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Our story

50 years of excellence


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.


1966: Beginnings

John Bowers begins assembling speaker systems in the workshop of his electronics shop in Worthing, South East England.



B&W Electronics founded

Following an inheritance of £10,000 from a satisfied customer, John Bowers sets up his own loudspeaker company.

P1 P1

1966: P1

The first Bowers & Wilkins loudspeaker. The profit from P1 allowed the company to invest in new calibration equipment.


1968: Domestic Monitors

The DM1 and DM3 were launched to bring high quality audio to more customers, at an affordable price point.


1970s: A decade of milestones

With the company established and growing fast, Bowers & Wilkins developed its reputation for innovative design backed up by world-leading R&D. We introduced new forms and design concepts including Tweeter-on-Top, new cone materials such as Aramid fibre, and it all culminated in the launch of the iconic 801, soon to become the reference speaker of choice for many of the world’s leading recording studios.

5 Dm70 5 Dm70

1970: DM70

With its curved cabinet, the DM70 changed the shape of loudspeaker design.

6 DM6 6 DM6

1976: DM6

The first Sir Kenneth Grange-designed speaker.

7 1977 DM7 7 1977 DM7

1977: DM7

DM7 liberated the tweeter from the cabinet – the originator of the Tweeter-on-Top design used in our most advanced speakers today.

1979 801 1979 801

1979: 801

The modern era of hi-fi begins. With all its drive units housed in dedicated enclosures, the 801 delivered unheard-of realism.


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.

9 1981 steyning research establishment 9 1981 steyning research establishment

1981: Steyning Research Establishment (SRE) founded

SRE becomes the focus of Bowers & Wilkins acoustic innovation, where scientists and engineers can push speaker design to the limits.

10 b 1987 cm1 10 b 1987 cm1

1987: CM1

Designed by Sir Kenneth Grange, CM1 was developed through the latest advances in computer-aided design.

10 1987 800 matrix 10 1987 800 matrix

1987: Matrix 801

The speaker that introduced Matrix: the bracing structure that boosts driver performance by reducing cabinet vibration. 


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 rewrote 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.

12 1993 nautilus 12 1993 nautilus

1993: Nautilus

The extraordinary result of a five-year research and development programme to re-invent the loudspeaker, the iconic Nautilus still influences our speaker designs to this day.

11 1991 600 series 11 1991 600 series

1995: 600 Series

The 600 Series made the advanced technologies developed for the flagship 800 Series accessible to a wider audience.

13 1998 nautilus 800 series 13 1998 nautilus 800 series

1998: Nautilus 801

This iteration of our flagship range introduced Nautilus technologies to the commercial market for the first time.


2000s: Expansion in to new categories

The decade that brought us iPods and smartphones saw us embrace the new world with the launch of the iconic Zeppelin. We also expanded into the car audio category and transformed the performance of our 800 Series with the development of the Diamond-dome tweeter.

M 1 PV1 Plasma Shot Silver M 1 PV1 Plasma Shot Silver

2004: PV1

The dual-opposed drive unit arrangement and spherical Pressure Vessel cabinet of PV1 delivered a breakthrough in subwoofer performance. 

15 2006 signature diamond 15 2006 signature diamond

2006: Signature Diamond

Launched to celebrate our 40th anniversary, Signature Diamond combined the performance of Diamond-dome tweeters with the beauty of an all-marble solid-body Tweeter-on-Top.

16 2007 zeppelin 16 2007 zeppelin

2007: Zeppelin

Bowers & Wilkins enters the iPod age with the iconic Zeppelin, our strikingly curvaceous, multi-award winning active speaker system.

17 2007 car audio 17 2007 car audio

2007: Car audio

Our partnership with Jaguar marked our first entry into the world of high-end car audio.


The 2010s: Innovation overdrive

Monumental technological change seemed to be everywhere in the 2010s, and Bowers & Wilkins was no exception.

18 2010 800 series diamond 18 2010 800 series diamond

2010: 800 Series Diamond

The sixth incarnation of our flagship speaker series expanded the use of Diamond-dome tweeters to include every model in the range. 

19 2010 p5 19 2010 p5

2010: P5

P5 was a statement of intent: beautifully crafted headphones that were a joy to wear and even better to listen to.

20 2015 800 series diamond 20 2015 800 series diamond

2015: 800 Series Diamond

The latest version of our flagship introduced a complete redesign and revolutionary new technologies, such as the Continuum™ cone.

21 800 d3 and p9 signature 21 800 d3 and p9 signature

2016: 800 D3 and P9 Signature

We marked our 50th year with the launch of two new flagships, the 800 D3 loudspeaker and P9 Signature headphones.


2016: Start of Formation Development

2016: Bowers & Wilkins begins work with EVA Automation to develop the new Formation platform, offering class-leading wireless technology.

23 px headphones 23 px headphones

2017: PX headphones

2017: PX, the first Bowers & Wilkins active noise cancellation headphone, launches. PI4, PX5 and PX7 continue the story in 2019.


2019: Formation Launch

2019: Formation revealed to the world, marking the latest evolution of cable-free listening, first realized by Zeppelin Air in 2011.