Bowers & Wilkins Nautilus
When Bowers & Wilkins set out to create the world’s best loudspeaker, we asked ourselves some fundamental questions. Is it possible to create a theoretically perfect speaker – one that produces next to no distortion? Does a speaker have to be a box? If you remove the box, what would a speaker look like? More importantly, what would it sound like? The result was the Bowers & Wilkins Nautilus.
These technologies include the famous tube-loaded tweeter, which can even be found in an adapted form on B&W’s latest revolution in sound performance, the Zeppelin iPod® speaker, as well as the brand’s pace-setting new Custom Installation speakers. And the lessons learned regarding drive unit design have improved the performance of everything from B&W’s high-end 800 Series to the incredibly popular 600 Series.
Traditionally, the Bowers & Wilkins Nautilus comes in three colours: silver, black, and midnight blue. But Bowers & Wilkins now offers a special service allowing its more artistically-minded customers to choose exactly which colour they want – and the possibilities are truly endless. Colour and delivery by agreement.
Nautilus demands craftsmanship from skilled people. For instance, the Nautilus shell’s pearlescent finish comes from 12 carefully applied lacquer coats containing aluminium and mica particles, and a unique baking and curing system.
Nautilus is an icon of speaker design. Form followed function in a quest for audio perfection; design awards followed. Nautilus was accorded a Millennium Award and has been seen at the Design Council and the Design Museum London.
Crucial drive unit components are made using a mix of hand-assembly techniques and semi-automatic production. For example, voice coils are wet-wound with high-temperature resin, then baked in a special oven to ensure enhanced performance and durability. This perfectionism makes for a slow production process, but ensures we consistently reach world-class levels of quality.
Nautilus’s beautifully curved, seamless exterior is moulded from 10mm-thick, glass-reinforced ABS, like a Formula One racing car. Stiff, solid and durable, with no sharp edges to diffract sound, it’s ideal for a speaker enclosure.
Nautilus comes in three standard colours: silver, black and midnight blue. But, as befits such a unique speaker, we also offer a special service that can match any colour you specify from a sample or colour reference
A Lasting Legacy
Our founder, John Bowers, always dreamed of building the perfect speaker – one that brings sounds to the listener exactly as they were recorded. His dream inspires all Bowers & Wilkins designs. And it’s why we set out on the groundbreaking, five year research and development programme that resulted in Nautilus. The result is the dream of a visionary audio engineer made into reality.
Nautilus is a truly ground-breaking high-performance loudspeaker. It received wide acclaim when it launched, and now two decades on it still garners praise including being cited as one of the best high-end loudspeakers ever.
Even the greatest artists need a sound check before they perform. We test every Nautilus drive unit across all frequencies, far beyond the boundaries of human hearing. Then, when fully assembled, we test them all over again.
About Bowers & Wilkins
1960s: Humble beginnings
The sleepy coastal town of Worthing in South England might not look like a hotbed of 1960s freewheeling experimentation, but for audio fans it’s a place that’s synonymous with innovation. Thanks to the first Bowers & Wilkins speakers built here in the early years of the company, music lovers could experience albums such as Sgt. Pepper and Pet Sounds in new, mind-expanding depth and clarity.
1970s: A decade of milestones
The decade that saw a series of musical upheavals from disco to punk rock also brought several major milestones for Bowers & Wilkins. The company introduced curved cabinet forms and new cone materials such as Aramid fibre. And it all culminated in the launch of the 801, soon to become the reference speaker of choice for many of the world’s leading recording studios.
1980s: The application of science
Extensive investment in research led to the establishment of the company’s dedicated R&D facility in Steyning. The era of MTV pop superstardom and bombastic stadium rock also saw Bowers & Wilkins buck the trend and introduce something small and unobtrusive: the “compact monitor”, or CM1.
1990s: Rewriting the rulebook
The 1990s saw the pioneering work of the Steyning research team realised in spectacular fashion with the launch of Nautilus™, a speaker that upended preconceived notions of speaker design. It also saw major product launches at both ends of the spectrum, with the unveiling of the highly regarded entry-level 600 Series and the flagship Nautilus 800 Series.
2000s: Hi-fi goes digital
The decade that brought us iPods and smartphones saw us embrace the new world of digital with the launch of the Zeppelin. We also expanded into the car audio market with our partnership with Jaguar, and launched a revolutionary new speaker technology in the form of diamond tweeter domes.
The 2010s: Innovation overdrive
Monumental technological change seemed to be everywhere in the 2010s, and Bowers & Wilkins was no exception.