Chrono Hunter Compares Panerai Radiomir California And Panerai Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech - Which Is Best?
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Chrono Hunter Compares Panerai Radiomir California And Panerai Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech - Which Is Best?

Chrono Hunter Compares Panerai Radiomir California And Panerai Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech - Which Is Best?


Panerai has a few collections in their timekeeping portfolio that are fantastic in their own right. Keen watch fans will instantly recognise the Luminor and the Luminor 1950 as two stand outs. 

Need we mention the limited edition Luminor Lab-ID Carbotech which is capped at 50 pieces with an ‘Ultra Black’ dial? Of course, Panerai have been associated with Ferrari since 2005, resulting in a stunning collab which lasted until 2010 with subsequent releases like the Granturismo and Scuderia collections. Strap yourselves in time peeps.

While we could talk about the extensive collections from Panerai and their immense pros, we will instead cast our eyes to the similarly lauded Radiomir collection. In particular, we will be facing off two models, The Radiomir California and The Radiomir Quaranta. Talk about Gone in 60 Seconds!

Join us as we discuss their pros and cons and see how this mighty duel fares.


Brand Reputation And History of Panerai


The brand sprung into the world of watchmaking in 1860. Founded by a gentleman named Giovanni Panerai, the business was founded in Florence and it combined both the watch shop, workshop and subsequent first ever watchmaking school located in the city. 


Radiomir 3646 - Source - Sotheby’s

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56 years later in 1916, the brand would create a patent that revolutionised the entire horological universe. We know how pedantic that sounds but it really was that incredible! They were predominantly centred around creating precision instruments for the Italian Royal Navy. 

This was for things including combat sights and compasses. In conjunction with Commander Carlo Ronconi, the brand started to use radium based powder within the tools. To those who despised science at school, Radium is luminescent, allowing clearer vision in darkness. 

Upon the usage of Radium in these tools, the brand quickly patented the radium paste, naming it ‘Radiomir’ and soon became an integral part of their production. As we all well know, the patent didn't just stop at military tools.

In 1935, the first Radiomir prototype was released. Designed for the Italian Royal Navy who had started a secret underwater project of assault vehicles and operators, the brand needed to create a few timepieces to assist with this. That same year, the Radiomir 3646 was born, bringing forth the bulky 47mm cushion casing we all know and love as well as luminescence numerals and indexes. 

The very distinct 4 Arabic numeral dial and 8 baton shaped numerals were created for this very watch and have remained a strong part of the collection. It’s a bit like wearing your best tailored suit from Savile Row. You know it's there, it performs well in all manner of smart surroundings and is made to last. 

They patented the name “Luminor” in 1949 as it offered a more neutral name instead of the highly radioactive element of radium. Luminor would eventually become significantly less harmful after rigorous experimentation with the initial concoction blended with a tritium style substance. 


Luminor 6152/1 - Source - Philipps

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During the 1960’s, the Luminor watches continued to evolve. The use of radium paste was now extinct due to the overlapping disc dials, or sandwich dials, leaving Luminor to take centre stage. Very obvious design features like a crown protection bridge as noted in the middle of the case of the Ref 6152/1. 

Furthermore, the Luminor also started to use a mechanical calibre named the Angelus S7240 which had an 8 day power reserve, prompting the design feature of the power reserve we see today. As an even bigger flex, the brand became the leader of the open case back styling, due to a few of their watches around this era having a caseback crafted out of plexiglass. 

In 2008, the brand launched their own in-house calibres, the P.9000 and P.2006. The P.9000 is characterised by a 72 hour power reserve while the P.2006 follows on from the P.2004 single pusher chronograph with the special feature of a split second function. 

Now, Timelords. History is history, and the past is the past. They have continued to evolve as seen at this year's Watches and Wonders 2023. Amongst releases like the Radiomir Otto Giorni, Calendario Annuale Platinumtech Experience and some new updates to the Annual Calendar 01432 and PAM0142, we find ourselves this time round looking at two equally stunning models, The Panerai Radiomir California and Panerai Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech. 


Design and Craftsmanship - Radiomir California vs Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech


Both watches have vastly different constructions. Without exposing too much, too soon, one retains the classic Panerai allure, while the other is a rebel with a cause. Sorry, James Dean…

The Radiomir California prides itself on a little term we horologists love. Vintage! As Gen-Z are turning their backs on the modern tech that excited generations before, vintage watches are becoming decidedly more popular. In fact, there is such a trend for older things that folks who intentionally patina items have become the norm. This essentially relates to the timepieces that have an aged effect gleaned from the manufacturing process, not out of long term use. 

