Bowers & Wilkins R&D Center Fuels Company’s Next Generation of Products

Bowers & Wilkins new U.K.-based R&D facility is called Southwater Research & Engineering (SRE). The new building extends the legacy for product development from its outgrown Steyning Research Establishment.

Bowers & Wilkins R&D Center Fuels Company’s Next Generation of Products

Bowers & Wilkins new SRE facility offers its engineering and R&D staff more than twice the space of its old facility. The additional space provides more engineering labs, listening rooms, and anechoic chambers.

Accepting the challenges of developing audio components for the 21st century, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) is moving into a new research & development (R&D) facility in the West Sussex town of Southwater, U.K.

The new facility will be called Southwater Research & Engineering (SRE), and Richard Campbell, chief revenue officer, Bowers & Wilkins, points out the new SRE facility's amenities, as well as its location, will serve the company well as B&W strives to stay ahead of market trends and technologies. 

“They [the engineering staff] will have more resources and more labs to develop the award-winning products we bring to the industry,” he says. “We had to be aware of where the facility is for close access from London, and we wanted to make sure the commute wasn't too much for the staff.”

Bowers & Wilkins says every acoustic development it has introduced since 1981 originated from its old facility called the “University of Sound. ” Some of the technologies developed in the old facility include its Diamond tweeter, Continuum, and Aerofoil coils. 

“For more than 50 years, Bowers & Wilkins has been defined by cutting-edge acoustic technologies, complemented by beautifully designed products,” notes Gideon Yu, executive chairman and CEO, Bowers & Wilkins.

“Inspired by John Bowers' quest for what he called 'true sound,' our engineers are dedicated to honoring and continuing that legacy today. The new SRE is an extension of our rich sound engineering tradition. It is designed to further the mission of crafting products that deliver incredible sound experiences and beyond to our customers and consumers.” 

Bowers & Wilkins Doubles Down on R&D Space 

With a footprint of nearly 30,000 square feet, the SRE facility is more than twice the size of the old University of Sound Building and is built to serve the company's current and future engineering needs.

The new SRE facility will house more product testing and engineering laboratories, multiple anechoic chambers, and more listening rooms.

The facility will also be home to its Automotive Audio Labs, and a listening room that replicates B&W's original listening room to serve as a reminder of Bowers' original design goals. 

Campbell says recent products such as the 700 Series, 800 series architectural speakers, and PX series headphones were part of the company's long-term product roadmap, and future products on the company's product roadmap will benefit from the additional resources provided by the new SRE facility.

“For us, it is the investment in innovation and a move to protect the position of the brand in the audio space. Our owners and our leadership team have been committed to the category since day one,” Campbell emphasizes. 

“We've made significant investments in technology to help us continue to develop world-class products. What we are doing with the new facility is a continued endeavor to those commitments.

“The commitment to the B&W brand will only grow. People are looking for the next level of innovation from us, and we've been able to do that with the products we've already brought to market, and the new facility will allow us to continue to do that. This is a big investment, but it is a necessary move for us to solidify our future.” 

About the Author

Robert Archer
Robert Archer:

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob has also served as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In his personal time beyond his family, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons and Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Binda Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.