Cavenago is a third generation, Milan, Italy based watch company that specializes in watches that really interest me.  First, dive watches are among my favorite type of watch.  Second, the brand is not highly recognized in the watch world.  Third, they only produce 899 watches per year; I don’t know how they came up with that unusually limited production number.  And fourth, the watches exude the highest quality and attention to detail.

For this review I have the Tricolore II, ref. CAV-1028, number 29 of 100.  The first thing I noticed about this watch is it’s brushed black 316L stainless steel with PVD finish.  Second, is the domed, sapphire, Superluminova, 15 minutes, 120 click, unidirectional dive bezel.

This is the first sapphire bezel I have seen on a dive watch and it is fantastic.  Most dive watches are marked for 60 minutes, but I really doubt too many divers need more than 15 minutes.  The bezel is very solid and has an excellent double row, military tire edge that is very easy to grip.  The third feature of this watch that caught my eyes is the substantial, 10 o’clock, screw down, gear edge, signed brushed crown.  It is extremely well made and solid.  The cut out in the side of the case for it is absolutely perfect.  This is the best dive watch crown I have ever run across.

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The pure white fence post hour and minute hands with the white sword second hand on black face makes this watch very readable.  The face has eight square markers, two rectangular markers at 3 and 9 o’clock with a 12 and 6. All of the indices are well lumed, as well as the hour and minute hands.  There are no minute or second markings on the face, which is appropriate for this particular face design.  Combined with the vertical Italian racing stripe on the right side of the face and the just right text on both the upper and lower half of the face and the domed sapphire crystal, this watch screams business with a very modern flair that stands out from most other dive watches.  The watch case, by my measurements, is 46 mm in diameter by 17 mm thick, 52 mm lug to lug with a 24mm lug width and a silicon strap that tapers from 24mm to 22mm.  It sits somewhat high on my 7-inch wrist but is very comfortable to wear.

The silicon strap stands out for its center groove that recesses the strap holes and its performance tire tread pattern on the straps back side, which helps prevent the watch from slipping on the wrist.  It also has two strap loops, one strap loop retainer and a very nice black brushed, signed, stainless buckle that is solidly thick without being overbearing.  The watch strap lugs are drilled and screwed for this strap. The screw down, stainless steel circular brushed finished case back stands out for having 12 machined round holes in its outer beveled edge.  The engraved brand name circling the flat area of the case back and the engraved words “DIVING 1000 METERS” in the center of the case back along with the engraved serial number, gives the watch a cool tool look.  The only puzzle on the case back are the engraved Roman numerals “XVII” above the serial number.  I do not know what this number 17 refers to.

Powering this solid dive watch is the most well-known and popular Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic movement.  It is a 25-jewel workhorse that runs at 28,800 bph and has a 38-hour power reserve. This movement is offered in four levels of adjustment; standard, elaborate, top grade or chronometer. I do not know the grade of this particular movement, but my example is about 10 seconds a day fast.  I have not seen a serious dive watch of higher overall quality than the Cavenago Tricolore II that isn’t really a homage to other dive watch designs.  All Cavenago watch models are very limited production per year. $2,150 USD.

Bert Kanne is a freelance contributor to MBWW with a love for well made dive watches and chronographs. All photos by Bert Kanne unless otherwise noted.