Bowers & Wilkins Celebrate 30 Years of Nautilus with $187,000 ‘Abalone Pearl’ Speaker
Thirty years since it was first unveiled, legendary audio giant Bowers & Wilkins has lifted the covers on a new version of its award-winning Nautilus speaker and it doesn’t disappoint. The commemorative speaker arrives in an out-of-this-world-looking opalescent colourway that blends innovative design with classic artistic flair. Even after three-odd decades, the Nautilus is still entirely made by hand, a sentiment to the level of dedication and craftsmanship that goes into making such premium masterpieces. This new ‘Abalone Pearl’ colourway is “directly influenced by the inside of the marine creature it takes its name from” and epitomises the brand’s philosophy in almost every aspect.
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While the Nautilus’ looks and design might be enough to steal all the limelight, the company argues that its “distinctive form is not there to attract attention or create desire.” Instead, the whole design is solely driven by function. The company’s founder John Bowers’ quest to minimise a speaker cabinet’s intrinsic sonic influence laid the groundwork for the Nautilus. The main idea was to develop a speaker that “didn’t sound like a loudspeaker.” To carry out his grand mission, John Bowers recruited Laurence Dickie to spearhead the Nautilus project and was given “incredible” and absolute artistic freedom to accomplish Bowers’ end goal.
Dickie and his team developed the reverse-horn enclosure, featuring tubes that start wide at the driver end and progressively taper in size. The length of each tube corresponds to the amount of rear-firing driver energy that needs to be absorbed.
As per Bowers & Wilkins, “many of the key technologies found in Nautilus, and crafted by Dick, are found in almost every speaker” even now. While the company calls the Nautilus Speaker a “visually arresting” gem of a speaker, the idea behind it was “defined by the science of sound, remaining a constant reminder of what’s possible.”
“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,” Dave Sheen, brand president of Bowers & Wilkins said. “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.”
If you’re interested in treating yourself to Bowers & Wilkins’ Nautilus speaker, then all you need is a boatload of patience and deep pockets. The complex manufacturing process and limited production capacity make owning the Nautilus speaker no easy feat.
So for those ready to wait for almost a year and fork out around USD$125,000 (AUD$187,181) on the Abalone Pearl, the whiff of exclusivity that comes with owning one will definitely make it worthwhile. Besides the 30th anniversary Abalone Pearl variant, the Nautilus comes in three standard colours: Midnight Blue Metallic, Silver, and Black.