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B&W’s Nautilus Celebrates 30th Anniversary With New Finish

Bowers & Wilkins has produced a unique pair in an Abalone Pearl finish.

To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the iconic Nautilus loudspeaker, Bowers & Wilkins has produced a unique pair in a dramatic Abalone Pearl finish. Pearl is, of course, the perfect color for a 30th Anniversary — and it’s all the more appropriate since it’s also the color of the internal shell of the marine mollusk that inspired the Nautilus name.

Bowers & Wilkins - Nautilus 30th Anniversary - Full Shot

That Nautilus is still the most visually arresting speaker available, even some 30 years after its introduction, is testimony to the remarkable, ground-breaking vision of both company founder John Bowers, who initiated the Nautilus project shortly before he passed away, and the lead engineer who would eventually deliver on that legacy, Laurence Dickie.

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 Nautilus emerged almost as a concept car made a reality, a radical five-year project to explore how many of the negative effects of the loudspeaker enclosure could be eliminated by innovative design.

Bowers & Wilkins - Nautilus 30th Anniversary - Closeup - Rear

The result was a revolution in loudspeaker engineering that introduced the concept of the 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 subsequently influence all the company’s future product design. Alongside the 801, the choice of music industry professionals the world over, Nautilus was a key element in elevating Bowers & Wilkins into the world’s leading audio brand.

Thirty years later, Nautilus is still built the same way. Ironically for a company that has taken the manufacturing of audiophile speakers to new industry standards of automated precision, building a pair Nautilus is a painstaking hand-built process. Simply building one speaker enclosure takes over a week — and that’s before any notions of sanding, painting, or polishing each cabinet are involved. Small wonder that demand for Nautilus has consistently outstripped supply throughout its 30-year existence, with the waiting list for a new model currently standing at two years.

Nautilus is available in three standard colors: Midnight Blue Metallic, Silver, and Black. Bowers & Wilkins also offers a custom-finish service that will match the product’s color to any reference the customer chooses at an extra cost.

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