A surprising and unexpected audio store is making waves in Hong Kong.
Bowers & Wilkins opened its first physical retail outlet in Tsim Sha Tsui at the end of July and the flagship already has audiophiles lining up. What’s in the offing? Apart from the usual accessories for sound and gadget geeks to pore over—Bowers & Wilkins’ full range of wireless headphones, over-ear headphones, speakers, and such—the legendary Nautilus speaker, known as the closest to “zero vibration,” is on full display and sale for HK$800,000.
Along with the opening of the new store, the remarkable Nautilus 30th Anniversary Edition makes its debut appearance in Asia, and this is one sound system that has to be experienced in person to be fully appreciated. Bowers & Wilkins’ legendary speaker was created with a novel approach to sound design, and the technical wizardry behind its making took the full engineering expertise of the famed British brand in pursuit of the most authentic sound.
What stands out immediately about the revolutionary Nautilus isn’t just its audio proponents, but its visual—the speaker looks like no other in the entire industry, shaped like the marine mollusc it’s named after. Figuratively, it looks like an art sculpture more than a machine, but the Nautilus’s look and feel and its high-end audio technology are closely linked. Robb Report writer Robert Ross reports that “the physics of soundwave propagation inform its aesthetic, which addresses the negative sonic and structural by-products of traditional loudspeaker enclosures,” when the speakers were showcased in the UK earlier this May.
Graduating from straight edges to organic curves, each handcrafted Nautilus relies on tapered tubes of differing lengths and thickness to absorb noise, while the spiral-shaped main body serves as the bass unit, absorbing vibration. Its unique design reduces sound distortion to create a “zero vibration” effect, lending to the Nautilus’s renown as a unique sound machine.
Following the philosophy of “pursuing perfection” for the past 57 years in the industry, Bowers & Wilkins is behind a series of top-of-the-line sound machines including hi-fi speakers, home theatre systems, new media products, and audio systems for motor vehicles. In the new “experience shop” in Hong Kong, a veritable smorgasbord of gadgets is ripe for the picking. On top of that, the store features augmented reality, making it one of the first physical outlets in the audio industry to offer AR audio-visual experiences. On sale at the counter is a full line of products and product experience trials, including the 800 D4 floor-standing speaker series, the Zeppelin wireless smart speaker, the Pi7 S2 in-ear wireless earbuds, the Px8 over-ear noise-cancelling headphones, and more.
Make no mistake though, the resident star in the store is a pearlescent shell of a structure: Bowers & Wilkins’ special edition of the Nautilus speaker with a unique white finish, created to showcase how the brand has been breaking norms since inception. While the regular edition of the iconic Nautilus speakers is on sale around the world (in Hong Kong for HK$800,000), the stunning 30th Anniversary Edition is for display only.
Bowers & Wilkins Experience Shop
Shop 315A, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Tel.: (+852) 2869 9916
All images courtesy of Bowers & Wilkins.