Its more recent successes have included partnering with Björk for her VR exhibition at Somerset House, kitting out the new BMW 7 Series and building an enormous speaker stack to bring hi-fi sound to dance festivals around Europe. But it's humbling to know that Bowers & Wilkins began life in 1965 as the concern of John Bowers, who hand-assembled speaker systems for locals in Worthing, in the back of an electrical shop he ran with his friend Roy Wilkins. It looked like Open All Hours.
Now B&W is rightly regarded as one of the world's leading producers of beautiful audio equipment, most iconically its Zeppelin Wireless speaker. In 2010 it debuted its first headphones, the luxurious and leather-clad P5s. Now, to celebrate its 50th year, it has unveiled the P9 Signature, its largest over-ear headphones.
Designed by the team behind its £22,500 flagship 800 D3 loudspeaker, the P9 Signature works has more in common with a set of stereo speakers than headphones, thanks to proper suspension that allows the driver to move freely for better frequency response.
They're crafted from Italian Stefiano leather, everything is custom-made and they fold down to be stored in an equally luxurious soft-backed case.
They're not cheap, but then as Mr Bowers would have told his Sussex customers* back in the day, you get what you pay for.