Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Collaboration and family are what makes Grovemade tick

grovemade grovemadeheader
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Collaboration. This was the very first thing Grovemade co-founder Ken Tomita said after welcoming me into his company’s Portland-area design and production space one recent morning. Though even if Tomita hadn’t put forth Grovemade’s philosophy the moment we met, it wouldn’t have been difficult to pick up on this attribute after spending a mere matter of moments inside. From the get-go, his statement rung abundantly true as I stood gazing around the workshop, each individual Grovemade cog simultaneously working in perfect harmony.

Related: BLM Auctions makes it easy to find a vintage watch without breaking the bank

“Everything is done under this one roof,” Tomita tells The Manual, “from coming up with designs and implementing them in production, to the testing and machine work, it’s all done here. I feel it brings us closer together.”

Grovemade1
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Just 20 people make up the company’s entire employee roster, further supplementing Tomita’s vision of being a tight knight, family of creators. But rather than this existing as just a frame of mind, each employee expands this idea a step further by taking on anywhere from two to three different jobs within the company. Think of it like one big family splitting the weekly To-Do List evenly among them. That’s how Grovemade functions each day. It’s unorthodox, sure, but it works wonders for the brand’s productivity, and keeps it functioning at a high level.

Grovemade’s philosophy isn’t the only place the brand displays a particular knack for being unique. The entire process of designing, manufacturing, and shipping a product is done with an incredibly distinct touch and an amazing attention to detail. Where hosts of company’s simply take to 3D modeling software when brainstorming new ideas, Grovemade does it one better. After drawing up a new product, the team develops actual to-scale models — out of paper products like cardboard — to get a true idea of how it might look and feel in the hands of a consumer. This sort of tinkering with ideas allows the designers to get instant, physical feedback rather than just relying strictly on a set of computer diagrams.

grovemade-watch-M1
Image used with permission by copyright holder

“Our motto is “Made The Hard Way,” explains Tomita, “there might be an easier way get some of the stuff done around here, but doing most of the process by hand is a commitment we want to always stand by.”

Tomita’s comments on doing most of the process by hand is not merely a gimmick; Grovemade employees literally do around 80 percent of the build process by hand. The crew uses machines strictly to make rough cuts or laser etch the products, otherwise they all passionately enjoy using their hands during production. This is perhaps exemplified best during the construction of Grovemade’s one-of-a-kind, eclipse-style watch. After using a machine to cut 12 holes into the face of the watch, the crew then affixes it to the timepiece — using some of the tiniest screws available — attaches its two leather straps, glues (by hand) the strap holder, and assembles the latch. Again, Grovemade’s attention to detail is remarkable.

While touring around the headquarters, it was hard to pinpoint what was more impressive: Grovemade’s production model or its incredible product line. For most, the behind the scenes manufacturing goes unnoticed, but it’s equally as important to the sum of the brand’s parts as what it actually sells. There’s no denying the stylish allure of Grovemade’s watches, beautiful maple laptop stands, or any one of its slick iPhone cases. What’s harder to deny is how important a penchant for hard work and the water-tight bond of family is to what makes Grovemade, Grovemade.

Rick Stella
Rick is a staff writer for The Manual, covering everything from men's fashion and accessories, to the best new brands and…
Best Timex watch deals: Peanuts collaboration, Rolex Batman dupe
The front of the Timex Standard x Peanuts with Snoopy themed holiday watch.

Timex produces affordable watches that can be enjoyed by just about anybody. They use a relatively predictable layout of their front dial for most watches, using a regular spacing and keeping most watch elements in a relatively similar space. There is quality in consistency. Subtle changes, then, become the focus on Timex watches. And, with Timex watches becoming fashionable, there is no better time to look at the differences between them and pick out ones that are sold at a good deal.

Currently, Timex is hosting a winter sale. In it, select watches are 20% off. All you need to do to shop this sale is choose an on-sale watch, add it to your cart, and add the code "JOLLY20" at checkout. The prices currently displayed are not the sale prices, so be sure to put that code in to see the real deal. Tap the button below to see all of the watches in the sale or keep reading to see our favorites.

Read more
Does Rolex donate 90% of what you spend on a watch? The company’s charitable contributions, explained
Do you have another reason to feel good about buying Rolex watches?
Arm with Rolex Submariner on it

There are a handful of world-renowned watch companies in Switzerland that dominate the global watch community. Getting your hands on a Swiss-made watch is similar to buying a car made in Detroit. Of course, while there is Omega, Tudor, and IWC, which are near the top of the brand pyramid, one brand stands above the rest. Rolex.

There are tons of reasons to buy a Rolex watch. Not only has the company dominated the industry with some of the most sought-after watches on the market for a century, but it is also responsible for some of the most iconic men's watches in history, including the Rolex Submariner. But there may be an even better reason to invest in one of these luxury timepieces -- it may help others more than you have ever thought possible. While you may have heard Rolex donates 90% of its profits to charity; that may not be too far off from the truth.

Read more
These 4 men made the Oscars more stylish with the best looks of the night
Here are the best looks from the 2023 Academy Awards
Harry Shum Jr. standing with James Hong wearing an eastern inspired tuxedo

Just like the Super Bowl has the halftime show, anticipated commercials, and other events to add to the event, the Oscars has the red carpet and the after-party. While we look forward to seeing the winners of the year's best in film and listening to their speeches, we first watch them arrive and walk the red carpet to show off some of the year's best looks from the biggest stars and most prominent designers.

From the casual look of Pharrell Williams in his 2019 camo jacket and shorts to the classic, clean-cut looks of stars like Michael Caine and George Clooney, you can find some of the most influential people showcasing the best looks of the year. The 95th Academy Awards were no different. Here are the best looks from the red carpet that made the men the talk of the night.

Read more