Grovemade CEO and co-founder Ken Tomita takes no issue with cheap pens — he appreciates Pilot G-2s and Muji gel pens as much as the next guy; but in Tomita’s vision of the perfect workspace, disposable pens felt out of place. After four years of starting, iterating, giving up and starting over, Tomita and team made their own replacement. The Grovemade Desk Pen, a pen meant to stay put in one spot, is here.
The pen is available in a matte black finished aluminum or a heavier, glossier brass and start at $50. The two said the idea of a desk pen — a pen that’s left on a desk for display, notetaking, signing documents and so on — hadn’t dawned upon them until they looked through the results of a customer survey that asked past customers to send photos of their workspaces in.
Tomita said the photos were full of put-together workspaces and not-so-nice pens. “You know how there are these nice t-shirts now that cost like $70 and last five times as long? It’s kind of a leap until you’ve gone to that level and realize what you’re missing out on. I’ve never had a nice pen before the one we made,” he said.
The Grovemade Desk Pen in ceramic-coated aluminum.
The final product is a weighty, twist-action pen made from billets of aluminum or brass run through a Swiss Screw Machine. It features a satisfying snap when the action completes and the pen tip is in place, and three facets that provide a better grip and ensure it can’t roll off the desk. Also to ensure it doesn’t roll off the desk, pens can be purchased with pen stands made of the same material as the pen, with hardwood inlays and a cork base. Plus, the pen insert itself is a Schmidt Rollerball P8126, a refill well known in pen geekdom.
Tomita recognizes his pen is never going to be the one pen for all people — he says that’s an impossible task to place on a designer. Instead, it’s a minimal, idiosyncratic take on a bygone category. They’re available now starting at $50.