Cagau & Luxury watches: A guide on what to buy for the first time - GulfToday

Cagau & Luxury watches: A guide on what to buy for the first time

With the introduction of new brands, models and technologies, luxury watches have plenty of choices nowadays. This makes it important for first-time buyers to carefully research different factors to make a thoughtful purchase. So we took this question to Jay Barker, founder & manager of Cagau, a leading luxury watch customisation firm in Dubai, who shared some interesting insights to help out first-time luxury watch buyers.

A Rolex watch on display.

Starting on the basics, he said, “The two most important things to consider when buying a luxury watch for the first time is the budget and what are you going to use the watch for;  is it for a special occasion, daily use, or for investment value?” He says answering these questions will help first-time buyers get a clear idea on the kind of luxury watch they need to buy.

Getting in detail with specific watch preferences, Barker said, "For an elegant everyday watch, I would suggest the Rolex Datejust; either the jubilee or the oyster bracelet. The jubilee bracelet is slightly better in terms of everyday usability as it doesn’t scratch too much, but it’s entirely one’s personal taste. Santos de Cartier is also a beautiful everyday watch, especially the new collection that is extra thin with a fashionable new design. For those who are more sportive, then I think one cannot go wrong with a classic Rolex Submariner for an everyday watch.”


For those who want their luxury watches to reflect their style and personality, Barker suggests customisation as the best option. He suggests customisations such as a different bezel, adding diamonds or a rubber strap as long as it fits one’s personal taste. He also recommends buyers to customise watches after considering where they will be wearing the watches often for.

Barker said, “full diamond customisation is more suitable as an evening or special occasion watch, whereas part diamonds or rubber straps are a day or beach watch.” He also mentioned, “Rolex Datejust is a popular luxury watch that provides ample opportunities for experimentation and it’s also a model that Cagau customises frequently.”


Addressing buyer preference in terms of professional presentation, such as for real estate owners and business people who wear suits every day, Barker suggests Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak collection as the most iconic choice.

Considering the interests of watch enthusiasts, he said, "If you're passionate about watches, their movements, how they work and history, then Patek Philippe stands as one of the best options. This brand has a long heritage, the movements of these watches are exquisite and upholds complex engineering."

If buyers are aligning more into asset value perceptions with their first luxury watch purchase, then it's recommended to stick to vintage and limited editions from reliable brands. The recent market patterns indicate that these watches are promising to rise to a higher value in the pre-owned market, even above the price one bought. For example, the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 is presently selling for more than double its retail price — and vintage examples of the Rolex Daytona have been skyrocketing in the pre-owned market as well.


Furthering his guide, Barker mentioned, "Before making a choice according to your preference, you should also consider your budget. Never put too much money into a single watch purchase unless you want to invest in a piece that has the potential to sell. But, if you decide to buy something at the top-end of your budget, it's best to go for a really popular watch from leading brands, which tends to increase in value. That way, you can easily sell, get out of the watch, and also get your money back or even a slightly higher value, depending on its demand.”

Barker breaks down luxury watch prices into three ranges: Entry-Level, Mid-Range & High-End.

Entry-level prices will usually feature steel case, solid steel bracelet, Swiss or Japanese automatic movements, applied dial elements and three-dimensional dials, strong lume, solid construction with a good fit and finish. Examples include watches from Cartier, Hublot, and some low-end Rolex. 

Mid-Range prices will usually feature in-house movements, chronometer or other certifications, exotic materials, a good fit, and finish. Examples include Audemars Piguet and some Rolex editions.

High-End price ranges will feature refined and original designs that are hand-finished, exotic materials, handcrafts and techniques with complicated movements & prestigious certifications. Examples include Gold Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe & Richard Mille.

Concluding his recommendations to first-time luxury watch buyers, the Cagau founder said, "Always make sure your first luxury watch purchase is something that you love. If you love it, you can enjoy it; it doesn't matter what happens with the value. And if you love it, there'll be someone else who is going to love it as well."

For more information about Cagau, visit:

Related articles