While the pre-patina effect is a decisive talking point amongst collectors, we happen to think it's a stunning use of ingenuity. That’s if it's done well, of course.


California - Source - SwissWatchesMagazine 

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The Radiomir Quaranta in Goldtech has gone in a completely different direction. This model has instead prided itself on that new glaze of colour, shine and size. This watch is crafted out of the brand's very own ‘Goldtech’. 

You’re probably wondering what the heck Goldtech is? Goldtech blends your average precious metal with a certain percentage of copper, resulting in a reddish shine that's akin only to the brands models that use the material. It’s strikingly modern, moving away from the vintage style the California goes for. 

The case of the California is crafted out of Brunito eSteel. But what exactly is this unorthodox material? eSteel is essentially recycled steel that actually results in a more durable construction. While we don't know the science behind it, we only know the facts. It’s nice to see a brand as big as they are doing every little bit to help the environment, even if it does make for a great sales pitch at retail. 

The case measures 45mm and is conditioned with a PVD layer. This isn't just thrown on willy-nilly however, Timelords. It’s given a brush by hand, allowing the case to have a rustic allure. Since it is hand produced, each timepiece is unique, resulting in a watch that only you have claim to. The brand cleverly knows when to blend modern tech with old school stylings. The acrylic crystal of older watches is exchanged for a sapphire crystal that is constructed in the same way as the old acrylic editions. 

The case of the Quaranta Goldtech is at a shocking 40mm. A Panerai watch at just 40mm? Have they missed a trick? Uh-uh. This is all part of their plan, Timelords. As the trend of smaller watches continues, it only makes sense that the brand would put their latest material, (Goldtech), in the latest horological event (Watches and Wonders 2023), and unveil it at a very modern 40mm. 


They are certainly moving with the times. Plus, it’s a strong deviation from the stainless steel tool watch styling of the Panerai California. 


Quaranta - Source - New York Times

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The Quaranta retains its classic cushion construction but modernised it with a flatter sapphire crystal as opposed to the domed construction of the California. Can we appreciate the thinness of the case too? Sizing at 10.15mm thickness, it's even slimmer than the highly presidential Rolex Day-Date 40mm 228238 which is 12.1mm. 

The dial of the California takes the watch to an entirely different level. The background of the dial is a stunning British Racing Green which has enough depth to sink the Titanic! The golden minute track which edges the periphery while the cream indices stand out very clearly from the darker dial face. 

To those who know their dials, you will know that the ‘California’ dial prides itself on a few unique features. This dial style features Roman numeral hour markers from 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock, two baton indices at 3 and 9 o’clock and the remaining indices being Arabic numerals. This dial construction is entirely unique and utilised very infrequently. The blued steel hands run over them clearly, complimenting the entire piece majestically. 

Admittedly, the California dial is as cool as George Clooney on a hot summer’s day. However, The Quaranta Goldtech goes for a classic colour combination of gold casing with a stunning eggshell white dial face. The sandwich dial keeps things clean with the golden Arabic numerals at 12 and 6 o'clock and baton indices for the rest. Featuring a power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock and a date aperture at 3 o’clock, the watches complications are not overbearing and instead give the dial face many interesting dimensions. 

As if The California couldn't get any sweeter, the entire ensemble is given a stunning brown calf-leather strap, named Ponte Vecchio. Mamma Mia! Do we even have to say that it's been given a dirty vintage sheen? The Quaranta Goldtech uses a brown alligator strap which matches the luxury refinement of the timepiece. 

While we can appreciate the level of detail that The California has in terms of its pre-patina and deep green dial, the Quaranta Goldtech takes the edge with its unorthodox 40mm sizing and use of the in-house material Goldtech. 


We therefore award the design and craftsmanship round to The Panerai Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech.


Which Model Is Most Popular - Radiomir California vs Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech


This is a very tough question.


California - Source - Panerai

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Due to the pair being launched at Watches and Wonders 2023 just a few months ago, it's difficult to properly determine the popularity of each timepiece at the time of writing. However, we can give you a timekeeping spoiler and say that both models have the potential to be immensely popular. 

The California brings together a stunning blend of modern technology due to incorporating the sapphire crystal and P.5000 updated calibre. This gives it a vintage-inspired allure through the removal of any burnish or shine. And it emanates a patina effect which is highly desirable among the Gen-Z watch community. 

