to compare prices across all of Amazon's EU websites to look for the best deals (sample screen grab below, or just click here to view the actual live listing); this listing can also be filtered by theme so you can quickly focus in on the themes you're most interested in. The icing on the cake are alerts which appear on the Brickset homepage when sets are newly discounted by 30% or more from RRP.

It goes without saying that the listings can help you to save money by highlighting the best bargains; as an inveterate bargain hunter myself, Bargain Watch is the system that I always dreamed of, and I quite possibly use it more than anybody ! As well as saving you money, clicking on the links and making purchases also supports both Gimme LEGO and Brickset by generating referral fees at no additional cost to you. Many thanks therefore for continuing to click the Amazon links on Gimme LEGO and Brickset when you buy LEGO, or indeed any other items, from Amazon.

We've been tweaking and optimising the Bargain Watch system ever since it launched, but if you have any suggestions for how the system can be further improved then please send me an e-mail or post a comment below; similarly, if there are sets which you notice are available direct from Amazon in any country but which aren't appearing on the listings then please let me know and I'll add them.


  1. only recently started selling LEGO sets. As we rarely get the big sales Americans do (and pay significantly more), I really appreciate the watchlist. I scooped up Jabba's Palace for 33% off, under $100 cdn. It retails for $150 cdn.

    TRU doesn't mark-up LEGO as bad as they do in the USA, fortunately, but they do tack on a few extra bucks on some sets. Recently TRU sales have been "*up to 20% off" and chintzy, so I get most of my LEGO from amazon or the LEGO shop.

    Thanks a lot! Great service.

    1. Cheers, R. - we only recently added the listings, so I'm delighted to hear that you're finding them useful !

  2. I have done all my Christmas and birthday shopping for my boys off that bargain watch-I really appreciate all of your hard work (and Huw's hard work)
    LOVE Brickset as well as this blog

  3. Anonymous28/2/14

    Thanks for posting about this! I just noticed the bargain watch page on Brickset a couple of days ago, and I really dig it. This is going to make buying a lot easier, and save me some money.