Jay Barker and Cagau: Becoming the World's Leading Custom Watch Specialist
Filed on July 6, 2021 | Last updated on July 6, 2021 at 03.11 pm
From selling custom watches in coffee shops and hotel lobbies, Jay Barker, Founder & Director of Cagau, elevates his firm to a leading figure in the global bespoke luxury market.
As with many amazing businesses, the idea that led to the formation of Cagau happens to uproot from an unpleasant or perhaps costly experience Barker had to go through. Sharing this experience, he said, "I wanted to customize my Cartier watch by adding diamonds to it, and I gave it to a person here that was recommended. To my surprise, the customization was a mess- the diamonds fell off, and my watch was damaged. That's originally when I thought there must be a way to do it properly here. Besides that, Dubai naturally is a land rich in diamonds, gold, and, most importantly, skilled labor, which made my idea more feasible to invest in. So, I started Cagau as a solo venture, and the company grew from there."
When Cagau was formed in 2016, Barker started selling custom diamond-set watches to individual customers; meeting originally in coffee shops and hotel lobbies. As the popularity of the products grew, Barker set up an online store to offer Cagau services worldwide. As of 2021, even amidst the catastrophic event of the Covid pandemic, Cagau retains a stable position in the global bespoke luxury market.
"Despite the reduced foot traffic, we experienced a high online sales rate throughout 2020 - with a spike in international sales. Our growing loyal client network across the world is also a fundamental reason that led to the successful launch of a new Cagau showroom in Gold and Diamond Park, Dubai- in March this year, which has elevated the business further," said the leading entrepreneur.
Upon asking why people love bespoke luxury watches, Barker being a luxury watch enthusiast and a collector himself, says, "The millennial and the following demographic cohort perceive luxury as experience, more than a mere material possession for reflecting wealth. People don't like to see their friends or anybody having a similar luxury good they own- especially after spending a lot on it. Instead, people want to reflect personal taste and a sense of uniqueness through a luxury purchase. This helps them attain a true one-of-a-kind experience which increases the zest and enthusiasm for life. At Cagau, this is why we strive to perform by our motto 'taking rarity to a whole new level,' thereby delivering customers the true essence of a luxury experience".
While Rolex watches are the main focus, Cagau also customizes many other luxury watch brands such as Audemars Piguet, Cartier, Patek Philippe, and Barker's personal favorite, Richard Mille. Alongside the specialization in luxury watch customizations, Barker, who also happens to be a diamond lover, has extended Cagau services to the diamond setting as well. Their diamonds are sourced from ethical suppliers throughout Dubai, Russia, Australia, Canada, and India.
The finesse, elegance, and exquisite custom details Cagau brings out in all their timepieces, using flawless craftsmanship, have received warm responses since their inception. The overwhelming requests by its existing client portfolio lead to the launch of their very own exclusive custom-made Cagau jewellery in 2020 - just after four years of entering the bespoke luxury watch market.
With aspirations to upgrade Cagau into a comprehensive global brand for luxury watches and jewellery customization, the founder of Cagau also shared a valuable entrepreneurial lesson for startups from his journey. He says, "While mistakes and uncertainties are inevitable as a young business, the goal is to never give up and always remember that customer service is key within the luxury market. If you don't give customers the best luxury experience possible, they can go elsewhere. Whereas, if you meet their precise expectations, it retains you a loyal customer base and helps with word-of-mouth to grow your business."