The Quaranta Goldtech seeks to do the exact opposite. Through using Goldtech to create a stunning shine which is only attainable through their in-house material and the 40mm sizing, the watch is geared towards modernity and the latest trend of smaller case sizing.

Your guess is as good as ours! We, therefore, deem the popularity round to be a draw.


Prices of Radiomir California vs Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech


Both timepieces are not cheap by any means. 

California - Source - Panerai

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Panerai watches by their very nature do tend to be more affordable than their luxury counterparts like Rolex or Audemars Piguet. This is due to these brands having a stronger reputation while having their demand rise significantly above their supply. 

The Quaranta Goldtech and The California seem to take the middle ground in the brands' price range. Take for example the Luminor collection. As a very popular collection, the prices typically range from £4,900 for the Luminor Base Logo while the Luminor Tourbillon GMT is valued at £159,500 at retail. 

The Radiomir collection fares the same way. The prices range from £5,200 for the Radiomir Quaranta to the Radiomir Tourbillon GMT Bronzo for £143,400 at retail. To compare, you can 



The prices are very reasonable for the two models in regard to the rest of their timepieces. They have every chance of being potentially solid investments and increasing in price upon resale due to its stylings and craftsmanship. The mystery that is present behind the California in terms of its vintage stylings, means it can be worn in a variety of situations. 

Adorn this beauty with a grey slate suit to keep with the eSteel case or dress it down with a dark green cashmere jumper to link with the rich dial. The watch has every potential of being a solid investment piece due to its unique brushed finish, uncommon green dial and its eye-catching, California dial styling. 


Arnold Schwarzenegger - Source - The Mirror

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The Quaranta Goldtech is the modern face of Panerai. It unapologetically goes against the values of size and bulkiness that the brand has prided itself on, instead going for refinement and its choice of precious metals. 

This isn’t a watch for the Arnold Schwarzenegger’s of the world though. It’s the kind of timepiece you could wear for the all important business meeting in your black suit to shaking hands with your father-in-law at a family function in your jeans and T-shirt! Yet, this watch could be a solid investment piece due to its Goldtech material, modern 40mm design and all round combativeness against the stylings of the brand.

The Quaranta Goldtech is more expensive than the California by £5,100. This isn't loose change I am afraid, Timelords. While the pricing is a significant difference, The Quaranta Goldtech is crafted out of the more valuable precious metal material, as opposed to the recycled stainless steel build of the California. 

We, therefore, give the pricing round to The Panerai Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech. 


Accuracy of Radiomir California vs Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech


The California is powered by the P.5000. As an in-house manual wind mechanical movement, the timepiece is in extremely good hands!


Quaranta - Source - Perpetual Passion

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The calibre provides a stunning 8 days worth of power reserve. Screw the weekend, take this off for a week if you wanted. Of course, you certainly wouldn't want to! Beating at a fairly hardy 3Hz, the watch is a reliable beast that can take you through your everyday life with simplicity and ease. 

The Quaranta Goldtech uses the P.900 calibre. As an automatic calibre, the watch is powered to a strong 28,800VpH and given a power reserve of 3 days. Enough to take it on board for that overseas business event and be back in the office Monday morning. While it runs faster than the California, it does leave a sizable gap in the power reserve department. We are all for speed here at Chrono Hunter but power reserve is of optimum importance too.

We therefore give the accuracy round to The Panerai Radiomir California. 


Best Panerai Watches For Investment


There are a multitude of top Panerai watches to buy and invest in 2023.


Although the brand's watches by their very nature do not tend to do so well upon resale, there are some models which have the potential to yield solid results. This is predominantly due to these novelties being either vintage or very rare. 


Slytech Submersible - Source - Sotheby’s

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Take for example the Slytech Submersible PAM 5218-205A. First released in 1996, the watch was capped at 200 pieces and has since been worn by the greats like Sylvester Stallone. Adrian was definitely onto something! As such, its rarity and its associations with a strong celebrity clientele, allow this watch to increase in value. 


  • You can buy a Panerai Slytech Submersible for around £20,400 at the time of writing. 


Not enough? The brand also has some timepieces which can be valued for extortionate figures. For example, The Prototype Luminor was created in 1955 and represented Panerai’s early examples of experimentation with diving watches. The bezel is removable which is an unheard of feature. 


  • You can buy a Panerai 1955 Prototype Luminor for around £400,000 as shown during a Sotheby’s auction value in 2014. 


