B&W’s Iconic Nautilus Gets a Stunning New Finish to Commemorate 30th Anniversary

It's been 30 years since Bowers and Wilkins introduced one of the world's most intriguing speakers, the utterly unique Nautilus speaker — an example of outside-of-the-box thinking if there ever was one. To commemorate the milestone, the iconic British brand is offering a new made-to-order version of the speaker featuring a stunning Abalone Pearl finish, which resembles the color of the internal shell of the marine mollusk that inspired the Nautilus name.

The cost? $70,000 a pair.

Nautilus was the brainchild of B&W founder John Bowers, who initiated the project shortly before he passed away in 1987, leaving lead engineer Laurence Dickie to fulfill the dream six years later.

The idea behind Nautilus was simple, but immensely challenging: “Make a loudspeaker that doesn’t sound like a loudspeaker.” Armed with an exceptionally wide brief, no time constraints, and few limitations related to practicality or cost, the aim of the Nautilus project was to “explore how many of the negative effects of the loudspeaker enclosure could be eliminated by innovative design.”

The result was a revolution in loudspeaker engineering that introduced the concept of an exponentially tapered tube to loudspeaker design. The Nautilus tube would go on to win a Queen’s Award for Innovation and was just one of many breakthroughs developed for the Nautilus project that would influence all of the company’s future product design, including future versions of the revered B&W 801 speaker introduced in 1980.

Today’s Nautilus is hand-built at B&W's facility in Worthing, England following the same painstaking process used in 1993. It takes more than a week just to build one speaker enclosure — and that doesn’t include sanding, painting, and polishing. It’s no wonder demand has consistently outstripped supply over the years with the waiting list for a new Nautilus currently standing at two years.

“While Bowers & Wilkins is committed to advancing the future of high-performance audio across all of our product portfolio, Nautilus remains of the highest importance to all of us,” said Dave Sheen, B&W brand president. “It readily communicates everything that is exceptional about Bowers & Wilkins and our no-holds-barred approach to creating the world’s best-sounding, most beautifully designed audio products.”

Blue metallic, silver, and black color options are available in addition to the new Abalone Pearl finish. The company also offers a custom-finish service at an extra cost. For more information on the remarkable Nautilus speaker, visit bowerswilkins.com.