Bowers & Wilkins has been manufacturing Nautilus™ since 1993, and the painstaking process is a perfect example of our obsessive attention to detail.
Bowers & Wilkins' search for the best possible quality in production means that we devote a great deal of time and care to specifying materials and components – and then to finding suitable specialists to make them. For the Nautilus™ body we engaged the services of Raceprep, a specialist company which is expert in the formulation of fibre-reinforced composites. Because of its complex shape, Raceprep engineers make the Nautilus™ shell almost entirely by hand, using a resin which has been identified by computer analysis as perfect for its purpose – ensuring maximum strength and durability. The same attention to detail has been applied to the finish for the Nautilus™ shell. Bowers & Wilkins' paint and lacquer system is imported directly from Germany, where it is supplied only to the leading names in the luxury car industry, such as Porsche and Mercedes Benz.
Over the years, Bowers & Wilkins has built up a team of highly skilled people, who use a mix of hand-assembly techniques and semi-automatic production processes to make our drive unit components – a combination which gives us speed and flexibility when it comes to producing new prototypes or making complicated parts. It also means that we can achieve world-class levels of quality in manufacturing. For example, all Bowers & Wilkins voice coils are wet wound with high temperature resin and then baked in a special oven to ensure enhanced performance and durability. ’Wet-winding’ is a time-consuming process and some manufacturers see it as uncommercial and unnecessary. At Bowers & Wilkins, we believe it to be an essential step in achieving the kind of quality and reliability for which our loudspeakers are renowned.
Our commitment to the best means that quality procedures are built in to all stages of production of a Bowers & Wilkins loudspeaker, from individual testing of each bought-in component to rigorous checks at every stage of our own production line and a final test of every finished assembly. Every Nautilus™ loudspeaker is auditioned before it receives its final seal of approval. By the end of the process, everyone who has contributed towards making, testing and checking our loudspeakers is named on the Bowers & Wilkins quality certificate. Documents accompanying the Nautilus™ include performance plots for all four drive units, showing their near-field response and their deviation in sound pressure levels from the laboratory standard. The overall acoustic deviation for the Nautilus™ is less than half a decibel and this is corrected by the electronic crossover.
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