Some of the standard models don’t fare too badly either. The Radiomir Tourbillon GMT Bronzo is one such example. Capped at 30 pieces, the timepiece is one of the rare Panerai examples of a skeletonised dial coupled with a tourbillon escapement. 


  • You can buy a Panerai Radiomir Tourbillon GMT Bronzo at retail for £143,400. 


L’Astronomo Luminor - Source - ATimelyPerspective

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In another collection like the Luminor, cast your eyes over the sterling L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation of Time GMT. This timepiece houses incredible functions like the Equation of Time, Sunrise and Sunset Times, moon phases indicator on the back and a Tourbillon feature. We are getting a little hot under the horological collar here with all these complications.

With a power reserve of 96 hours and the option to customise the watches case material and finish, it's probably fair to assume this is no cheap timepiece! 


  • You can buy a Panerai L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation of Time GMT when you request a price.


Does The Radiomir California and Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech Hold Their Value?


As we said previously, it’s difficult to tell at this moment in time. 

As horologists, we are always guessing, second guessing and predicting. So for the time being, we are assuming both timepieces do have the potential to hold their value. The California follows the classic design codes of its predecessors but introduces pre-patina effects which is highly desirable among watch collectors at the moment. 

Meanwhile, The Panerai Quaranta Goldtech is crafted out of the in-house Goldtech material which still utilises the precious metal. Put this in conjunction with the highly unusual 40mm sizing for the brands models, and you have a timepiece which could represent the dawn of things to come. How desirable!

The Quaranta Goldtech is crafted out of a precious metal that always has a good chance of holding its own in terms of value. The Panerai California has a stunning green dial and unique face but simply doesn’t pull the same rarity in terms of materials. 


We therefore give the value round to The Panerai Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech


5 Reasons To Buy A Panerai Radiomir California 


  • It boasts a highly distinctive California dial face.
  • Gives a nod to the classic sizing of earlier models.
  • Features in-demand pre-patina effects which are highly desirable among avid enthusiasts.
  • Environmentally friendly features with their eSteel Brunito casing.
  • The green dial face is very unorthodox and looks fantastic against the vintage theme.


5 Reasons To Buy A Panerai Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech


  • It has a contemporary 40mm case sizing.
  • Stunning use of in-house Goldtech materials.
  • The white dial looks sublime against the gold.
  • It has 171 separate components.
  • It’s a rebellious timepiece that could be the future of the brand!


5 Reasons To Buy A Panerai Watch Through Chrono Hunter


  • Peerless service from our phenomenal customer service team. Contact us anytime!
  • We are experts on the brand and can ascertain the true value of any Panerai watch.
  • Easy and rapid access to the best possible prices through our dedicated app which can be downloaded via Apple and Android marketplace.
  • Receive multiple offers on watches via our wide selection of trusted luxury watch retailers.
  • Easy to use online form which you can access anywhere.




Well, Timelords. Feeling the urge to buy a Panerai? We have reached the end of our journey between the two timepieces. We personally believe that The Panerai Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech may be the best option for those investors out there or those who are looking for a radical Panerai. 

We wouldn't blame you if you chose the Panerai California however, due to the classic sizing, in demand California dial and the deep green colouring which many watches are indulging in! Yes, we’ve seen the brutish brawn of the classic Panerai California, accentuated even further by the deliberate vintage stylings on the hand brushed case and battered strap. 

And we’ve seen in the other corner, the sleek style of the Panerai Quaranta Goldtech. Its forward thinking 40mm design and Goldtech material means the piece is the epicentre of Panerai’s modern timekeeping outlook.

Both released during Watches and Wonders 2023, the timepieces are both credits to the brand and are spearheading the brand this year. The decision to which one is the best, really comes down to personal preference. Do you want to buy a Panerai with modern stylings that evolve the brand, or, do you buy a Panerai for the classics being mastered with little updates along the way? 

Have we got you revved up to buy a Panerai watch? Investing in watches has never been easier when using ChronoHunter. We are your best horological friend when you decide to buy a watch or sell a watch. Make time and contact us today to see exactly why we are highly revered. Using our expansive selection of the most reputable luxury watch retailers, we can ensure the best possible prices so you can enjoy the watch of your dreams in a matter of hours. 


Further Reading:

Match Time - Audemars Piguet v Breitling

Chrono Hunter's Bold Predictions And Outlandish Forecasts For The Watch Industry In 2023

Everything You Need To Know Before You Sell Your Panerai


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