Bowers and Wilkins to open new R&D centre

Audio brand Bowers and Wilkins is relocating its UK research and development centre from Steyning to the West Sussex town of Southwater.

The new facility (pictured) will be called Southwater Research & Engineering (SRE) and will build on the legacy of its predecessor, the Steyning Research Establishment. It will keep the same initials as a tribute.

B&W said the new centre represents a significant investment and will offer opportunities to expand the R&D team and accelerate the company’s ability to develop new technology for its home speakers, headphones and car audio products.

The facility will be more than twice the size of the original, at nearly 30,000 square feet. When it opens later this year, it will accommodate multiple anechoic chambers, a suite of product testing and engineering labs and dedicated headphone and automotive audio labs. It will also see a significant increase in the number of listening test rooms.

In recognition of the legacy of the company’s founder, John Bowers, who started the business in 1966, the new centre will also feature a near recreation of his original listening room. The all-new SRE will also include an experience centre, designed to showcase the product ranges to partners, press and visitors.

Said Gideon Yu, executive chairman and chief executive of B&W: “For more than 50 years, B&W has been defined by cutting-edge acoustic technologies complemented by beautifully designed products.

“Inspired by John Bowers’s quest for what he called ‘True Sound’, our engineers are dedicated to honouring 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.”

In anticipation of the move, B&W has already increased the size of its R&D team by 40 per cent over the past two years. Once the new facility opens later this year, the company will continue to recruit new top-quality engineering talent to join the expanding team.

Said B&W’s chief technology officer Ken McAlpine: “B&W’s commitment to audio excellence, precision craftsmanship and innovation has allowed us to stay true to our promise of delivering the highest quality and most accurate performance audio possible.

“The team at SRE has more than 300 years of combined sound engineering expertise. The investment in the all-new SRE will ensure that our dedication to innovation continues for the next 50 years and beyond.”